To put it lightly, the news cycle regarding climate change is, well, scary. Activists urge world leaders to make fundamental decisions now to protect our planet today and for years to come. While global policy initiatives will make broader changes, your everyday choices, purchases, and habits matter, too.
“It is important for everyone to take a stand and implement new habits to help the climate change that is happening today, ” says Brooke Shannon, climate activist and founder of the sustainable swimsuit line, Jilaine Swim. “A lot of people may think that their actions are not significant, but that is false. Everyone’s actions count and influence the decisions people make around them. Therefore, becoming a more conscientious consumer and implementing simple habits in your everyday life can start a chain reaction. If we take care of our natural resources, they will help take care of us as well.”
Luckily, there are some easy and influential ways to start helping Mother Earth today. Here, climate experts share their best advice:
Switch to solar energy
One of the most significant ways you can help the climate is by switching to solar energy. Traditional electricity is pumped through the electrical grid and generated by power plants that burn fossil fuels, like coal or natural gas. “When fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. So by switching to solar energy, you are directly reducing the amount of electric power plants need to make,” explains Krystal Persaud, the founder, and CEO of Grouphug Solar.
However, most people believe swapping to solar energy will be expensive, causing them to shy away from the investment. This isn’t true since there are plenty of price levels to choose from, Persaud says. “If you own a home, you can look into getting solar panels on your roof, ground-mounted solar panels, or even a nifty solar pergola for your porch,” she explains. Plus, most solar installation companies offer both cash payments and loan payments.
Do you rent? If so, Persaud recommends subscribing to a local community solar farm where you’ll get 5 to 10 percent off of your monthly electricity bill. “Community solar is the service of subscribing to an off-site solar farm in your area. A solar farm is just a fancy way of saying ‘large-scale solar installation’… there are no chickens.”
Shop with B Corp companies
Sure, shopping with your dollars is important. But it’s equally as important to know you’re buying goods from an eco-responsible company, says Kerry Keihn, a financial advisor and the director of client services at Earth Equity Advisors.
One way is to look for certified B companies like Sunday Riley that are certified by a third party to ensure they have substantial, positive social and environmental impacts. “There is a rapidly growing B Corp directory listing everything from financial services to household and personal care products to travel and leisure,” she shares.
Compost your food waste
Sadly, most waste ends up in landfills that are growing more and more every minute. These massive areas generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas dangerous for the planet. Persaud says you can help work against your own footprint by being mindful of what you throw in the trash. To get started, compost your food scraps. You can purchase a filtered (aka — non-smelly) container to keep in your kitchen as you food prep. After you collect your food scraps, you can do a couple of things.
“If you have access to an outdoor space, you take your kitchen scraps and put them in a larger compost system. This system could be a large bucket with holes for aeration or buying a nifty compost barrel from a place like Home Depot,” she says. “If you live in an apartment and don’t have a backyard, find a local compost drop-off near you. Farmer’s markets tend to have organizations collecting food scraps to turn into compost to add to their crops for fertilization.”
Opt for paperless
If you haven’t already, go paperless with your banking statements, bills, and other unnecessary mail. Not only is this joining the digital era, but it’s helping the climate, too, explains Luciana Brafman, the founder and CEO of Time To Act Entertainment.
Also, try to reduce the number of documents you print. “However, if printing a large number of items, such as business cards, invitations or flyers, choose a sustainable printing option like eco-friendly recycled paper or 100 percent-tree-free, carbon-neutral multipurpose paper,” she recommends. “Trees are essential to life. They provide oxygen, improve air quality, climate amelioration, conserve water, preserve soil and support wildlife, so it’s our responsibility to protect them.”
Stop buying single-use items
Do a quick audit of everything you use in a day that’s single-use. You might be surprised to find you’re wasting more than you realize. When you use water bottles, take out containers, and fast-fashion clothing, you contribute to a linear economy, where raw natural resources are transformed into products that get disposed of, Persaud explains.
“When you need to buy something new, check if that product can be reused, repaired, or returned to the manufacturer. Some companies can recycle products back into materials that can be used to make new products,” she says.
When you make the change to reusable goods, you become part of the circular economy, where products are designed to never end up in a landfill. “By reducing this physical waste, you are also lowering emissions because the company is making less,” she adds.
Reduce your water waste
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When you brush your teeth, do you turn off the tap? And how long are your showers? Shannon says that as much as you can, reduce your water waste to help the climate. “Pumping, heating, and treating water takes a lot of energy. By reducing water waste, it can minimize the carbon pollution in the atmosphere,” she says. “By doing your part, we can save gallons of water that are wasted and cut the costs on your water bills.”
Start with your showerhead: smart showerhead hai tracks your shower usage overtime via Bluetooth. Personalized LED alert signal when the water is warm and ready and when you’ve reached your target limit. The hai app measures your water and energy usage against the national average. It’s where you can set water and energy-saving goals and monitor your water usage with a custom-colored LED light. The hai light reminds you when to get in or out.
Eat less meat
Brafman explains high meat consumption and livestock farming are responsible for releasing greenhouse gases like methane, CO2, and nitrous oxide that contribute to climate change. “Practice conscious eating by incorporating more meatless meals into your normal diet,” she recommends. One option is a ‘Flexitarian’ diet that emphasizes plant-based foods most of the time but still allows for meat occasionally. “It’s a great jump-off point for eating more sustainably. Try aiming to have at least seven meatless meals per week,” she adds.
“Reducing your meat intake can be easier than you think. The quality of meat alternative products has increased significantly in the last few years thanks to the advances in research and development. It becomes harder and harder to tell the difference between animal product alternatives,” explains Sam Lippman, chef at Hooray Foods. Make it fun and explore your grocery store — these days the plant-based sections are expanding, and it’s becoming as easy to grab pre-made plant-based items as it is animal-based products.
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