These days, it can feel like everything you do is bad for the Earth. Go to the grocery store, and you have to throw out a plastic bag. Go to the drug store, and you get an unrecyclable plastic bottle. To reduce your carbon footprint and live sustainably, you need a plan to address major causes of waste. While you probably don't need to change everything you do, certain changes can have a big impact. Here's how to get started at sustainable living.
1. Assess Your Sustainable Living Score
The first step toward living your life in a more earth-friendly manner is to figure out exactly what you need to change. This can be difficult, as almost everything you do has some impact on the environment.
One of the most common ways of measuring the impact you have on the Earth is to use a footprint calculator. These tools offer a rough estimate that can tell you how many "Earths" would be needed if everyone lived the way you do. They can also tell you where you have room for improvement.
2. Reduce Air Travel and Driving
A stunningly large portion of global carbon pollution is caused by emissions from airplanes and automobiles. Though airplanes carry a large number of passengers at a time, they use far more fuel during takeoff and landing than you would need to travel the same distance in a car. Motor vehicles are also inefficient and contribute significantly to global climate change.
What should you do if travel is a necessity for your work and leisure? Try to mitigate the damage. If you drive to work, consider a bicycle commute. If you can afford it, buy an electric vehicle. If you need to fly, try to incorporate other sustainable living practices into your life to offset any harm you've done.
3. Alter Your Food Choices
Plastic containers and bottles take an incredibly long time to break down, but companies still commonly use them to store food. While many products are recyclable, they are still wasteful in the long term. Try to avoid containers that are likely to end up as ocean or landfill waste.
Additionally, food products themselves can be harmful to wildlife, forests, and oceans. Do your research to find out how obtaining foods, like bluefin tuna, harms natural ecosystems. Boycott products with misleading labeling or unacceptable environmental standards.
Meat production, beef, in particular, is notoriously unsustainable. This is because large mammals need to eat a large amount of feed to grow large enough to be slaughtered for market. Avoid unsustainable meat.
4. Stop Buying Fast Fashion
The fashion industry is full of predatory companies that are happy to take environmental shortcuts. From unsustainable supply chains to toxic materials, clothing manufacturers can be shockingly irresponsible.
Start Your Journey to Sustainable Living
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