Every year, Earth Day highlights the importance of clean air, water, land, and preserving nature for the future. As for us, there is so much we can do to help the planet each day. To practice Earth Day every day, here are 5 steps that you can take.
Step 1: Understand what carbon footprint is.
Every individual, household, business, product, and event generates a carbon footprint, and as of 2021, there has been an increase in CO2 emissions by 1.5 billion tonnes. Carbon footprint refers to the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities.
Greenhouse gas emissions affect our health and the environment. It also causes climate change by trapping heat in the planet, causing adverse effects such as melting of glaciers, acid rain, chemical smog, climate change, and deforestation- to mention a few.
So, what types of human activities leave a carbon footprint? These include but are not limited to: burning of fossil fuels for electricity production and consumption, transportation, farming, and deforestation.
To start with having a basic understanding of what carbon footprint is a great first step to identify what harms the planet and what we can do instead to help the environment.
Step 2: Switch off.
The first easy step to practice Earth Day every day is to switch off appliances and devices that are not in use. This also includes lights. Not only do appliances on standby add up to your bill every minute, but it also contributes to energy waste.
Now, how does energy waste relate to the planet? The process of creating electricity uses fuel, resulting in air pollution with carbon dioxide as the main pollutant.
To reduce your carbon footprint and help the earth, you can simply turn off the lights and unplug devices and appliances that are not in use.
Step 3: Reduce food waste.
Food waste does not seem like a big deal. After all, food can rot, unlike plastic. While this is true, there’s more about food waste that we should learn.
First of all, food waste is not good for the environment. The process of food production and preparation involves agriculture, electricity, fuel, and water. All of these steps release greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Furthermore, when we waste food, we also waste our water resources. While the planet is mostly made up of water, only a small percentage of this is freshwater. The rest are saltwater. It has been estimated that a portion of the world’s population may face water shortage by 2025.
To help the planet, reduce food waste by buying ingredients that you need. It will help to plan ahead and make a shopping list. Avoid buying too much that may lead to food spoilage.
Another step that you can take is to properly store food. Label them properly and add expiration dates. You can also practice FIFO which means “first in first out” so that you can be sure that you consume food stocks that have the soonest best before dates.
Step 4: Refuse single-use.
Single-use daily items such as plastic straws, water bottles, bags, and cutlery are definitely convenient to use. You just throw them after they have served their purpose. However, this habit of using disposable items greatly impacts the environment.
Disposable plastic items are also piling up our landfills because plastic degradation takes about 10-100 years. Landfills run out of space really fast, and a lot of these plastic items end up getting blown away to the environment.
Discarded plastic bags have ended up in our oceans, harming marine life. For instance, more than 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year. Additionally, landfills can be potentially harmful to us and the environment as it can potentially leak toxic waste to our natural resources.
You can help prevent all of these by simply refusing single-use items. For example, consider bringing your own bag to the grocery to skip the plastic bag. When you are having food delivered, inform the restaurant that you won’t be needing disposable utensils.
Step 5: Use eco-friendly alternatives.
The next step that you can take is to switch to eco-friendly alternatives of everyday items. These are items that don’t harm the environment, prevent pollution, and have undergone eco-friendly production. You can start by creating an inventory of the items that you regularly use and the waste that you generate.
For example, take a look at your kitchen. Do you use a lot of disposable kitchen towels? Then it’s time to consider switching to cloth towels. Or, if you use a lot of single-use coffee filters, you can also find a reusable alternative to that such as a metal filter.
In your bathroom, you might discover that you are using a lot of single-use cotton rounds for skin care. Interestingly, there are eco-friendly reusable alternatives to that. Continue looking around your home or office, and see where you can reduce waste and avoid contributing to pollution.
From personal care products to furniture, you can find many shops and brands such as TruEarth, LastObject, and OKO Creations that are home for zero waste reusable items, and offer environmentally friendly alternatives to different kinds of products.