Fix climate change. Save the ocean. Protect endangered species. Lower carbon footprint. Whoa. It seems impossible that the average person can make an impact. Should we give up? The answer is a strong: NO! Change starts with you and this is your call for action. Every single one of us is responsible for sustaining our environment and every human on earth is part of the solution. There are many simple yet effective ways to make an impact! Small changes can make a big difference, start with these 5 and go from there. We are running out of time, what are you waiting for?
1. This summer choose reef-safe sunscreen.
Choosing the right sunscreen is important not only to protect our skin but to preserve our oceans and marine life as well. According to the National Park Service, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs every year, contributing to reef destruction. It is imperative that we avoid sunscreens containing petrolatum, Titanium Dioxide and Oxybenzone which all take years to biodegrade, cause deformations and bleaching to coral, and are known to be harmful or fatal to aquatic life.
Try these reef-friendly sunscreen brands: Coola*, Raw Elements*, Banana Boat Simply Perfect*, and Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen*.
2. Choose reusable water bottles.
Analysts state that 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced and 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Shockingly enough, only 9% of that has been recycled. Can you believe that 91% of all plastic is not recycled?! The remaining waste is accumulating in landfills and ending up in oceans where every year, the equivalent of five plastic grocery bags per every foot of coastline is dumped around the globe.
We can change these statistics by committing to reusable water bottles. Globally, people go through roughly 200 billion plastic water bottles annually.
We LOVE: S’well* bottles, bkr*, MIRA*, Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug* and Contigo*.
3. Commit to “something” meatless.
Whether it be a single meal, a day, a week or a complete lifestyle change, make the commitment to make a positive impact on nature, wildlife, livestock and agriculture.
A dietary shift can have more environmental impacts than you think. For example, livestock accounts for more than 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A vegetarian-conscious diet could cut those emissions by up to 70%. These dietary pattern changes can have economic value as well. Health care costs and productivity could be cut $1 trillion annually which could lead to as much as $30 trillion when the economic value of lost life is also considered. Last and most important, we must also consider the economic benefits of avoiding devastating extreme weather events that could result from climate change.
Eating green will promote environmental sustainability and make the world a better place for generations to come!
4. Say NO to plastic bags.
By now we know that plastic products start off as fossil fuel and then end up in a landfill, or most likely in the ocean. This goes for plastic bags as well. Did you know that birds and sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for food? So sad, but true. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually because plastic bags don’t biodegrade. They go through a process of photo degradation – which is a decomposition process through light exposure. The bag then breaks down into tiny toxic particles, which pollute our environment.
The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. If even a small percentage of us switched to reusable and recyclable bags, this would cut the waste and pollution dramatically. Here’s what you can do: stock up on reusable totes from your favorite local retailers such as Whole Foods, Lululemon, Homegoods etc. Bring these when you go do your groceries and shopping trips!
5. Don’t suck. Go straw-less!
Plastic straws are small, yet deadly. Although they comprise a small fraction of the plastic being polluted into the ocean, their size makes them one of the great dangers facing marine life and the environment. Straws are just the latest on the list of single use plastic products being banned. Americans alone use 500 million straws daily, according to the National Park Service. Except for people with medical needs, straws are not typically needed to consume beverages.
Don’t be a sucker. Why not go straw-less?! If it is absolutely necessary for straws to be utilized, make sure you are using titanium, stainless steel or bamboo straws as your alternative.
These eco-friendly options and suggestions not only help our planet, but they help our wallets too! Each and every one of us can incorporate one or all of these changes in our day to day lives. Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting climate change or environmental post social media, share it with your network. Share this post and comment below, we want to know if you’re doing your part too!