We’ve only got one world, and each of us has an obligation to keep it in good shape for the next generation. And while politicians, governments, and big business are always grappling with large-scale environmental decisions that can have lasting effects on our world, there are also little things that we each do every day that help or hurt our environment. If you want to protect our planet, here are a few things you can do.
Waste and Recycling
These days, recycling is the norm. We have local laws about recycling, waste companies provide proper recycling bins, and even fast food restaurants have recycling containers available. So there’s no excuse not to do the right thing and recycle.
Litter is one of the oldest and best-understood environmental problems. It doesn’t take a climate scientist or a naturalist to understand that a large pile of garbage is bad, and that long-lasting garbage like styrofoam is an environmental liability. So be sure to recycle, and pay attention to the waste impact of the things you consume before you buy them: look for recycled materials, efficient packaging, and things that can be composted, recycled, or quickly broken down.
Lose the Car
One thing that almost everyone does that has a devastating effect on the environment is drive cars. In many Western nations – and particularly in the Americas, where towns and cities are more spread out and vast suburbs have been build around roads rather than train tracks – cars are seen as a necessity. But cars pollute, and they’re very inefficient on a grand scale. That’s why we should each consider taking public transit.
The next time you’re on public transit, take a look around. Imagine if each of the people you see had their own car. Instead of being on the bus or the train, they’d be on the road, polluting. And we’d all be on the road longer, because instead of traffic being increased by one bus, it would be increased by dozens of cars! That means more pollution (and a longer, more annoying commute). Now think of the opposite: next time you’re on the road, imagine all of the people in cars chose to take the bus. Dozens of cars in your view would disappear and be replaced by just one bus, reducing both traffic and pollution.
So opt for public transit! In some cases, you may find that you don’t need a car at all (or need one rarely, in which case you might as well call a car service once in a while rather than keeping a car around all the time).
Natural foods are good for you. So are natural supplements, which can improve your health and help treat everything from sleep disorders to anxiety. Especially good are leafy greens and bright-colored fruits and vegetables. And they’re not just good for you – they’re good for the environment, too.
Choosing to eat well will help you steer away from processed foods and consume less meat. That’s good news for the environment, which is being severely affected by our diets. The massive amount of red meat that we eat in the Western world is having a distinct effect on global warming, because the cows produce a lot of methane (yes, in exactly the way you’re guessing). If we eat ate a little better, the world would stop warming quite so fast.
This is what personal environmentalism is all about: making choices that can make both a positive difference in our lives and a contribution to the environment’s health.