As hard as it would seem to be, there are still plenty of people on the planet who simply do not believe in Climate Change. Or further, that human beings in our short history upon this planet have caused such a significant impact on Earth. And, despite these naysayers, incontrovertible evidence mounts day after day after day that we have done just that — perhaps even pushing our own extinction towards inevitable.
Well, whether the above is true or not, nobody can deny the benefits of healthy stewardship of one’s resources. So, with that in mind, I have assembled below a list of some easy things you the individual can do that will ultimately contribute something positive to the planet’s survival as well as to not hasten our own demise.
1. PLANT SOMETHING: Whether it’s a tree, a flower or a garden, nothing puts you in touch with nature more than getting your hands in the very soil from which it’s made. And, in the process, you will add beauty and oxygen to your environment – not to mention potentially save money on groceries.
2. RIDE YOUR BIKE OR WALK: It’s no doubt that in the 2nd of the 20th century through to today, the automobile has reigned supreme. And nobody is asking you (at least not yet) to give up your vehicle. However, what they are asking you to do is not use it as much. If you have an errand in your neighbourhood or nearby, in good weather, consider walking or biking instead of driving.
3. REUSABLE BAGS: It may come as a surprise to you that plastic shopping bags create a serious threat not only to our environment, but to our food chain. These convenient, but toxic bags are filling up landfills and oceans just about everywhere. So, next time you’re going marketing, bring along some non-toxic reusable bags made from some kind of earth-friendly material. Failing which, then simply keep your plastic bags and take them with you to be reused on your current shopping expedition.
4. INSTALL L.E.D. LIGHTS: Although not the cheapest solution in the short-term, in the long-term there is simply no way anyone can deny the value of LED lighting. With an average life span of 23-years, the average LED light bulb (which is already using much less energy) will outlast the regular incandescent bulb by 25:1!
5. TURN-OFF AND UNPLUG APPLIANCES: What many people do not realize is that most if not all of your electric appliances continue to consume energy even when turned-off. Your innocent computer, television, even oven and cordless vacuum continue to consume power even when not turned on. The simple solution is to not only turn them off, but also to unplug them altogether until they are next needed.
6. RECYCLE EVERYTHING: In this high disposable world we currently live in, too many of us simply throw everything old or slightly used out and replace it with a brand-new version of the same thing. Next time you are tempted to do that, consider recycling or reusing it instead. Many objects and items we typically toss out could be donated, rehabilitated, reused for different purposes or at least recycled instead of being added to the frighteningly large number of landfills now dotting the country.
7. USE A REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE: Plastic water and other drink bottles are becoming a biohazard all on their own. These ubiquitous and handy items are clogging landfills, waterways and garbage recycling plants the planet over. And there are completely unnecessary. Instead, consider investing in a reusable container which by-passes the need for plastic altogether. Or, once again, simply reuse the bottles you currently have instead of throwing them out.
8. SHOP LOCALLY AND IN SEASON: Food produced in the regions in which you are living do not have to be harvested early, shipped to grocery stores from afar and forced to ripen in time for sale. Instead, they are harvested in time and delivered locally if at all, and tend to involve a lot less middlemen, chemicals or costs. They also support local businesses and are more likely in alignment with your body’s own seasonal needs.
9. GET EDUCATED / SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE: Make yourself aware of the issues confronting not only the planet, but your own local community. Consider a night school course at a local college. Or head to the library and do some research on a topic related to the earth and conservancy that especially interests you. Then share your knowledge with your family, friends and neighbourhood/community. Your voice will have a lot more authority in your community than some politician in Ottawa or scientist at UofT.
10. SPEAK OUT WHEN IT’S IMPORTANT: As you get educated you will inevitably begin to form your own opinions and passions. Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard. Consider joining a local environmental group or community garden. Or write a letter to your City, Provincial or Federal government representative demanding that he/she speak on your behalf about the ecological and environmental issues most important to you.
These ten tips are just the tip of the quickly melting ice berg. I’m sure you can probably think up ten or twenty more if you just put your mind to it. So, now is the time to act. However you decide to go about it, consider taking on one or two small and easy new habits or behaviours that has a lot less negative impact on the planet. And be sure to let your friends and family know. Encourage them to do the same. And when enough of us start living more consciously and sustainably, then and only then might we be able to look at the future without fear and instead with joy and hope!
Here are some more resources for you to explore the world of sustainable living and to honour our planet on Earth Day and everyday of the year: