There are many ways to make an impact, both big and small.
1. Use less water in the shower
This first one might be quite challenging given that everyone loves taking a nice long hot shower. If you happen to be someone who enjoys a challenge you might consider taking short cold showers. Not only does this have potential health benefits, but it also conserves high amounts of water and the energy that would otherwise be used to heat that water. Interested? Check out Cold Showers.
2. Use reusable mugs and Tupperware containers
At my school, Penn State University, we have really nice buffets that permit you to take as much food as you please. The problem is that many busy students prefer to take the food back to their dorm rooms rather than eating in the buffets. Almost all of these students take their food to go in Styrofoam containers even though there are reusable plastic containers available. Styrofoam is not biodegradable and is rarely accepted by recycling plants making it a huge contributor to landfills. Consider being one of the few who chooses to boycott Styrofoam whenever possible.
3. Start a vegetable garden
Growing your own food is a great way to save money and also become more in touch with the earth. If somehow everyone was able to grow their own food organically and sustainably, there would no longer be much of a need for large harmful conventional farms. Also, food always taste better when you grow and prepare it yourself.
4. Ride a bicycle or motorcycle
Although this might be a more dangerous and even fatiguing alternative, in the end it is best for the environment if you aren’t driving around in an SUV. Riding a bicycle is good for your health and riding a motorcycle is fun as hell. This might be a good option for you if you don’t live far from town or your work.
5. Live somewhere where most things are local and easily accessible
Where we choose to live plays a large role in our quality of life and also determining the size of our carbon footprint. The less distance you need to travel each day, the less you contribute to CO2 emissions. It’s as simple as that. This also provides you with the opportunity to begin walking or riding your bike from place to place rather than always taking your car.
6. Consume less stuff
Having less material possessions not only gives you more freedom in your life but also helps you break unhealthy spending habits. It’s a sad reality but many of the products that people buy on a daily basis are sold by companies that bring harm to the environment as a biproduct of their industry. Example: Purified bottled water is a somewhat unnecessary product and results in lots of plastic waste. Consider using a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water from companies like Aquafina.
7. Support eco-friendly businesses in order to create more demand
Choose to purchase food and other products from sustainable companies and vendors. This helps create more demand for sustainable products which will reward companies for their meaningful efforts. The success of sustainable business also helps to raise awareness of the environmental changes that need to be made in society.
8. Downsize to smaller living accommodations
It takes a lot of energy to provide heating, cooling, and lighting for a large house. Often times, families live in much bigger houses than they really need. This wastes a lot of space and energy. Take some time to think about the space that you and your family really need to live comfortably and then make an environmentally contentious decision as to where to live.
9. Consider adopting rather than having children of your own
One of the largest problems in regard to sustainability is our exponentially growing world population. Although many people dream about one day passing on their genes to a child of their own, we may now be on the verge of a time when one of the biggest contributions one can make to the world is actually choosing not to have children. There are plenty of abandoned kids across the world who are desperate for a loving family. Consider making the world a more sustainable place by changing one of those children’s lives.
10. Inspire others to make their own contribution
It might be true that one person on their own cannot make much of a change. However, I believe that mankind is capable of accomplishing seemingly impossible feats when we work together. The more people aware of and willing to help solve the environmental challenges that we face today, the more likely we are to continue our existence into the future.