While it’s true that big corporations are responsible for most of the pollution leading to climate change, how we live our lives also contributes to this problem. Thankfully, there are plenty of small changes that can be done in our homes and communities to make a difference. Here are some ways you can change the world for the better.
Americans (especially those in hot regions) use a lot of energy. Simple solutions are switching to energy-efficient appliances and unplugging those appliances — no matter how small — when they’re not in use. Adding or updating the insulation in your home is another viable way to reduce the amount of energy you use. Switch to washing laundry in cold water, especially if your water heater relies on electricity. Efficient light bulbs can be effective at saving energy, as can turning off televisions and computers, especially when the weather heats up. To help offset usage, you could try installing solar panels, which provide renewable energy.
Just like energy, Americans use more water than we need. Luckily, there are some easy ways to save water and reduce our footprint on the climate. If you take baths, it’s time to switch to showers, and limit them to around five minutes. While the bathing water warms, collect the extra in a bucket to be used for cleaning or even in the garden. If you have a new dishwasher, skip the first scrub of your dishes and put them straight in the machine. If your area allows it, you can also start collecting rainwater. You can put basins or barrels beneath your runoff and collect the rain. This water can be safely used in a garden, to create a rain garden. Another way to collect is to create what is called a “desert wash,” which is a small indention, often surrounded by rock, that collects water when it rains. This allows the ground to naturally soak up the water, rather than having it simply wash off into the street.
Change Your Diet
What we eat in our day to day life impacts not just our bodies, but the world around us. Nearly one-third of greenhouse gas is caused by agricultural production, both animal and vegetable. Thankfully, you don’t need a complete overhaul. All you require to make a drastic improvement in the earth’s health is to eat healthier yourself. Increase your fresh produce, especially locally grown vegetables and fruits, and decrease your meat consumption. Even just two days of vegetarian cuisine a week can help the planet — and your body. If you can’t commit to eating vegetable-based proteins a few times a week, simply lower the amount of beef you consume. This alone, especially if you cut your consumption by half, can do a world of good.
In the Community
One thing you can do is get your neighborhood in on living sustainably. Throw a get-together and discuss what you can do to contribute to clean living. This could include starting a community garden, where everyone pitches in to grow food locally, or even bringing up a petition to your city council to create or expand bike lanes on the roads. Children could be involved by starting a community recycling project. Another initiative your area might adopt is a group clean-up. You could separate it neighborhood by neighborhood and see who cleans the largest stretch of beach or who picks up the most at a public park. A movement to plant more trees along streets, in parks, or even around your personal neighborhood could also be incredibly beneficial. There are plenty of ways the whole community can get involved in making the environment a safer, healthier place and still have fun doing it.
Whether in the home or as a group, you can make a difference in how you live. Invest in energy-efficient electronics and goods, use rainwater when you’re able, and eat a more vegetable-heavy diet. All these things can add up to help stop global climate change.
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