Early this year, I decided to live a more sustainable and eco-friendly life. This lifestyle is about being mindful of my actions and consuming habits to help decrease the carbon footprint in our environment. Why? Because according to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) we only have 12 years to reverse the problem. We have to limit the global warming to 1.5°C or a half degree rise would worsen the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for millions of people.
“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
Wanna know how I started my journey? Check this link.
The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
So our every action today to save our planet is truly critical to have a safer place for us and for the future of humanity. Here are simple ways to start living a more sustainable and eco friendly life.
- Waste Segregation
This is careful segregation of waste from food, paper, glass, metal and plastic. It requires effort and sometimes patience to do it.
I live in Finland and they have a good regulation of waste disposal. They have at least one designated trash cabin for every building in the country. In some areas, households can be fined if they are not following the rules of segregation.
Bio bags can be given free on supermarkets and most stores have an automated machine to dispose empty plastic bottles and get money from it. They have a particular government organization for waste and water management which can be helpful if you want to start segregating your waste to the next level. Ask your local municipality if they have such organization. And if they don’t, demand for one.
- Bring Your Own Water Bottle and Cutlery
To avoid single use cutleries and water bottles, always bring your own. There are currently a lot of reusable bottles and cutlery in market right now that are readily available. All we have to do is make use of them and carry them anywhere we go. If you don’t want to spend money on cute bottles and cutleries, just check your kitchen and you’ll sure find one.
- Avoid Plastic Straws
In America, almost 500 million straws are being disposed daily. That is too much of a number and too much that it can fill our ocean in the years to come. Have you watched the video of a turtle with a starbucks straw stuck into his nose? Plastic straws affect our wildlife in the ocean.
Try saying no to plastic straws and it is never mean to reject them especially on restaurants. However, if you are a straw lover, there are some alternatives. Bamboo and metal straws are getting popular now and are readily available in the market today.
Most restaurants today already stopped serving plastic straws and replaced it with paper straws. And in 2021, the EU will ban the use of single use plastics. Hooray for the earth!
- Bring reusable bags during grocery shopping
Have a ready reusable grocery bag on your bag. It is a simple habit to learn yet saves a lot of plastics ending up into landfills then to the ocean. You can even reuse plastic bags that you already have to carry your groceries.
In Finland, plastic bags are sold separately. It does not cost much, however, it teaches the community in some way that it is preferable to bring your own bag than to buy one.
- Avoid plastic packaging
This one maybe the most difficult to attain if we really want to go zero waste because almost every item in the shop has plastic packaging, even food come with individual plastic packaging. However, you can check your local shop. They usually sell food items without plastic. Buying from a local market help support small local businesses.
Most toiletries and beauty products come with plastic packaging or plastic bottles. You can avoid this by making your own recipe for beauty cream, toothpaste, mouthwashes, etc. It will save the ocean from plastic packaging and it will keep you from harmful chemicals that usually come from commercialized products.
- Conserve water and electricity
This is another habit that is being taught ever since we were kids. And for some reasons, people are still finding it hard to do. But closing the tap and switching off the lights when not in use isn’t that complicated. This is a habit that is never too late to start.
- Travel Ecologically
Try using the local transportation or use fuel efficient cars. However, walking or biking is still the most efficient ad eco-friendly way of transportation and it is good for you health, too.
The list goes on for ways to help you live an eco-friendly life. But try to start small, simple and at your own pace. Living this kind of lifestyle is not complicated but it can be challenging. Nonetheless, knowing the purpose of this lifestyle can be your driving force to continue and never give up. Were are just mere steward of this beautiful planet and all we have to do is take care of it.
If you have just started living an eco-friendly life or have thought of starting it, well I’m proud of you! You have already taken the first step in taking a stand for our environment. And I hope that this article will help you on your journey.