Every day, greenhouse gases are being emitted and plastic waste is being dumped into landfills and the oceans. As a result, both wildlife and vegetation are suffering. As the ocean becomes more acidic, fish and seabirds are dying by the droves. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it is estimated that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
While it is corporations and governments who can make the largest policy changes, there are things you and I can do as well. Here are some simple ideas to help protect and preserve our planet.
1. Plastic Clean Up
The simplest way to keep our beaches and natural areas clean is to treat them as your responsibility. Every time you are out walking, pick up the plastic that you see lying around. This will also serve as a great example to anyone you are with to do the same. To go a step further, see if there are any plastic clean ups taking place in your community. If not, consider organizing one yourself with friends and volunteers.
2. Support a Conservation Organization
Want to help in even bigger ways? Seek out a conservation organization that aligns with your beliefs and see how you can get involved. Some well-known organizations include the WWF, Oceana, and the Environmental Defense Fund. You might be able to volunteer to go on a trip with them, or purchase products like wildlife conservation jewelry that will support their cause.
3. Choose Eco-Friendly Products
When it comes to shopping, making conscious decisions with everything you buy is key to living a sustainable lifestyle. There are lots of companies that care about the environment and use eco-friendly materials in their products — all you have to do is pay attention. If you are in the market for a new surfboard, for example, look for one made of environmentally-friendly materials like sugarcane or natural wood from a forest that is sustainable. Shopping secondhand is another great option. Do your research about what products are made of; the app Good on You is a great tool.
4. Scale Back Your Travel Plans
Airplanes account for approximately 2.5% of global carbon emissions in addition to creating other problems for the environment. To reduce a massive addition to your carbon footprint every time you fly, consider traveling closer to home. If you do fly overseas, stay for longer than you normally would and travel locally there, rather than flying somewhere new every month. Bike, take public transportation or walk wherever possible. When you are driving, remember that hybrid cars and fuel efficient cars are the best and that carpooling is better than driving alone.
5. Offset Your Carbon Emissions
While it’s best to reduce your carbon emissions and not have to offset them in the first place, there are ways of reducing your footprint by eliminating some of the carbon you have created. The best way to offset is actually the simplest: plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, so by planting more of them, you are helping fight against climate change and making the world healthier and more beautiful in the process.