How to Incorporate Sustainability into Daily Life
As we feel the effects of climate change more and more, it can be difficult to know how to take action. To face the climate crisis, we need change and action at an institutional, systemic level. However there are accessible, everyday actions individuals can take to make an impact now. Here are a few ways to incorporate sustainability into daily life:
Food and nutrition: We’ve all heard the refrain to “eat more fruits and vegetables”. It turns out, plant-based diets are not only healthy, but have a lower environmental impact! A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates processed food and meats (chiefly red meat, and especially beef) have high environmental impact, up to 100 times greater than plant-based food. Reducing meat and processed food intake is also good for human health. The following food groups are correlated with positive effects on human health and reduced environmental impact:
- Whole Grains
- Olive Oil
To read the study, click here.
Consumption: Shopping secondhand not only saves you money, it pays dividends in lessened environmental footprint. Rather than hitting the mall or Amazon, try frequenting your local thrift store or consignment shop for a stylish new outfit, furniture, or housewares. Studies have shown this is a growing trend among environmentally conscious Gen Z and millennial consumers.
The clothing and textile industry has the second largest carbon footprint in the world, right under the oil industry. The United Nations puts the fashion industry at 20 percent of water waste, 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and found that 85 percent of reusable textiles are landfilled or incinerated.
Energy Use: Turning off the light when you aren’t in a room, and being conscious of your power usage are obvious ways to reduce your utility bill and environmental impact. Below are other ways to save money and further reduce consumption:
- Light bulbs: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests using ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs to reduce energy consumption by 70- 90 percent. Click here to learn more.
- Unplug household items when they aren’t in use to reduce what some call “vampire power”, which account for 4.6 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. according to a New York Times article. That represents 44 million tons of carbon dioxide. Leaving your toaster, coffee maker and phone charger unplugged when they aren’t in use is a great way to save money and cut down on your carbon footprint!