How Sustainable is Your Lifestyle?
Want to know if you're going green enough to improve your environment? Check out these top tips for a sustainable lifestyle and see how you score! Just one change can make a difference!
According to Newsweek, over 75% of Americans believe that climate change is real, but don't know how to truly help! Whether plastic pollution, sea level rise, or loss of wildlife, there are plenty of areas to contribute to by changing one thing in your everyday life!
The Race to a Sustainable Future!
The United Nations report reveals that Climate Change is in fact accelerating. With the warming and melting of the permafrost, which historically kept greenhouse gasses contained, more green-house gasses are being released and propelling the cycle of change. Unfortunately, native deforestation and wildfires contribute to the overproduction of CO2 at unprecedented rates.
These impacts affect not only humans, but also our wild friends. Due to climate change, habitat loss and degradation, we have lost over half the world's population of animals in the past 40 years, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.
There is hope for our planet. If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it's that we are able to adapt to more sustainable lifestyles more quickly!
Each topic below addresses top environmental issues that you can help solve from your very own home!
Learn more with our fun educational CO2 Calamity Class!
Simple Things You Can Do to Save Our World
1. Ask for No Straw or Lid
According to Be Straw Free Campaign, Americans use over 500 million straws a year which inevitably end up in landfills and oceans. These plastics then break down into microplastics; tiny particles of plastic that enter our trophic food chain and water supply.
Say no to the straw and lid or bring a reusable cup & straw with you!
2. Keep Reusable Bottles & Bags in Your Car...Recycling isn't What You Think
On Average, a single person uses up to 167 disposable water bottles each year. Additionally, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags every year, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. So, you say "just recycle!" However, less than 20% of all plastics are actually recycled, (even when put into a recycling bin).
Even if they do get recycled, plastic can only be recycled twice before it inevitably ends up in the trash again due to its chemical breakdown.
Plastic bags kill animals, like sea turtles which mistake them for their favorite food, jellyfish! Fish and marine birds often mistake bottle tops for food, causing them to die from starvation from plastic filled bellies. Have you ever heard
Learn more about what your family can do with our interactive Paper, Plastic or our Planet class!
3. Glass & Aluminum, NO STYROFOAM
Glass and Aluminum containers are 100% recyclable. Most Styrofoam today can still be found in landfills 500 years from now, as it is not fully recyclable.
When you have the choice, you can purchase your favorite soda or beverage in an aluminum can or glass bottle rather than plastic or foam. Consider bringing to-go containers to your favorite restaurants for those yummy leftovers!
Consider keeping a care kit in your car filled with your reusable bag, straw, canteen and to-go container!
4. Plant a Tree!
If just 100 of us planted a tree this year it would remove 2.4 tons of CO2 in a lifetime. Tree loss not only reduces the earth's ability to store carbon, but it releases carbon each time a tree is lost.
Where are all the trees going? Areas like the Amazon rainforest are being deforested to make way for cattle and the harvesting of palm oil. Modern housing development saves money by scraping forested areas, replacing it with lawns and immature trees for landscaping. Finally, believe it or not, our demand for soft toilet paper is driving logging in old growth forests!
A mature tree can remove 48 pounds of CO2 pollution per year, or 2,400 pounds in its lifetime.
5. Donate or Recycle Unwanted Clothing
A single outfit takes up to 2,200 gallons of water to produce, enough to fill a small tanker truck! Today's "fast fashion" has become a big issue with more clothing making its way into the waste stream.
Did you know a percentage of textile fibers are made up of plastic?
To avoid over production, over consumption & plastic waste in our personal life, you can recycle or donate unwanted clothes at your local textile recycling services/drop off bins.
Buy only what you need, whether clothing, food, or gifts. Donate unwanted clothing to your local church, salvation army or thrift shops!
The new wave of avant-garde minimalism, preys upon the mindset of "less is more" forcing intentionality in everything you do. Focusing on a better-quality lifestyle, less clutter & distraction will improve overall mental stability and efficiency. Minimalistic fashion trends transform the decision-making process in the marketplace creating a more sustainable future for our generations.
Your wallet & mother earth will thank you when you buy made-to-last & built well clothing made with natural fibers. Thrifting for those old trendy jeans is a great option!
6. Always Recycle!
The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it. The moto of Reduce - Reuse - Recycle still works great today!
Reuse & recycle plastic, paper or textile products you already have. Though recycling is not always the most efficient option, it's better to repurpose into industrial products through recycling than to end up in a landfill. Give it your best effort and look into your local recycling facilities!
What is a PPE?
PPE stands for personal protective equipment to decrease exposure to hazardous fluids, made from disposable materials like rubber and fibers made from non-biodegradable plastic. According to Safetec, 69% of discarded PPE ended up on beach shores in England. We all know how Covid-19 changed our lives across the world. But did we stop to consider the long-term impacts of single use plastic for our "health safety"? New plastic production surged during Covid because the cost of new plastic is cheaper than processing recycled plastic for PPE.
"In the UK alone, the NHS was using PPE at an alarming rate, with as many as 748 million items used in hospitals in just a 53-day period at the beginning of the pandemic."
Ever wonder how many single-use Covid masks were thrown away per Year?
"If every person wears a single-use face mask every day for a year, as much as 66,000 tons of unrecyclable plastic waste could be thrown away. This would cause damage to marine ecosystems, as well as pollution of natural resources."
Along with our sustainability guide above, check out how to reduce PPE consumption safely.
For more information on the short-term & long-term effects of PPE damage check out,
“How to Reduce & Dispose of Our PPE Waste More Responsibly”
Do You Feel Empowered?
Now it’s time for you to start applying what you've learned. Don't be shy! We can all make a difference no matter how small. We are all connected, so we are all affected! Don't forget to connect with us on social media for more updates & events in South Florida @youth_environmental_alliance
We would love to hear your feedback! Comment below or email us firstname.lastname@example.org!
Written by Rachel Taylor
A special thanks to Safetec Direct, Co. UK