I have been very conscious of the fact I and my family have a large carbon footprint for a while now, when I was in school we were given a short quiz by WWF that told us our impact on the world, and to say mine was good would be an insult to the poor turtles I help to kill.
My footprint was 117%! It’s insane to think that me living my (unsustainable) consumerist life was harming the environment in an embarrassingly big way. We all just think that little old us doing our thing won’t affect our eco-system too much? Well, we are wrong. And it’s time to change.
This is what my footprint looks like. The crazy amount of products we buy (and don’t need) along with how we run our homes are the biggest factors that we need to change.
It’s not about everyone living eco-friendly perfectly, it’s about millions of people doing it imperfectly. We can change small things in our lives that could mean the world to our fellow earth dwellers. And to us. So here are small things you can do to lower your carbon footprint and save the planet.
EAT LESS MEAT AND DAIRY
Agriculture is a massive contribution to greenhouse gases, large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane are produced from cows and soil cultivation. And yet we still eat meat and dairy like it’s going out of fashion. Cut down or even better, cut out your intake of meat and dairy to help lower the gases emitted by agricultural activities. Eat more vegetables and grains.
WALK OR USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Now, I’m fully aware that walking and public transport is not an option for some people. I live in the south of England, where the countryside buses are not reliable. And often things are too far to walk. BUT, try to walk more if you can. Walk down to the shops instead of driving, use a bike to get to the next town. Or just don’t go out and use the car if you don’t need to. Car emissions need to go down for the sake of the air we breathe, and we can easily make changes to do this.
GET A SMART METER AND GO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Do you know how much electric you use? A smart meter is a great way to keep an eye on your usage, watching how much you spend leaving that bathroom light on will remind you to be more energy-efficient. There are also plenty of companies who also offer renewable energy at a great price, and by switching to these providers you are supporting a great scheme and limiting your own footprint.
REUSE. REUSE. REUSE.
The amount of reusable waste that is dumped into landfills is a joke to anyone’s standards. Why throw away that plastic bag? Take it and use it for next time. Why throw away that tub from your Indian takeaway? Use it as a lunchbox. Why throw away that yoghurt pot? Use it to plant seeds in. There are so many products we throw away when we can easily use them for a different purpose. And if you aren’t already recycling RECYCLE. It’s 2019, catch up.
BUY SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS
I recently invested in some reusable and sustainable kitchen products, that will save the planet and my money. I bought silicone pockets to store sandwiches and leftover food in, instead of using plastic sandwich bags and plastic wrapping. I bought beeswax food wraps that are biodegradable and saves using kitchen foil to wrap up avocados and tomorrows lunch. I bought some bamboo kitchen roll that will last up to 60 normal tissue kitchen rolls, a lot of money saved and less plastic thrown away in the process. If you type into Amazon sustainable kitchen products, there is a wide range of things you can buy to save you money and the amount of waste you and your family produce. It may seem a lot to pay out, but think of how much money you will save not buying these products weekly.
WATCH YOUR BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Not only does our beauty cost us money, but it also harms animals and creates a LOT of waste. Think of all the plastic our favourite lipstick is wrapped in. So why not shop ethical brands, or try products that are packaging-free, like Lush’s naked range. Superdrug in the UK has also launched a great vegan range, its affordable and doesn’t cost animals lives to look good. Here is a list of popular brands you should avoid, crueltyfreekitty also has a lot of information on great brands to stick to if you want to shop vegan.
You can also save money by buying reusable makeup pads, these save you buying loads of cotton pads to apply toner and wipe away makeup. All you do is chuck them in the wash and your away again.
We are very wasteful with the amount of food we chuck in the rubbish bin, so why not put it to good use instead. You can buy cheap compost bins for your garden, and smaller ones for an apartment. Or you can even make your own. Just throw food waste, and garden waste into the bin and watch it turn into a compost that will help nourish your plants.
If you take anything away from this post is that we live in a consumerist culture, and this has to change in order for us to help rebuild our eco-system. We demand so much, so quickly. Fast-fashion is a good example of this, clothes are so in demand manufacturers can’t keep up, the price of labour goes down to meet this expectation and now people are working in terrible conditions to make products that we throw away into a landfill so we can buy another shirt for the next season. It’s a cycle that is unsustainable and harmful to everyone involved.
Just think next time you are in a shop, think of the price of you adding another shirt to your collection. It may cost you a small fee of £6 for a jumper you will wear once, but it costs our planet a hell of a lot more.
This demand is not just for fashion, but for fish, for paper, for oils. We destroy our eco-system and risk lives just so WE CAN HAVE MORE.
If you have Netflix and want to educate yourself, please watch;
- Our Planet
- The True Cost
- Before The Flood
Or just google how much our lifestyle affects our planet and the animals who call it home.
All these small lifestyle changes don’t cost us a lot, but they will change the horrifying future we now face.