Being an environmentalist is really hard, right? You never shower, you have to walk EVERYWHERE and in an effort to minimize your waste production … you only use your hands to eat and drink … everything.
All right, all right, we’re just playing with you. We know that being an environmentalist doesn’t mean you have to go to these extremes, but if you do – more power to ya! In fact, being an environmentalist is probably way easier than you think, but somewhere back in time someone started a rumor that being eco-conscious was synonymous with shunning every normal aspect of modern life. We’re here to tell you differently.
Now more than ever it is important that we all think of ourselves as an environmentalist in one way or another. At our current rates of consumption – pertaining to food, water, land and energy use – we would need one and a half Earths to sustain the whole human population. That’s about a half more Earth than we’ve got, so we have to learn to live as lightly and kindly as possible to protect one another and the many plant and animal species we share this world with.
We did tell you that being an environmentalist is easy, so if you’re looking to lighten your impact on the planet, the first step is to always remember is to consume less. That means, take a good look at what you eat, buy and use/consume on a daily basis and see where you could cut back. It’s a great way to eliminate excess in your life and live a little lighter in 2015. With that in mind, check out these eco-friendly life hacks to make your journey towards zero impact living all that much easier.
1. Cut Your Carbon Footprint
Trading in your car for a bicycle might be a great way to cut your carbon footprint (and get a little more exercise), but it not the only way you can reduce your carbon footprint. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. A large portion of your personal carbon footprint comes from your diet and the impact the foods you choose have on the world. By leaving meat off your plate for one year … you can literally HALF your carbon footprint. Just swap out the animal foods you might normally eat with plant-based alternatives and you’re already on your way to a more eco-friendly you!
2. Save Water
If you were ever told that you need skimp on the personal hygiene to save the planet … we would like to apologize for all the friends you may have lost due to this false information. Limiting your personal water use when showering or brushing your teeth are good habits to have, but they are not the most effective measures you can take to cut your water footprint. Did you know you could save the same amount of water by not showering for a MONTH as you could by skipping one gallon of milk? The average dairy farm uses 3.4 MILLION gallons of water a day … by cutting your consumption of dairy products you can cut this virtual water out of your footprint and conserve a whole lot more water than you would by only brushing your teeth on odd days.
3. Keep Plastic Out of the Oceans
So you’ve heard there are 270,000 tons of plastic floating in the world’s oceans … now what are you gonna do about it? The answer is pretty simple … cut disposable products out of your life. Take a good look at how your day typically goes and make a list of all the plastic items you use. The wrapper on your granola bar this morning, the K-cup you used to make coffee, the bag you took at the grocery store, your lunch container and disposable utensils and straw. Plastic comes in many, many, shapes and sizes and there is a good chance you’ve forgotten how much you rely on it. Check out this guide to living zero-waste and start small by swapping out one of your plastic go-to products with a reusable version (you can find anything you might need, here).
For Maximum Positive Impact
Combine all three … not so hard being green, huh?
Lead image source: Jen/Flickr