by Jonathan Zaidman, guest contributor
Sure, buying a Prius, shopping at Whole Foods, and making your own clothes out of potato sacks are great ways to change the world for the better, but there are many quick and easy things we can all do to make just as big of an impact.
Our diet is inextricably tied to our community and culture, which makes it hard make personal changes. A fun and easy way to reduce your food waste is to visit you local farmer’s market. Make a social event out of it, grab some brunch, and pick up organic, locally grown produce for the week.
Water is a crucial resource for everyone (not just for those living in California where there is a drought). Of course, decreasing your shower time is a great way to reduce water usage, but we don’t often think of the hidden water costs of many day-to-day actions. If you ask me, the best way to save water is to cut down on meat consumption. Did you know that 1 pound of beef requires approximately the same amount of water as showering for 6 months?
Here’s something else we never think about: American’s use 500 million plastic straws...PER DAY! We all know about reusable bags and bottles but even then we have to buy them and remember to bring them with us. An even simpler way to reduce unnecessary waste is to say “no straw please” next time you’re at a bar or restaurant.
We’ve all heard “turn off the lights when you leave the room” since we were learning to walk, but how about unplugging our electronics when not in use? Your phone charger that’s plugged into the wall while you’re out of the house...yep, that’s still drawing energy. If you don’t want to unplug your electronics, just plug them all into power strips and hit the off button when you’re not using them.
Public transit, carpooling, or biking are all important factors in the quest for more sustainable transit, but how about asking for a remote work day once a week? If your work commute is 10 miles, you’d save over 100 gallons of gas per year.
But do you want to hear the real secret? We can’t tell you how to live more sustainably. You have to find the way that works for you. So figure out what you care about, what sounds feasible, and what works, and try it out for a few weeks. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so make sure to stick with it.
Jonathan Zaidman is the Executive Director for 1to1 Movement (1to1movement.org) which is a San Diego-based environmental non-profit organization. They work to make sustainability more accessible through engaging and interactive educational programming, campaigns, and events.
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