Since agriculture started, the Earth has lost about 20% of its animal biodiversity. Moreover, approximately half of its terrestrial plants have since disappeared. And if no intervention occurs, up to a million plant and animal species could go extinct soon.
There’s also climate change, which has affected around 80% of the Earth’s land area. It’s contributing to more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves, and storms. It’s also causing sea ice to melt, leading to rising sea levels and displacing wildlife.
All those scary facts should be enough to prompt you to help save the environment.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do, most of which are easy to incorporate into your daily life. Below we rounded up the best eco-friendly practices you can start doing today, so keep reading.
1. Reduce Your Resource Consumption
One of the best ways to save the environment is to minimize the need to harvest new or raw materials. After all, extracting and processing raw materials negatively impact the environment by:
- Degrading the soil
- Consuming massive amounts of energy and water
- Emitting greenhouse gases (GHG) and pollutants
- Disrupting biodiversity
- Damaging ecosystems
- Exacerbating global warming and climate change
Let’s use the pulp and paper industry as an example; it uses 33% to 40% of globally traded industrial wood yearly. With such high usage, it’s no wonder it’s causing deforestation. In addition, manufacturing these products requires lots of energy and water.
So, reducing paper consumption, such as going digital, can help minimize the need to cut trees. For the same reason, it minimizes energy and water usage. All that also results in lower GHG and pollutant emissions.
2. Reuse or Repurpose Materials Whenever Possible
Reusing and repurposing items can help save Earth, too, as they also reduce the need for new materials. Moreover, these practices prevent more waste from ending in landfills and emitting GHGs. Plus, they can help you save since you don’t have to spend more money buying new stuff.
Examples of items you can reuse are eco-bags, glass jars, and fabric containers. You can also repurpose or upcycle old clothes, wood or plastic furniture, and metal.
Consider buying used items, too, which are cheaper than their brand-new counterparts. By taking ownership of these second-hand products, you can keep them out of landfills.
3. Recycle Stuff Instead of Binning Them
Recycling helps save the Earth by reducing the need to extract and process raw materials. In addition, it reduces the amount of trash that winds up in landfills and incinerators. It also requires much fewer resources than mining or refining virgin materials.
Let’s use the manufacturing of new products with recycled aluminum cans as an example. Such a process uses at least 90% less energy than producing new aluminum with virgin bauxite.
4. Refuse Non-Eco-Friendly Products
Non-eco-friendly products can be anything from single-use plastic to disposable items. They can also come from companies that don’t participate in fair trade. Fair trading is a practice that helps producers become more equitable and sustainable.
So, as much as possible, say no to products or brands that are doing the environment more bad than good. For instance, refuse offers for single-use straws or plastic bags. You might also want to consider switching to fair trade-certified companies.
5. Rely More on Renewable Energy
Renewable energy, including solar, wind, and biomass, now costs less than fossil fuels. That should be enough incentive to make the switch so you can start going green.
Solar is the best option for your abode, as its technology is more accessible to homeowners. For starters, solar panels let you generate your very own electricity at home. That’s also how solar helps you save on energy bills while being eco-friendly.
With solar, you use the sun’s power to generate energy or electricity. Such a process doesn’t produce GHGs or pollutants because it doesn’t involve combustion.
Solar does have a carbon footprint, but mainly from the production of its equipment. Still, these components last for decades before the end of their life cycle.
Moreover, most materials used in solar energy systems are recoverable, recyclable, and reusable. These include glass, aluminum, copper, and plastic. Experts are also studying how to reuse panels to give them a second chance to generate clean energy.
6. Resist Driving When You Can
The transportation sector in the U.S. accounted for 27% of the nation’s GHG emissions in 2020. After all, about 90% of the energy sources it uses (i.e., gasoline and diesel) come from petroleum, a fossil fuel.
Therefore, the more you drive, the more gas or diesel you use, and the more GHGs you contribute to the atmosphere.
For the same reason, it’s time to consider alternatives, such as walking or cycling. Besides, both are better for your health, as they’re forms of physical activity.
7. Remodel Your Home for Energy Efficiency
An energy-efficient home consumes much less energy than its non-efficient counterpart. Hence, the former emits fewer GHGs since it uses less energy and electricity.
For example, a properly air-sealed, insulated home can reduce energy costs by about 11%. Air sealing and insulation can save energy by reducing air leaks, heat gains, and heat losses. Those three, in turn, contribute to spikes in heating and cooling costs.
So, when remodeling your home, prioritize sealing air leaks and adding insulation.
You can also fix your windows with caulk or weatherstripping. Alternatively, you can upgrade them by installing thermal control films. Choose either or both instead of replacing your windows in their entirety.
Doing so eliminates air leaks and minimizes heat gains and losses in windows. Moreover, fixing or upgrading them reduces your waste material production.
Another excellent idea is to replace non-energy-efficient components with energy-efficient ones. For instance, you can switch out old incandescent bulbs with LED lights. LED products use at least 75% less energy than incandescent ones and last longer.
Also, invest in ENERGY STAR products if you plan to replace outdated appliances. These certified products meet the U.S. EPA’s stringent energy efficiency guidelines. As a result, they use much less energy and, thus, have smaller carbon footprints.
Help Save the Environment Today
As you can see, there are many things you can do to help save the environment. From reducing resource use to going solar and even walking, all these can help preserve Earth.
So, why not start your journey today as a greener consumer? The sooner you do, the sooner you can do your part in helping mitigate global warming.
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