The idea of living a cleaner lifestyle has come front and center in our modern lives. With buzzwords like climate change and global warming appearing all over the media and the internet, it’s no wonder people want to change their lifestyles.
However, for the average person that bounces from video games, work, school, and their jackpot casino login, the idea of ‘going green’ may seem daunting. I mean, there are a lot of things that can negatively impact the environment!
So, where is the ‘average joe’ or ‘average jane’ supposed to start turning their life more eco-friendly? There are some things that are quite obvious that you can do. Other things are not so simple.
But, whether it is simple or not, we can all agree that the Earth is a pretty great home. Sure it’s got its problems, most of which involve us, but it’s still home. So, it is worthwhile for us to pitch in our fair shares and do what we can to protect it.
Even if it is something small. Perhaps the way you travel or what you eat. A lot of people doing a little bit can go a long way to helping the problem. So, maybe you should start somewhere. Who knows where you will end up?
Dispose of the Disposable
The first immediate thing you should do is cut down on your use of plastic. There is no real way around it, so you just have to start somewhere.
Plastic has a clear negative impact on the ecosystems around the globe. Lowering your use of disposable plastics can go a long way in alleviating the amount of waste we expel into our environment.
The big problem is that plastic is just too darn useful to get rid of it completely. There is simply no other material that can do everything plastics can.
From being safe to store consumables into being air and watertight, to being non-stick, to being incredibly easy to form and mold into the shapes we need it to be. From being quite durable for many tasks to non-conductive plastic is simply irreplaceable for many applications.
However, this does not mean we have to or should be, using plastic for everything. It may be a wonderful material, but sometimes it’s better to make sacrifices for the sake of saving our home.
The biggest use of plastic is disposable plastics. This means disposable utensils, plates, bowls, cups, bags, and much more. This is a huge amount of waste especially when people go to the beach or on picnics and litter in the wild.
So, an alternative is to bring reusable plates and utensils for everyone! Then you just clean them when you are done and pack them away.
Now, I know this can be terribly inconvenient. Having to wash and repack all the utensils and dishes when you finish eating, but this is the planet we are talking about! Isn’t our home worth a little inconvenience?
Why Paper is Greater
However, there is another alternative to plastic. Paper. Using disposable paper plates, cups and bowls is a great middle ground. This could be a bit controversial, but let me explain.
Paper has a big advantage in that it is biodegradable. This simply means that it is able to be broken down by fungi, bacteria, plants, and all the other little creeping and teeming things that like to decompose things.
This means that paper will break down and return the earth. Ergo, there will be no waste sitting around for a millennium.
Now, the use of paper is a hot button issue. Many people say that it is bad for the environment because it causes deforestation. This is not really true, however.
Think about it this way, if you are a farmer, do you reap all of your crops and then move on to another field? No, you replant so you can make money!
The same is true for tree farmers. They grow the trees, cut them down for wood and paper, and then replant new ones. Just like any other crop.
The real cause of deforestation in many places is grazing land for cattle. Cattle need wide open pastures to eat grass and frolic around. So, trees are cut down to make room for these pastures.
In addition to its environmental benefits, paper could also have some practical benefits over plastic. Specifically for the packaging of food products.
There are many products that do not need to be sealed in an airtight container. Or perhaps it is bad for them to be in an airtight container.
An example of this would be produce. Grapes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and many more fruits and vegetables you buy come in little plastic containers.
But these containers usually have little holes in them. So why do they need to be in plastic containers that will generate waste?
The answer is that they don’t! Using a heavy stock paper to make little baskets or bags for these food products could cut down on plastic use tremendously!
The same goes for grocery bags. I remember when I was little, some stores would have nice paper bags for your groceries. Now, everyone uses plastic because it is cheaper. But the paper would have been better for the environment, and just as convenient.
The only real disadvantage paper has is that it breaks down when it gets too wet. But at the same time, that is exactly why we want it! Because it breaks down and will keep the Earth clean.
Source of Your Power
One final thought I have for you on clean living has to do with clean energy and transportation. With electric cars being all the rage nowadays, there are quite a few things many environmentalists seem to be overlooking.
The biggest point I am going to try and give you is that electric cars are not always cleaner! This will entirely depend on where your electricity comes from.
First of all, before I even begin talking about gas and electric power, I want to talk about manufacturing. Building cars takes quite a bit of resources and has more than an inconsequential environmental impact.
From the mining of resources to build the components of the cars to the shipping of those parts to the factories that assemble them, each step along the way creates some carbon or environmental footprint.
So, if you already have a car that is reasonably fuel-efficient, then you should try and squeeze every drop of use you can out of it. That will lessen the environmental impact-to-use ratio of the car.
And, if you just bought a new car after that, then your old car could become waste, and the new car would have its new manufacturing footprint.
Now, for the point, you have all been waiting for, gas or electric? The answer, as I said, depends entirely on a very important factor.
We are going to assume that both cars are brand new. You want a new car, and we will furthermore assume that both cars have relatively the same environmental impact.
Now, it all comes down to where your electricity comes from! If you get power from a coal-burning plant, then using an electric car just moves the carbon emissions from your engine to a factory somewhere!
So, you are certainly going to want to check what your main source of power is. If it is cleaner than gasoline then you can mark that off the list.
But, there is one final consideration that is unavoidable. Electric cars require special materials. We need both rare earth metals such as neodymium for motors, and lithium for batteries. Other things as well.
These materials are running out! If we keep using them the way we are, we may not have any lithium left in a couple decades. No lithium means no batteries to run all of our essential electronics.
So, where does this leave us? Well, if you must take a car, then weigh the things I’ve put forth carefully. But, if you don’t absolutely need a car, then maybe it might just be better to take a bus.
The more people in a single-vehicle means that there are fewer vehicles on the road. If 10 people ride the bus instead of driving, then that is 10 fewer cars. Might be worth considering.