You might already be familiar with this quote by Dr. Seuss, but it remains one of my favorites. Not only does it hold so much truth and importance, but it’s pertinent now more than ever. In the wake of rising temperatures, increasing natural disasters, and depleting wildlife populations, this call to action isn’t just urgent—it’s necessary.
Here at ISlide, we stand in what we stand for, and one thing that I stand for is protecting our one and only home: Earth. In this time of urgency, it is of utmost importance that we all do whatever we can to help save our planet. It may seem hard to believe, but every single small action really does make a difference.
One of the biggest problems I find is that people tend to think things like, “well it’s not going to make any difference if I do/don’t do this, because I’m just one person.” There’s no denying that there needs to be a larger, systemic change in the way that we do things, but this “kicking the can down the road” mentality where we don’t do anything on an individual level makes NO change at all.
Can you imagine where we’d be if every single person made the small decision to start using reusable water bottles instead of buying single-use plastic ones?
So, in light of this quote by Dr. Seuss and my own personal mission to do what I can to protect our planet, I’ve made a list of 10 small things you can do to live more sustainably and start making a positive change for our earth.
- Stop using single-use plastics
This is SO important and so easy to do. Plastics can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills, if they even make it there in the first place. Most plastics end up in our oceans and kill wildlife like fish and sea turtles who mistake it for food or get caught in it. We are surrounded by so much plastic that it probably seems hard to get away from it, but there are so many great alternatives. Purchase a reusable water bottle instead of buying single-use plastic ones. Not only does this reduce plastic waste, but it also saves you money in the long-run!
- Bring your own bag
Bring reusable cloth tote bags with you whenever you go grocery shopping or clothes shopping to avoid using the stores’ plastic and paper bags. Yes, even paper bags add to the massive amounts of waste in our landfills if they aren’t recycled properly, and when they’re incinerated, they emit harmful toxins into the atmosphere.
- Switch up your toothbrush
Plastic toothbrushes are another horrible culprit of waste—approximately one billion toothbrushes end up in US landfills each year and they take over 400 years to decompose. Opt for bamboo toothbrushes instead, as they are high quality, last just as long as plastic ones, and most importantly, they’re 100% compostable.
- Get yourself a zero-waste kit (or make your own!)
Zero-waste kits are the perfect way to help you reduce your single-use plastic waste. Did you know that plastic utensils can’t be recycled at all? Zero-waste kits usually include a set of reusable bamboo utensils, a metal or bamboo straw, and a reusable cloth napkin. The great thing about these kits is that you can take them with you wherever you go! I’ve been able to use mine for when I’m out and about getting ice cream, buying lunch to go, or getting a coffee, which sets me up perfectly for my next tip…
- Bring your own coffee cup/thermos
Think about all of the people who buy coffee at least once a week or once a day… All of those single-use cups are producing a HUGE amount of waste. And what’s worse is that half of these plastic cups are ending up in the trash rather than the recycling bin and the styrofoam cups can’t even be recycled in the first place. Just like buying your own reusable water bottle, it is just as easy to buy your own reusable coffee cup or thermos to bring with you when you get coffee on the go. Some places even give you a discount for bringing your own cup! Just think about all of the waste you’ll be eliminating from your daily or weekly routine.
This is a given. It’s crazy how much paper I see sitting in the trash bin when the recycling bin is sitting right next to it. Recycling is important because it helps reduce the waste that ends up in landfills, and by extension, reduces pollution caused by that waste releasing harmful chemicals. Recycling also decreases the need for raw materials and helps preserve our forests and rainforests. If you’re unsure of what can/can’t be recycled, do your research and educate yourself so that you can make sure you’re recycling the right way.
- Resell/donate items
Before heading straight to the trash, think about reselling or donating an item that you no longer need or use. From clothes and shoes to furniture and books, there are always people, charities, and consignment stores looking for donations.
- Use your car as little as possible
It’s well known by now that the fossil fuels emitted by all the cars and trucks we drive are a big contributor to air pollution. When first buying a car, try to opt for a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Carpool as much as possible or choose to walk or bike if your destination is close by. You can also look into public transit options in your area like buses or commuter rails to reduce your amount of individual driving.
- Cut back on meat
This doesn’t mean that you have to commit to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, but simply cutting back on the amount of meat you eat can drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock production requires a lot of energy and resources, not to mention the fact that cows produce significant amounts of methane through their gas… Cutting back on the hamburgers and steak is not only healthier for the planet, but it’s also healthier for you!
- Buy and eat local
Choose to purchase your food from local farms and farmers’ markets as much as possible. It takes a large amount of fossil fuels to transport all the global products we see on our supermarket shelves, so buying food that’s produced near you helps cut back on carbon emissions. Plus, buying locally helps support our farmers and provides us with fresh, delicious produce!
Our action and care for our planet is needed now more than ever and making these kinds of small changes to your lifestyle can have a monumental impact. Show your support for protecting our planet by standing in what you stand for.