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Sustainability and You: 5 Ways to Be Friendlier to the Earth

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The planet is dying—or so they say. Consumption has been a huge problem for the human race since the beginning and it’s unclear how many humans the planet can actually support before it starts to become problematic. We already have drastically different standards of living across the world. Some people grow up in poverty, where getting a hot meal is seen as a privilege and others have first-world problems such as having to get out of bed just to eat breakfast. The disparity between the world’s richest and the world’s poorest is so high nowadays that it’s like living life on an entirely different planet.

Sadly, Earth will be our home for the foreseeable future and we need to find ways to become more self-sufficient. Companies are already trying to cut back their mining operations for the sake of the planet. That’s why renewable energy sources are so high in demand and why there is so much research being pumped into this scientific field. Theoretically, even solar energy is non-renewable due to the eventual death of our sun (though practically speaking it is renewable) so we need to find better ways to harness energy. With billions of humans on the planet that regularly use electricity and gas, it’s imperative that we band together as a collective to reduce our waste, control pollution and focus on sustainability. Sure, we probably won’t be running out of things like fossil fuels in our lifetime, but we need to think about future generations and how they will cope with increasing issue of sustainability.

To help you turn over a new leaf, we’ve put together 5 ways that you can be friendlier to the Earth. Some of these will require you to get rid of bad habits or change where you shop, but they are small changes that can easily be adopted.

  1. Buy from sustainable sources of meat and vegetables

When buying groceries, try and focus on sustainable sources. Packages will state if the food inside was farmed with sustainable methods or not, so this is much easier to do than you might think. It’s also worth checking out initiatives such as the one at globalsalmoninitiative.org. These initiatives specialized in sustainability and they work together with companies all over the world to ensure that sustainable methods are being practiced. Knowledge is power when it comes to sustainability so don’t neglect your research. You might expect to pay a little bit more than regular market prices for sustainable food, but it’s worth the extra money because you’ll be supporting a good cause.

  1. Cut down the amount of paper you use or receive

Try switch to paperless as soon as possible. For instance, if you’re still receiving paper bills from your utility provider or bank, then consider switching to online payments so that you use less paper. In addition, decline any spam mail that you receive and contact companies to let them know that you’re receiving excessive amounts of paper waste. For now, all you can really do to fight spam is to make sure you recycle it. It might not seem like much to replace your paper bills with digital versions, but it adds up over time and you’ll even be offered incentives for switching to digital systems in some cases. If you want some further advice, check out this blog post at justagirlandherblog.com to learn more about going paperless

  1. Learn to live without using your vehicle too much

Sure, it’s understandable that you want to use the vehicle that you spent so much money on, but do you really need to use it to drive to the grocery store that’s a 5-minute walk away? Do you really need to drive your kids separately instead of just carpooling? There are many ways to cut down on the amount of time you drive and it will also save you a tonne of money in the long run. If your destination is within walking distance or close to public transportation, then you could always catch a bus or train to make things cheaper and easier on yourself.

  1. Finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Reducing your car usage is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also do this in a variety of different ways too. If you really need to use your car on a regular basis, then look for a vehicle that doesn’t emit too much CO2. Additionally, you could learn to change your driving routes so that you avoid traffic. Stop-and-go traffic wastes gas and emits a lot of CO2, so even if it looks like a longer route, you’ll be saving a lot of fuel and time. For more tips on reducing your carbon footprint, take a look at cotap.org.

  1. Understanding the benefits of recycling your goods

A lot of people don’t actually understand the benefits of recycling their goods. They just assume that you throw certain materials into another bag so that it gets turned into useful things. While that is essentially what recycling is, there’s more to it than that. Supporting recycling isn’t just about turning your waste into useful items. It’s about re-using what you have in various ways and also disposing of your items properly. For example, if you have an old laptop then you’d probably be tempted to just throw it away. However, the battery can cause major damage to the environment if left in a garbage dump and there are better ways to dispose of the old laptop. If it’s still working, then you can easily refurbish it with new parts to create or sell a working laptop. If it’s well past its usable state, then you can still recycle components that would work fine in other electronics. Recycling is much more than just putting your paper into a separate bin and it helps to learn more about recycling in order to understand why it’s so important.

It’s easy to focus on sustainable living if you remember that many of these tips can also help you save money, not just the planet.

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