Words by Emma Tiernan
January 29th, 2019
Do you know the saying, ‘you only have one body’? Well, the same goes for the Earth, we only have one, so take care of it. Now, we know that it isn’t feasible for everyone to go vegan and limit themselves to 5-minute showers, and we’re not suggesting otherwise. But if you are concerned for the Earth and about your carbon footprint, there are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce your impact on the planet. From recycling to cycling, discover five easy changes you can make to be that little bit greener.
The vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. An alternative way to reduce your carbon footprint is to incorporate more ‘vegetarian days’ into your diet. For example, rather than eating meat every day, commit to two or three days each week where you cut out meat entirely from all meals. The meat industry causes more greenhouse gas emissions than direct emissions from the transport sector. With the constant demand for meat and dairy products, most scientists believe that it will be impossible to stop global temperatures from rising. The red meat industry is the worst contributing to most of the emissions. According to studies, it takes up to 2400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef, which many argue is putting a huge strain on our fresh water supply. That is why incorporating more ‘vegetarian days’ and consuming less meat over the course of the week can help lower your carbon footprint considerably.
One of the best ways to help cut down on fossil fuel emissions is to drive less. If you live in a city, chances are the public transport system is pretty good, or, where possible, you can walk from A to B or hop on a bike. These little changes will not only save you some money on fuel but they will also help lower your carbon footprint. Another great reason to either bike or walk places is that you will increase your daily amount of exercise.
This is something that everyone can do in some shape or form. Through a few little changes, you can cut back considerably on plastic consumption.
1. Cut down on purchasing bottled water and carry around a reusable bottle. There are some seriously chic reusable water bottles on the market and constantly having water handy will make you drink more. It is a win-win really!
2. Switch to reusable shopping bags and produce bags. Whenever you are going grocery shopping, try to be mindful and bring with you some reusable carrier bags and produce bags. Produce bags will stop you reaching for plastic bags for loose fruit and veg and will help you cut down on a considerable amount of plastic.
3. Pick up a keep cup. One use cups create a considerable amount of waste each year. Having a reusable cup will not only help lower your carbon footprint but many cafés offer discounts on take away coffees if you have your own cup.
Fast fashion has a huge impact on the environment thanks to water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and huge masses of textile waste. Rather than shopping solely at your favourite fast fashion brands, consider shopping from more sustainable brands like Everlane, Outdoor Voices and Reformation from time to time. Shopping more mindfully and creating a wardrobe with timeless and well-made pieces that you won’t be throwing out at the end of each season will help minimise waste and in turn your carbon footprint. If you need more inspiration for affordable sustainable fashion brands, read more here.
There are so many ways you can manage your energy consumption, for example, switching to energy saving light bulbs, choosing to line dry your clothes rather than tumble drying, or not using the dishwasher every day. Unplugging devices that aren’t in use and switching off lights when they aren’t needed will significantly lower your household’s emissions. A study completed by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in 2015 showed that leaving all these electronics plugged in unnecessarily accounts for “23% of the power consumption in the average household and represents roughly about a quarter of your electricity bill”. Not only is that money you could save each month, you could also minimise your carbon footprint by not having electronics running unnecessarily or left plugged in while they are not in use.
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