Have you ever encountered someone who doesn’t believe in climate change or isn’t concerned about the plastic floating around in our oceans? While someone’s negative outlook can definitely be a damper on your day, we’re here to remind you that even the tiniest seeds can grow into mighty forests. So don’t let a negative opinion get in the way of you doing your part for the planet!
Small acts of environmental stewardship are a fantastic way to make a difference over time. If you’re open to learning new ways to fight climate change and work towards a greener future, check out our long list below to learn new ways that you can help the environment this year!
1. LEARN HOW TO STORE PRODUCE
Do you ever feel a pang of regret when you have to toss out that wilting bag of spring mix or the lemons you could have sworn you bought only a few days ago? Taking the time to learn how to properly store your fresh produce so that it lasts longer will benefit both nature and your wallet, as it can help you to reduce waste!
2. KEEP PLASTIC OUT OF THE KITCHEN
Plastic cutlery, straws, cling wrap and sandwich bags can all be swapped out for reusable and eco-friendly alternatives. Bamboo utensils, metal straws, beeswax wraps and silicone sandwich bags are all great options that will help divert plastic from landfills.
3. UTILIZE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Taking advantage of city bikes, buses, subways, trains and streetcars can help minimize carbon emissions. Where to begin? Before ordering a cab or hopping into your own car, see if you’re able to take public transit instead — especially for long commutes or non-urgent errands.
4. ONLY WASH THE ESSENTIALS
Each load of laundry can use up to 20 gallons of water per load. To cut down on water usage, save laundry day for washing the essentials. This means tossing your sweaty gym clothes and undergarments in the bin, but keeping the denim jeans or sweatshirt that you wore for only a few hours.
5. UNPLUG ENERGY SUCKERS
Certain electronics such as laptop chargers, speakers, game consoles and printers can suck up energy when they’re plugged in but not in use. To minimize this, simply unplug your electronics or use a smart power strip to easily turn off multiple electronics at once when you’re not using them.
6. START MEAL PREPPING
Prepping your meals ahead of time is a simple way that you can easily reduce food waste. Try reserving some time each Sunday for cooking and meal-prepping and see how planning your meals ahead can have a positive impact on your mood, your health, your wallet and the planet!
7. FIX BROKEN ITEMS INSTEAD OF TOSSING THEM
These days it’s more common to replace items that we’ve broken instead of getting them fixed. From kitchen appliances to clothes and furniture, call the mechanic or seamstress before clicking “add to cart”. Fixing or repairing your broken items will help extend their life!
8. MAKE A SUSTAINABLE PERIOD PRODUCT SWAP
It’s pretty easy to use an excessive amount of plastic during that time of the month! Using silicone menstrual cups, reusable cotton pads, period undies and compostable wipes can all help reduce the plastic that is thrown into the bin during your period.
9. DO A CLOSET DEEP CLEAN
Take an hour (or two) to clean out your closets and make a donation pile for the items that you don’t use anymore. Clothes, shoes, jackets and jewelry in good condition can all be donated to local charities or secondhand shops that divert waste in landfills.
10. USE RENEWABLE ENERGY
There are many ways that you can incorporate renewable energy into your lifestyle. Driving an electric vehicle, signing up for solar panels, sourcing a green energy provider and swapping in LED light bulbs are just a few great ways to green up your energy usage.
11. BE AN ACTIVIST IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Believe it or not, you don’t need a large following to be an environmental activist! Educating yourself through research, attending peaceful protests, donating money and reaching out to your local political representatives are all great ways to be an eco-activist in your community
12. CONDUCT A TRASH AUDIT
Conducting a simple trash audit for a whole week can help you understand just how much garbage you’re producing. Record your trash each day and when the week is up, take note of where you could improve and ask yourself if you could make any sustainable swaps to reduce trash.
13. GET INSPIRED BY CHANGEMAKERS
Many eco-activists provide a wealth of knowledge through websites, documentaries and books. Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, Paul Hawken and Greta Thunberg are all fantastic environmental activists that you can learn from.
14. GO PAPERLESS WHEN POSSIBLE
Digital options for bank statements, newspapers, magazines and tickets are available for those who prefer to go paperless. There are also many online resources that you can use to remove your name from mailing lists. Reducing the paper in your mailbox is an easy way to save trees!
15. VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
Volunteering at local eco-restoration events is a great way to expand your social circle, get active and of course, help the environment! Ready to get your hands in the dirt? Check out our volunteers page to sign up for a tree planting event near you!
16. MAKE A DONATION
If you’re unable to volunteer your time, consider swapping out that takeout latte for a homemade one and donating the difference to one of our many tree planting initiatives plant a tree that will help the environment for generations to come!
17. DITCH THE DAIRY
Did you know that swapping out the milk in your morning cereal can have a positive environmental impact? Reach for plant-based alternatives such as oat or soy milks that require less land, water and emissions for production.
18. CHANGE BAD HABITS
Do you keep the water running when you brush your teeth, or your car idling when you run into a store? You’re not alone, but try to change your habits and take note of the little things that you can do to save energy or reduce carbon emissions.
19. LEAD THE NEXT GENERATION
You don’t need to be a teacher to educate youth on climate change and sustainability! Watch educational documentaries, read books and discuss important environmental topics with your kids or young relatives to teach them how they can work towards a greener future and make a positive impact.
20. BE WATER CONSCIOUS
You may already know that taking shorter showers, reducing laundry loads and hand washing dishes can all help save on water usage. But did you know that reducing meat consumption also reduces water usage? Swap out your burger for a grain bowl the next time you’d like to make an eco-friendly choice!
21. INVEST IN GREEN ENERGY
Put your money where your mouth is and invest in a greener future! You can do this by buying renewable energy stocks from companies that use wind, solar and hydroelectric sources. With the world moving away from carbon-based fossil fuels, investing in clean energy is a wise move for your portfolio and the planet.
22. HOLD BRANDS ACCOUNTABLE
If you’ve noticed that your favorite brands have unsustainable business practices, you can help change their ways! When enough people show their desire for eco-friendly solutions, brands are more likely to consider them to keep their customers happy. Don’t be afraid to send out that email and start a conversation!
We hope these mindful tips will encourage you to make conscious actions towards helping the environment this year! Just want to plant a tree? Choose where your trees are planted today!
*Article by One Tree Planted (www.onetreeplanted.com)