As the risk towards our planet comes closer into focus, more and more people from around the world are pitching in to help their communities and lessen their carbon footprint. Lots of cafes now have paper straws instead of plastic ones and Starbucks is working to cut their straw usage out altogether. Reusable water bottles are spreading through campuses across the country. Although that's great and progressive, small things like that are just a small dip into the pond when it comes to global warming.
Here at Fresh U, we believe that people can do better and that our readers want to do better. Remembering to turn off the lights when you leave the room isn't cutting it. With some easy switches, you can go a bit further in helping the environment. Check out this list below!
1. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
The benefits of growing your own food are endless. Even if you're in your college dorm, pick out a few to grow on your windowsill in some pots. Just make sure they're big enough for the roots to grow, or opt for some herbs to spice up your food.
Plants scientifically promote better breathing, increase productivity, increase serotonin levels and create an aesthetically pleasing living space.
Through growing at home, you'll reduce your plastic and paper intake from buying veggies, and become more self-sustainable. And, they taste great. Inspire a greener earth by planting your own!
2. Don't use single-use plastics.
The EU is banning all single-use plastics by 2021, so why can't you?
Many towns and states across America have been banning the landfill eyesore, by instituting plastic bag bans. But, single-use plastics are issued way more than you think.
Ways to combat this are buying fresh fruit and vegetables instead of packaged, choosing a carton of milk instead of gallons, using canvas totes for groceries, carrying a reusable water bottle, cooking and baking snacks rather than buying individually packaged products and recycling what plastics are absolutely unavoidable.
All of these casualties against the environment are entirely avoidable. So, save the planet and promote your friends to do the same with this simple conscious choice.
3. Make a grocery list.
A huge issue throughout America is wasted food. Not only are there plenty of people in the world without food, but it's incredibly bad for the environment with landfills building up and affecting the communities around them, as well as the general environment. Trash is burning, hurting the ozone layer and seeping into the oceans to hard marine life.
A good way to combat this is making a list before you go shopping. Plan ahead exactly what you'll need for the week and get that much. Without impulse decisions, you'll be less wasteful and it might even influence your diet to be more healthy.
4. Limit what you buy.
Clothing waste is a huge problem in our country, with Americans throwing away 80 lbs of clothing a year, according to NowThis. But, that's entirely avoidable.
Now, I'm not telling you to stop buying clothes. It would help, but is unrealistic. We have a mindset of wanting new things. And though that's an issue when buying into corrupt brands, it's not our largest problem. How are we getting rid of the clothes once new ones take their places? The answer's not good.
So, rather than throwing away your clothes, try selling them to a thrift store or donating them. Upcycle them or give them to your local house of worship or charity. You could even recycle the fabric as rags, hair ties or seat cushions. Be creative and limit where you buy from, how much you buy and why you buy. Your wallet will thank you, too.
5. Use your computer more.
We all know that paper uses a lot of wood, therefore affecting the physical dimensions of forests across the world. But, just how much of an issue is it?
About 40 percent of the world's timber production is used towards paper, according to Ecology.com. That's a lot-- especially considering the world's shift towards digital technology. So, do your part to avoid paper and paper products. Write papers and do work on your computer. Take personal notes and make lists on your phone. Draw and create pictures through digital mediums.
The world is moving forward in terms of technology and its integration into daily society. And while in some cases that might be harmful to the psyche (i.e. social media), there are environmental benefits. Just be careful and conscious.
It's athletic and requires no outside fuel source; it's perfect for the budding environmentalist.
While "trying to carpool" and taking public transportation is cool, it doesn't take your consumerist footprint away completely. You're still in the vehicle using gas and polluting the planet. Instead, biking is independent, safe, functional, healthy and green. Get your friends to bike together to keep the social aspect of transport applicable.
See yourself getting greener? We here at Fresh U can believe all of you can be change-makers in the world, taking on new responsibilities to make sure we have a planet to pass onto future generations. These "simple fixes" take a bit more planning and deliberate thought than other environmentally promoted routine suggestions but they are so worth it.
So, become more of your independent, amazing self and help the world around you. Send it on. Get your green on.
We're right there with you.
Lead Image Credit: Unsplash