The buzzword of the past few years have been "climate change" and if the hundreds of scientists releasing data have convinced you to take part in saving our home, here are a few cheap and easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference.

Say No to Plastic

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According to Time magazine, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and the amount is expected to rise*. Back in 2014, Ghent University researchers also discovered that up 11,000 microscopic pieces of plastic is consumed through the seafood we eat*. To put an end to turning our water into a sea of plastic waste, begin by refusing it - from plastic bags to utensils to straws - whenever offered. Take it a step further by swapping out your toothbrush or straws for bamboo ones!

Bamboo toothbrush: https://packagefreeshop.com/collections/featured-products/products/bamboo-toothbrush-adult
Bamboo straws: https://packagefreeshop.com/products/bamboo-drinking-straws-unfinished

Grow Your Own Food

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A majority of the produce we purchase from the grocery store travels an estimated distance of 1500 miles while releasing a ton of carbon emissions from the transportation*. Not only that but the longer the time between harvest and consumption is, the less nutrients we receive. The solution: homegrown fruits and veggies! This can be done either in your backyard or on your windowsill. Some of the easiest plants to grow are tomatoes, strawberries, eggplant, and blueberries. You can also try an herb garden that can include basil, thyme, lavender, oregano, and rosemary 🌿.

Buy Second-Hand Clothing

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In the US, approximately 25 billion pounds of clothes are wasted annually and that amount has increased between 1999 and 2009 by 40%*. Instead of contributing, why not try thrift shopping? Not only are you saving the environment, but you are cashing in on some sweet deals on amazing clothes by switching from department store shopping to consignments. I once bought a pair of $80 Calvin Klein jeans in top-notch condition for only $5!

Cut Back On Eating Meat

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This certainly doesn't mean you have to go full vegan but reducing your meat consumption is not only beneficial for your health but also a huge boost to helping the environment. In a paper published by the World Resources Institute it's stated that "beef uses more land and freshwater and generates more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of protein than any other commonly consumed food." The methane produced by cows is released into the atmosphere and in the US, alone, methane output could be increased by 60% by 2030*. We eat approximately 230 grams of meat per day but just cutting back to 90 grams could make a difference. Try a Mediterranean diet that focuses on fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and legumes, olive oil, some fish, and, even, red wine. Maybe I'll write an article on that?

Let Your Voice Be Heard

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The smallest acts have the biggest impacts and one of the biggest is through speaking up for what you believe in. This can be intimidating but there are many ways of going about it such as signing a petition like this one: https://www.change.org/p/join-the-fight-to-defend-climate-progress. Try contacting representatives through this website: https://5calls.org/issue/clean-power-plan. Start a charity for organizations such as 350.org or Greenpeace. Protest if you have the confidence. Or spread the word. Let those in power know how much you care.

Saving the planet means saving our home, our futures, and ourselves. Any small act can have a tremendous impact.

notes*:

http://time.com/3707112/plastic-in-the-ocean/

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42270729

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-growing-your-own-food-can-benefit-the-planet/

https://listverse.com/2017/03/17/10-truly-troubling-facts-about-the-clothing-industry/

https://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/methane-cow.htm