People should live more sustainably


Clara Moss, Social Media Editor

Climate change and global emissions has increased into a worldwide problem. Icecaps are melting, leaving arctic animals struggling in their own climate, while the sky is filling with smoke and gases, polluting the air we breath. Politicians are struggling to pass a Green New Deal, but everyone can make small changes during this time to decrease their carbon footprint.

Avoid Plastic Straws  

Single use plastics, such as plastic straws, end up in our oceans, where they accumulate pollutants and harm marine life. If these plastics don’t end up in oceans, they often sit in landfills, where they release toxic chemicals.
To limit these harmful effects, you can avoid using a straw entirely or use an alternative, such as paper or steel straws. According to Strawless paper, glass, steel, silicon, bamboo, metal and hay straws are all sustainable. Although not using straws is the best solution, the above resources are all better options than plastic straws.

Avoid Fast Fashion
Stores continually switch out old collections for the new styles and produce the clothing quickly, recycling or throwing away the clothes that aren’t purchased. National Public Radio (NPR) reports that this mass production wastes large amounts of resources, such as fuel and water. Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) states that the fast fashion industry is a large polluter, using primarily coal and pouring chemicals into large bodies of water. To avoid these fast fashion stores, you can shop less or shop local. Second-hand stores, such as thrift stores or your local Goodwill, provide cheaper and previously used clothes.

Cut Down on Meat and Dairy Intake
Stanford News summarizes a report that states that, not only does livestock production occupy more than one-fourth of land, it also is responsible for approximately 18 percent of total greenhouse gas production. The report provides some solutions, one in which policies are implemented to increase land conservation and minimizes use of water and fertilizer. However, you individually can decrease your intake of meat and dairy, only eating meat five out of seven days of the week or only eating meat with dinner.

Utilize Reusable Food Storage
Food Revolution Network states that plastic is made from nonrenewable resources and uses a large amount of energy to produce. Not only is this process excessive, the plastic products often end up in landfills or oceans, just like plastic straws. These aspects are worsened even more because plastic takes hundreds of years to break down.
However, there are different options to replace the plastic food storage, such as beeswax wraps, silicone, and glass.

Food Revolution Network also writes that beeswax is a sustainable, long-lasting and washable replacement for plastic. Silicone is made of plastics from fossil fuels and isn’t recyclable, but is better than plastic. Glass, however, is recyclable and works well as a lunch container – being dishwasher and microwave safe, as well as being capable of remaining workable in hot and cold temperatures.

Reduce Household Energy Usage
The average American house uses approximately 914 kilowatt hours per month The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. The energy usage has been increasing gradually and is primarily from nonrenewable sources. This energy contributes to greenhouse gases, which is a part of global warming. Some of the simplest ways to cut down on this energy usage includes turning off lights when you leave the room, unplugging your electronic devices when they’re not in use, or closing windows and doors when the heat or air conditioner is on. However, you can also install energy-efficient devices or insulate parts of your house. Forbes lists several possible devices, such as a smart thermostat or LED lighting.

One person deciding to turn off the lights when they leave a room or avoiding meat for breakfast and lunch can’t make a difference, but a large group of people all deciding to alter their habits can change the current climate situation. Sustainable living isn’t difficult and the few differences you make to your life, as well as convincing others to join you, will help decrease your contribution to climate change.