Do you feel helpless about what’s happening to the planet? You might be surprised by how easy it is to support positive change. These nine simple lifestyle changes could help you save the world.
Change your internet habits
How often do you use search engines? Every time you do, you’re using computing power which requires a significant amount of electricity. We don’t realize it because it happens far away, but the environmental impact is real. Consider switching to Ecosia, which is carbon neutral and plants trees with the proceeds of your searches, helping to sustain and even expand vital forest habitats. You can make this change without even leaving your desk.
Change your diet
Meat consumption is a massive driver of environmental destruction and farm animals release methane, contributing to climate change. Overfishing is depleting the fish stocks in the oceans, so have you considered going vegetarian? There’s been much hype about how some vegetarian favorites, like soy, are being cultivated irresponsibly and causing habitat loss, but there are lots of alternative options out there and you’ll find them adaptable, nutritious and delicious.
Support sustainable farming and forestry
If you’ve followed recent campaigns by Louise Gund you’ll know the importance of preserving our forests and reducing the impact of farming on the environment. More and more independent producers are now moving to sustainable methods and you can order from them directly online or try out their produce at your local farmers’ market. Caring for and restoring old wooden furniture also helps to keep carbon locked away.
Take up gardening
It’s depressing to look at the burning of the Amazon forest and to feel helpless but trees and plants are valuable wherever they grow, so why not plant some? If you don’t have a yard of your own, consider window boxes and indoor plants, find out if there’s a nearby community garden you can contribute to, or adopt a patch of wasteland. Growing bee-friendly plants means you can support pollinators at the same time as helping to lock up atmospheric carbon and support wildlife.
Use renewable energy
Switching to renewable energy might be easier than you think. If you can’t realistically fit solar panels on your home or set up a domestic wind turbine. you can choose an energy provider committed to harvesting all its energy from sustainable sources. You can also take advantage of the emerging range of solar options such as window films which can be used in apartments, and you can get together with others to install panels at your place of worship or community center.
Big business likes to pretend that boycotts don’t work but the evidence says otherwise. You don’t need to bring down a company or change its headline policies to make a difference. Websites like Ethical Consumer provide up to date information to help you make better choices in every area of your day to day shopping. It may seem hard to keep track when you begin but you’ll soon get into the habit.
Mind how you travel
It’s no secret that flying does damage, even if you offset your share of carbon emissions, and so does daily commuting in a car, even if you go electric. Public transport is much better but not perfect. Think about how you travel and try to identify areas where you can do it differently. Could you walk or cycle more? Could you carpool with friends? Does it make sense for you to commute every day or could you spend more time working from home?
You may not think it but the clothes you wear could be a big contributor to pollution and climate change. Fast fashion is an incredibly destructive industry. Instead of changing style every season, invest in clothes that are so good that you’ll want to keep them. If they no longer fit you, donate them rather than throwing them away, or make something new out of the fabric. Avoid plastic-based fabrics which can take decades to decay after disposal.
Stand up for girls
What’s the single most efficient way to improve environmental outcomes around the world? You might be surprised to hear that it isn’t any of the above. It’s educating girls. Studies consistently show that where girls prosper, so does the ecosystem, because in general, women going into business and politics have a different set of values. Donating to girls’ educational charities and supporting the girls in your own life could have world-changing results.
It’s time to stop waiting for more leadership on environmental issues and start doing your bit. You may only make a small difference, but if everyone does it, and if we continue to put pressure on politicians and businesses, we can make a big difference.