With over six billion residents, the earth is teeming with people. Billions of inhabitants, that if rallied together in an effort to alter minor elements to their life could really make global change and shift the course of environmental fate. Imagine. People working in unison towards one common goal: the betterment of the planet and quality of life. Okay, okay, sure, this sounds like the rhetoric right from the mouth of a bleeding heart liberal (which it is), but what can we really do if we can’t dream of change first? The truth is, while it would be great to have the support of all six billion inhabitants, we can’t wait for the rest of the world to make global change, so the substance of individual action is that much more important. With World Environment Day approaching on June 5th, now is the best time to take a look at how we are living and assess whether or not any elements can be changed to minimize the ecological footprint we have tracked along the planet. World Environment Day began in 1972 with the hopes of creating awareness of environmental issues across the globe and igniting political attention. A true leader in eco-awareness, they strive to inspire change through their partnerships and actions. Sometimes what might seem like the most meaningless action can have the most substantial influence, changing the course of environmental fate for the better and inspiring others to make similar choices. Here are 10 acts, that when multiplied by the participation of others, have the capacity to not only reverse the progression of environmental destruction, but smooth away the lines of the deep-rooted, carbon footprints we have made along the way:
Take Shorter Showers
Currently, only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh and many people are living with little to no water on a daily basis. Find ways to incorporate the conservation of water into your daily routine. When you shower, keep it brief. Also, use a bucket to catch the cold water while you are waiting for warm water. That water can then be used to water plants or even be boiled for cooking or drinking later. Get creative with water conservation!
Use Products with Less Packaging
Almost anything you buy these days is layered in unnecessary coats of plastic. When shopping, try to purchase items with the least amount of packaging or no packaging at all. When plastic is not recycled it usually ends up in the ocean or landfills.
Organize a Community Tree Planting
Trees are oxygen filters that moderate climate, improve air quality, conserve water, and harbor wildlife. Get your community inspired to dedicate one day a year (perhaps on World Environment Day, wink wink) to the planting of new trees in your neighborhood.
Use Reusable Bags for Shopping
Plastic takes approximately 500 years to breakdown. If at all possible, do not use plastic bags. Reusable grocery bags are very reasonable (often under $1) and are much sturdier, holding more food than plastic bags anyway. This is a simple way to contribute positively to the environment.
Flip the Switch
Don’t wast energy by leaving the lights on when you’re not in the room. While you’re at it, turn off the TV, computer and other household appliances, too. By doing this you can decrease the speed at which global warming is gaining.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Regular household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that are detrimental to the environment and ozone. Instead, use products with natural ingredient or make your own.
Compost Leftover Scraps of Food
Organic waste that would otherwise end up in landfills can be placed in a compost bin as food for your garden. Composting 101 has all the information you need to get started.
Leave Your Car at Home
If at all possible, walk, bike or take public transportation. The fumes released by the fossil fuels are major contributors to global warming and are toxic. Not driving your car for a few days a week, or at all, could really help the environment for the better.
Start a Recycle Drive
Most people know how to recycle plastic and cans, but there is still a lot of confusion on how to properly recycle other items, like electronics. By starting a community-based recycle drive you can not only ensure that those items get to the right place, but educate people in your area of how to recycle items on their own.
Be an Armchair Activist
If you are in the financial position to take your action one step further, consider being an armchair activist and contributing positively to the sustainability of our dwindling species, such as the great apes. The great apes are facing extinction within the next five to ten years if action is not taken with their survival in mind. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, the majority of the great ape population could be extinct in our lifetime. Lodging activities in Indonesia, bushmeat trade in Africa and the destruction of their natural habitat are all adding to the increased decline in the great ape population. While armchair activism may seem like a weak representation of such regal, majestic and amazing creatures, it can make a huge impact on their survival. To donate and aid in saving the great apes, United Nations Environmental Programme has made it as easy as a couple clicks. You can also sign this petition on CARE2, absolutely free, to stop the unnecessary killing of orangutans in Indonesia.