Updated: May 25, 2019
Do you believe in climate change?
Doesn't matter if you do- it's happening!
SO, HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
How can we save the planet / make an individual difference?
Impact the environment positively?
There are 3 mains areas that we can focus on as consumers to create the change.
Carbon & methane gas footprint
Chemical residue & run-off
As we collectively focus AND REDUCE these areas of consumption, we can globally spread change.
1. PLASTIC USAGE
One of the biggest pollutants to our ecosystems is plastic. Once created, the material is here to stay.
We have been loading landfills with 50 BILLION TONNES of plastic over the past 60 years.
Think of all the plastic used on a daily basis: it wraps produce, lines boxed foods, seals bottles, transports our shopping, and is the material for water bottles, baby bottles, containers and more!
Now, think about how much of the plastic we use only gets one use and is then tossed.
Where does it go next? The options are few: buried into the ground, or washed into the ocean.
The rate of accumulation is exceeding our ability to deal with the waste.
Is it really that bad?
Search Great Pacific Garbage Patch into YouTube or Google!!
It is the largest accumulation zone of ocean plastic on the planet, 3 times the size of France, and contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
That is 250 pieces of plastic for every human in the world!!!!
Think about lifestyle: how long does it take you to reach 250 pieces of tossed plastic?
While change will not happen overnight, one of the simplest ways to protect the environment is by making some small changes at home.
Easy ideas to reduce your individual plastic consumption:
Buy brands that skip excessive plastic wrap.
Buy loose produce and skip the thin plastic bags used to separate veggies from touching- if you really want to separate everything use the paper bags they supply by the mushrooms.
Buy from a market, bring jars to bulk stores and/or to the butcher.
Own a tote bag.
Use a reusable water bottle/juice/food containers- bamboo and hemp products are popping up everywhere!
Recycle as per your city’s recommendations.
2. GAS FOOTPRINT
Our gas footprint is the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere.
CARBON GAS EMISSIONS
Al Gore's timeline of the Earth showed that in over 650,000 years the CO2 level has never gone over 300ppm (parts per million), currently we have surpassed that reading and each year it continues to increase.
The relationship with CO2 in the atmosphere is related to the temperature: more CO2=higher temperature (because it traps suns rays).
Carbon is released through burning fossil fuels (such as driving), but also in the manufacturing of plastic, products, boxed and bagged (processed) food and clothes.
Ways to protect the environment by reducing your carbon footprint:
Walk, bike, share a ride, use public transport or methods of transportation that are gas-free or split amongst many people.
Reduce industrial produced foods, clothes, products and furniture.
Read ingredient labels to avoid ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, cottonseed oil and palm oil- these industries are linked to deforestation, chemical spray, high water consumption and mass-industrial production.
Choose to buy things locally, support community-run operations and brands.
Monitor the home bills, choose to use less heat and air-conditioning when possible.
METHANE GAS EMISSIONS
Another topic worth mentioning is methane gas. Compared to carbon, methane gas takes longer to leave our atmosphere and traps more heat.
One of the biggest producers of methane gas are cows and commercial animal agriculture- support local farms!
Here's how you can make a difference:
Find healthier ways to enjoy meat like supporting local farms and butchers who practice traditional farming methods and raise animals on grass versus grain. This will also benefit us nutritionally because animals grown with grass are happier and healthier compared to animals grown with grain in confined spaces.
3. CHEMICAL RESIDUE & RUN-OFF
Just like plastic, some of the chemicals created by humans are here to stay!
Over the years, many have become banned for protection of our own health and the eco-systems.
We have to stay conscious that whatever we flush down our toilet or sink, washes down our driveways and streets, leaks from our machines and houses all ends up into the cycle of water on our Earth.
On the Government of Canada website about Climate Change it states that the most common chemicals leached in our water system unknowingly are pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, gasoline, other industrial/nuclear chemicals, and landfill run-off. On a personal level? Bath and body products, home cleaning products and prescription pills.
Here’s what we can do to reduce chemical run-off:
Raising awareness and protecting conservation areas from trash pollution.
Participating less in products and actions that produce chemical waste and residue.
Support local farmers that practice multi-crop farms versus single/mono-cropped commercial farms. SAY NO TO GMO!!!
Support companies that make an environmental effort.
Look for are the rainforest protection, fair-trade, USDA organic, and eco-cert icons.