The fight to protect our environment is closer to the forefront of our societal focus than ever before. Throughout the summer we’ve seen numerous reactions to Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords – most of them centered on the idea of meeting environmental protection goals despite political maneuvering. Just recently, we saw Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveil his economy line of smart, electric cars, meant to further the transition away from high pollution gas vehicles. And in August, Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power will be widely released as a follow-up to his infamous climate change film An Inconvenient Truth.
Those are all big events generating tons of headlines, and they demonstrate that, slowly but surely, our society is beginning to concentrate on the daunting challenges of climate change. But they’re also big developments. The responses to the Paris Climate Accords news have involved state governors and private companies doubling down on eco-friendly efforts; Tesla’s big unveiling has yet to trickle down to consumer acquisition of the vehicles in a significant way; and Gore primarily focuses on big, sweeping developments and the need for change. It’s clear that the focus is shifting in favor of recognizing and appreciating the challenges we face to protect our world – but it’s not always as clear what you can do about it.
As with any major cause, the first step is paying attention. Being aware of developments like the ones discussed above helps, and any more you can do to educate yourself or others is a positive step. But there are also more direct, practical ways to affect change in your own little corner of the world.
Here are a few ways to do your part in your day-to-day life.
Recycle More Thoroughly
Most of us try to recycle regularly, and it’s easy enough to dispose of the basics. Plastic containers, glass bottles, and paper grocery bags, for instance, are usually tossed right into the recycling bin. But even some people who consider themselves to be environmentally conscious don’t quite realize the full extent to which they can responsibly dispose of waste. Take the time to look up waste management rules in your area to see what you might be able to recycle that you weren’t aware of. Chances are in one way or another you can cut back on trash and increase your recycling output.
Buy Green Products
Recycling what you can is always nice. But you may be surprised to know that you can also control your home’s waste output simply by buying green products. That can mean a lot of different things, but here we’re talking about day-to-day items, from drink containers to plates and utensils. Eco-friendly companies have designed these kinds of products so that they’re completely biodegradable, which means that even if you do ultimately dispose of them in your trash, they don’t stand to do any harm.
Switch Your Light Bulbs
It’s no secret that there have been a lot of “smarter” and more energy-efficient light bulbs put out in the last several years. Numerous companies have started to manufacture these bulbs, and in some cases they can last significantly longer than ordinary bulbs. The energy saved from switching your home over to energy-efficient bulbs is actually quite significant, and helps contribute to a cleaner environment.
Cut Back On Meat
This may sound more like a personal decision that one meant to better the environment. However, you may not realize just how much work goes into raising livestock that ultimately supply stores and restaurants with meat. Through the entire process of raising livestock and producing meat, a lot of waste is generated and significant carbon emissions occur. By cutting back on meat even a little bit, you can do your part toward lessening this industry’s impact on the world.
Buy Your Next Vehicle Responsibly
A lot of people are eyeing the transition to electric cars, and there will be even more options to suit this preference in the years ahead. Even now, however, with ordinary cars, you can be responsible in making decisions. You can search for vehicles online with ease these days, and in doing so you can usually filter a search for an eco-friendly vehicle, or in some cases even a partially electric one. Make this part of the process if and when you’re looking for a new car; consider environmental impact right after safety and comfort.
Walk (Or Bike) More Frequently
Even if you wind up with a car that has a minimal footprint, so to speak, you’re still doing even better for the environment if you don’t drive at all! Now, unless you live in a small town or a big city with public transportation, it’s probably difficult to spend a day without using your car. But as with cutting back on meat, even a small change can make a difference. Consider walking or biking along a reasonable route that you ordinarily use your car for.
These are all fairly small steps in terms of how they affect your daily life. But all together they make for a significant positive step toward contributing to climate preservation.