Whether we realize it or not, our everyday actions have huge impacts on our environment. In an article by Leon Billings and Thomas Jorling, senior staff members on the Senate environment subcommittee, they rightly state, “Today, there is a widely accepted science that proves climate pollution will alter how our planet functions so as to change the volume of water in our oceans, wipe out a significant number of nature’s creatures, change disease vectors and alter the temperature of the earth. Overwhelmingly, the science is in and is indisputable, even though the fossil fuel industry belittles it.”
It’s true, even though the facts are in front of us, accepting environmental accountability is often shirked in lieu of money, comfort and even laziness. As millennials however, and the inheritors of our planet, it is our responsibility to make the right decisions in terms of preserving our environment.
Contrary to popular belief, being environmentally conscious in everyday life doesn’t require radical change. When I tell people this, I can see them trying not to roll their eyes, with thoughts like “ Like I’m going to give up my everyday comforts and become a tree-huggin’ hippie” running through their head.
The truth is, you don’t have to. Even the smallest actions you take can make a difference. Here, I’ve listed 5 easy steps (related to millennial lifestyle) that you can incorporate into your routine to make your everyday life more sustainable.
Don’t use plastic
Plastic is a known evil, that everyone is guilty of using at some point or another. As an avid scuba diver, I’ve seen tons and tons of plastic covering ocean surfaces, getting stuff in reefs and then resulting in the deaths of many marine organisms. Let me tell you, it’s not pretty.
Try cutting down your plastic usage by using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping, filling water in reusable bottles rather than one time use plastic bottles and choose items that have less plastic packaging. These easy steps you take can actually end up having a huge impact.
Your carbon footprint can be significantly reduced if you make slight changes to your everyday driving habits. Whenever possible, walk, bicycle or use public transportation. Familiarize yourself with any safety aspects related to being a cyclist, or even a driver that has to share the road with cyclists so as to promote sustainable traveling.
When you’re out and about for errands, try to do a little organizing ahead of time so that your errands are grouped together, rather than making multiple separate trips.
Use environmentally friendly products
There are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to buying anything these days. Often, we pick the cheapest option without really thinking about the process involved in manufacturing the products we purchase. It’s important to start looking at the labels on products so as to choose the most environmentally friendly option.
For example, try to buy Fair Trade certified food to support companies that believe in sustainable production and paying fair wages. Organic food is also a great option as it keeps harmful pesticides away, and is healthier for you and your family. Check the labels on soaps and shampoos and opt for items that haven’t been tested on animals, and don’t use illegally or unethically sourced ingredients.
Work from home when possible
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Today, a lot of millennials have a degree of freedom and flexibility when it comes to their everyday jobs. With everything being hyperconnected, it’s easy to work remotely, and be as productive even when not working directly from the office. Telecommuting does wonders for our surroundings, as it eliminates travel.
Also, it promotes better use of the world’s limited resources. In an article about the Internet of Things creating a hyperconnected world, Unit 4 states, “Happy and healthy human well-being depends on changing resource consumption through renewable energy sources, better food production methods and a reduction in emissions” and they couldn’t be more correct.
One of the benefits of being able to live in this sort of world is our ability to be virtually accessible anywhere, and simultaneously reduce our impact.
Commit to spending some time every week to get involved in your community’s conservation efforts. This doesn’t have to be a lot of time – I understand that you have your own life too, but taking out a small amount of time shouldn’t hamper your schedule too much!
Going to community meetings will keep you updated on current efforts, and give you a platform to speak about any ideas you might want to initiate. You could also try participating in cleanup drives, or awareness rallies with friends and family, making this a fun bonding activity and a meaningful way to spend a day off.
Finally, speak up for conservation, and encourage your loved one to live sustainably too – this doesn’t require much effort, but can make a big difference.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to live a more sustainable life as a millennial. The few things I’ve outlined are easy to execute, and won’t change your life in many ways, but WILL benefit your surroundings.