When thinking about climate change, it can feel overwhelming trying to understand what we can do as individuals to improve the current state. With all of the ecological crises we hear about, an individual action may seem like a drop in a bucket. However, if each one of us can start making small but consistent changes in our daily lives, together we can contribute to a positive global impact.
If you want to live more sustainably and you don’t know where to start, below are five small changes that can make a big difference:
1. Use reusable alternatives
Swap your single-use items and plastics for reusable ones. This can include cotton or hemp shopping and produce bags, reusable coffee mugs, reusable water bottles, metal straws, and glass food containers.
2. Go vegan or vegetarian once a week
One of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions is intensive livestock farming. Opting for a plant-based diet can not only boost your health with more vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but also significantly reduces your carbon footprint. When you do eat meat, look for local and sustainable options.
3. Drive less
If you can walk to your destination, leave your car at home. If you live in a bike-friendly city, consider biking to work for your daily commute. More exercise and less carbon emissions is a win-win.
4. Buy for quality or second hand & shop local
Increased production and consumption is a huge issue, and it spans across all industries. This includes consumer goods like clothing, furniture, technology, etc. It will likely cost you more upfront, though it is better to have fewer items that will last you longer and that you can reuse over and over.
Look into the brands you support and their practices. How do they source materials? What are the labor conditions? How do they approach waste? Choose those that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
Shopping local not only promotes the local economy but supports small businesses. This can reduce carbon emissions related to trade and the transportation of goods.
4. Conserve water
A seemingly simple one but it can be easy to forget! These new habits can include taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, and using leftover drinking water for your plants.
Invest in these small, ethical changes for yourself and for the planet. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”