As a member of Gen-Z, I perpetually feel the impending doom that is the climate change crisis. I want the next generations to be able to have a future. I don’t necessarily identify as a tree-hugger and I slip up sometimes when it comes to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. But that’s okay. You just need to care a little bit. A lot of people doing little things for the environment adds up. If you don’t want to upend your entire life in the name of saving the world, you don’t have to. But anything helps. Consider making a few simple lifestyle changes that can help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Stop buying plastic water bottles.
My family always used to have a few cases of plastic water bottles in our kitchen at all times. I get it. They’re convenient and you can easily just grab one on your way out the door. But one day my mom just decided to stop buying them altogether because she wanted to help the environment. After a while, it started to just be natural for us to grab and fill up a reusable bottle before we left the house. Most reusable water bottles carry more liquid than plastic ones, which is convenient for whenever you have to refill them. Plus, haven’t you heard? Hydroflasks are trendy now. You can decorate them and everything. Take that, plastic!
In the same vein, do your best to avoid single-use plastics altogether. Keep reusable grocery bags in your car! Buy a metal straw! Try beeswax wraps instead of plastic wraps! Use menstrual cups instead of tampons!
Composting always looked super intimidating to me when I read about it online. But I promise it’s not as daunting as it may seem. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not a very high maintenance task. If you’re big on gardening, composting is such a great way to make your own rich and fertile soil, which can save you money. It also reduces your food waste, which can decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Try not to waste food.
I’ll admit. I’ve gone grocery shopping before, bought some produce, and after a few days, forgot why I bought it in the first place. And that produce will just sit in the refrigerator until it goes bad and I have to throw it out. It happens to the best of us. However, I started planning my meals and going into stores with specific dishes in mind to help me stay focused and prevent me from over-purchasing. Never go shopping without a grocery list.
I also try to buy only as much as my household can eat, but it can be easy to buy too much. In that case, I’ll do my best to freeze food before it goes bad so it won’t have to go straight to the trash.
Another tip that helped me a lot is to never shop when you’re hungry. I always end up throwing random things in my cart and regretting it after I’m full. Trust me, these tips will save your wallet and the Earth!
Limit your fast fashion purchases.
Social media spurred the fast fashion movement, causing the clothing trend cycle to be faster than ever before. The fashion industry is a huge source of the world’s carbon emissions and pollutants. Trends will come and go within the span of a month or so, which increases the amount of clothing people are buying and how much of it is going to waste. Not to mention, a lot of these fast fashion companies exploit their workers and pay them heinously low wages.
Please do your best not to overconsume. Buy pieces based on what you like, not based on whatever’s trending at the moment. Trends come and go, but true style is forever. Invest in timeless pieces or shop from slow fashion brands if you have the money.
Oh yeah, there’s also another trendy solution to this problem. Thrift, Thrift! Hooray! There are a million reasons to thrift instead of shopping at some fast fashion website. It’s better for the environment (duh). Vintage is back in style. You can find designer clothing at a super low price. It’s very rewarding finding a hidden gem at a thrift store. It’s a really fun way to spend the day with friends. If you haven’t tried thrifting yet, this is your sign. You won’t regret it.
Buy less meat.
As someone who grew up eating meat and rice every night for dinner, this one was really difficult for me to implement into my life. Meat has a way larger carbon footprint than non-animal products, so even by implementing Meatless Mondays into your diet, you’re doing the world a favor. You don’t necessarily have to go full vegan to reduce the amount of meat you buy. Plus, there are so many vegetarian meat substitutes that can satisfy any carnivore. My favorites include MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets, Beyond Meat Breakfast Sausage, and Impossible Burger.
Consider switching to a green energy provider.
Implementing renewable energy into your home is a great and easy way to continuously combat climate change by reducing your greenhouse gas emissions. You may even be surprised to learn that renewable power can save you money in comparison to electricity from coal plants. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric don’t produce air pollutants, so switching to a green energy supplier makes the air we breathe cleaner and improves public health.
Photo by Noah Buscher via Unsplash.