To protect our environment and be more sustainable, we can make small strides to adapt our lifestyle to be more conscious of the environment around us. Not everything depends on us, a lot of things are out of our control. What we can do is manage our own sphere of influence in a sense that lowers our environmental impact. A lot boils down to education and awareness.
For example, did you know that 1 lb of meat on average uses 1600 gallons of water? Consume less meat. In fact, if I was someone looking to decrease their environmental impact I’d definitely start by reducing and then eliminating meat and dairy from my diet. It’s the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the environment. Then, save water, avoid plastic bags, grow your own produce.
Yes, growing a garden is key because it breaks you out of the supply chain you are dependent on and gives you an awareness boost. Also, put a compost bin in your garden so you can recycle your food scraps and set up a recycle bin in your house.
As previously said, it is all a matter of education and awareness.
You learn by asking questions and researching information on topics that concern you. If you don’t know you can’t act.
For example, I recently started getting concerned about the impact of my clothing habits. Have you thought that using second hand clothes is good for the environment and also helps poorer economies? As result I started spending more on second hand clothes and thrift shops.
The whole idea is to not be part of consumerism, learn how to budget your money well and that has a surprising effect on what you’re are willing to spend your money on. This will also lead you to reduce waste and living a low waste lifestyle.
This brings us to the last and most important part, the importance of being a conscious consumer. The number one power we as individuals have to reduce our environmental impact and respond to climate change is through our purchasing choices. Yes, this means we need to be more conscious of our choices as consumers and support companies who make it their mission to work with the environment, not against it.
Buy bars of soap instead of dispensers. Don’t buy lunch out, take lunch out in a reusable container instead. Don’t buy bottled drinks. Use bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones. These little things add up and create a strong incentive for other companies to be environmentally friendly.
Then remember that zero impact is the goal but not possible in our current society, at least not for now. I’m not a chemist or engineer, so there are some things I cannot do on my own. Also there are some products that are a lot cheaper in plastic bags than bought in bulk, in those cases you may opt to recycle the plastic bags.
In the end the question you have to ask yourself is, how much waste have you removed from the waste stream? Even 20% less compared to your pre-waste reduction efforts makes a difference. Just focus on doing things that make the biggest impact, because there are plenty of things we can do.