According to BBC News, 2014 was the warmest year on record, further proving that our climate is changing. And according to NASA, 97 percent of scientists believe that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet. Which means that humans have a responsibility to improve the environment. Improving the environment can seem like an overwhelming task, but there are simple things everyone can do on a daily basis to decrease their negative environmental impact.
Use alternative transportation
An average car emits about 35 pounds of carbon dioxide every day, which is about 10 percent of the total global carbon emission, According to Responsible Travel Report.
Reducing carbon emissions is an easy way to decrease your environmental impact. If you work or attend school close by, ride a bike or walk. Biking on your commute also knocks out your daily exercise, making you healthier and less stressed.
You can also check with your employer or workplace and see if there’s anyone who wants to start a carpool or if they already have.
If you live farther away, see if there is a bus or train that you can take. Some cities also have a subway system. Sometimes these can make your commute longer, but think of it as extra work time. You can send emails or make calls on your cell phone. Or you can use this for personal time. Read a book or start the novel you’ve been wanting to write.
Turn the light off when you leave a room
Lighting makes up about 15 percent of the average Americans’ electricity bill, so not only would turning off the lights when you leave a room help save the environment, it would also save you money.
You can also get more energy efficient lightbulbs. Incandescent light bulbs spend 90 percent of their energy on heat and only 10 percent goes towards creating light. Halogen lights are slightly more efficient and CFLs are much more efficient.
In 2009, the average American threw away three pounds of garbage per day and only recycled 34 percent of their waste. That statistic has not changed much over the years.
Recycling eliminates waste that gets sent to a landfill. Many apartment complexes have recycle bins somewhere on the premises and cities usually contract out a company to collect your recyclables and take them to a factory to be properly broken down and recycled.
You can also recycle on your own. Use milk jugs or plastic bottles as a vase or reuse shoe boxes as storage.
Don’t leave the water running
Take short showers, do not leave the water running while shaving or brushing your teeth and only use the water that is necessary when you’re washing dishes. Water your plants and lawn sparingly.
Taking cold showers saves money and wakes you up in the morning. According to National Geographic, using a dishwasher is much more water efficient than hand washing dishes. On average, you lose 10 gallons of water per day to leaks.
Water is a valuable resource, and clean water is something everyone around the world needs, so be smart with your water use.
Use a reusable water bottle
Even though plastic water bottles are generally recyclable, 88 percent of them end up in landfills. Bottled water is not federally certified and oftentimes is not any better than tap water. Bottled water costs more per gallon and making the bottles also has a negative impact on the environment.
If everyone used a reusable bottle, 26 million plastic bottles could be saved from the landfills every year.
Get a reusable bottle. Rinse it once a day, wash it once a week. Bring it to work, to school, to the gym. Fill it up at the water cooler, at the sink, at a water fountain. Get one with a cool design or in a cool color. Decorate it. Add stickers. Make it yours. It’s fun and good for the environment.