Listen to “7 Ways You Can Help Make the Planet Healthier Today”.
The climate crisis has left many people feeling helpless. It can often seem as though there is nothing we can do as individuals that will affect change. However, behavioural changes can go a long way to shifting to a greener society.
Implementing small habits into your everyday life will help you live a more environmentally-friendly and healthier lifestyle. As individuals, we can set in motion new patterns of sustainable consumption and help create markets for clean, efficient technologies.
Here are 7 things that you can do today to start caring for the planet.
Eat less meat
Reduce the amount of meat and other animal products you and your family eat.
Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and resources, such as large amounts of water and feed. One of the biggest causes of deforestation is the transformation of land for animal agriculture.
The livestock industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than vehicular transport. Cattle methane emissions account for 37% of all human-produced methane. Incorporating more vegetables, grains and legumes into your diet, and limiting the amount of meat and dairy you consume, will help tackle this problem.
Choosing vegetables, legumes, and other healthy, meatless options can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Eat low on the food chain. A vegetarian or vegan diet is a low-carbon diet. If you’re not ready to go entirely vegetarian or vegan, consider one or more meat-free days a week.
Don’t take more medications than you need
In most cases, our bodies only use a fraction of any drug we take, and the rest gets excreted. However, it doesn’t disappear once we’ve flushed. There’s already evidence that pharmaceuticals in wastewater adversely affect aquatic ecosystems.
Scientists are still trying to determine which drugs cause the most significant harm and at what levels. However, all drugs have side effects, so you should only take medications that are absolutely necessary for your health. Add environmental consequences to the list of negative side effects of overprescription, and there are more than enough reasons to be prudent in your pill intake.
Burn calories, not carbon
The average person generates approximately 6.5 kg of carbon emissions annually, just using elevators. To save electricity and limit your carbon footprint, think about using the stairs whenever possible. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also have the added benefits to your health and fitness.
Walk, cycle and use public transportation whenever possible. Not only will you be healthier and help to preserve precious energy resources, but you’ll also save money.
Clean water is already unavailable to millions of people worldwide, but this is usually seen as a distant issue in the Western world. However, it’s getting much closer to home.
Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth: humans can use up for five gallons of water while running the tap during brushing. Just turn it off. You don’t need that water.
Opt-out of baths and shower instead: Baths use about double the amount of water a shower uses.
Almost everything in your house can be recycled, including cell phones, wire hangers, glass, aluminium, paper, plastic, boxes, bags and bottles. Find a local recycling centre and get into the habit of recycling all of your waste.
Give up plastics
The statistics surrounding plastics are shocking!
- 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute
- Up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year.
- Only 9% of the plastics we use gets recycled.
- 8 million tons (7.25 metric tons) of plastic ends up in the ocean every year.
We need to break the cycle now. Stop buying bottled water. Say no to plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags instead. Don’t use plastic straws. Drink from a reusable cup instead of a plastic one.
Avoiding plastic can divert a ton of waste from the oceans and landfill.
Reduce food waste
The amount of energy and resources that go into producing food that is ultimately never eaten is enormous – and that’s before the food rots and releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases. Therefore, we must eat the food we buy and not buy food that will go to waste.