By Martin Onufrowicz
In the past few years, we have been hit with a harsh reality check. The way we have been
treating the planet we live on has been far from respectful and resulted in a drastic increase
of global warming that is already starting to cause natural catastrophes all around the
world, such as floods, wildfires, extreme weather or crop failure. The impending climate
crisis became a particularly big subject last year, thanks to organizations like Extinction
Rebellion, who in their worldwide protests have been adamant in their message: we have to
It is certainly daunting to try to substantially change our lifestyles, but speaking quite
frankly, we might not have a choice. Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist that has
been nominated for her efforts for the Nobel Peace Prize, said in her TIME magazine
interview: “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a
tomorrow.” And although we need to change our damaging behaviors as soon as possible,
it’s important to not set for ourselves impossible to achieve goals and feel awful when we
don’t succeed in fulfilling them. Instead, let’s start by implementing small changes in our
everyday lives and share our knowledge with the people around us. Here are some ideas for
how you can change your daily habits and become more environmentally-friendly:
1. Keep it local
This rule can be applied to many purchases we make, from produce to material goods.
Buying things that have been produced locally means that less carbon has been emitted
while delivering the goods to the place you have bought them from. It’s also a great way
to support small local businesses!
Recycling can be a challenge as confusing as completing a Sunday crossword in The New
York Times, but also equally fulfilling when done right. As every region has its own rules
regarding recycling, it’s important to take initiative and find out about the regulations in
your area. However, some things are pretty universal: always read the information on
the packaging that you’re throwing away (some plastics are not yet able to be recycled),
rinse the box or bottle with water before putting it in the bin and never put the items
into the bin in plastic bags, as they severely slow down the process of sorting later on.
3. Say no to single-use
Single-use packaging is an issue that you will come across in countless situations in your
daily life: while ordering your morning coffee, getting food on your lunch break, or
during your weekly shop at the grocery store. A good way to significantly reduce the
amount of plastic and paper we waste is to invest in their reusable equivalents: bring
our own KeepCup to the coffee shop (which often also results in a very welcome
discount), carry a water bottle made of glass or stainless steel that can be easily refilled
throughout the day and always try to remember to bring canvas bags with you when
you’re going shopping.
4. Eat less meat
It is no secret that switching to a plant-based diet is the most sustainable approach to
take when it comes to eating habits, as the production of red meat is a huge source of
carbon emissions. However, refusing it altogether can be a challenge for some.
Therefore, a good place to start is trying to reduce eating it to two/three times a week,
choosing to eat white meat instead and buying organic meat as much as it’s possible.
5. Consume less altogether
Excessive consumption that has been for years encouraged in capitalist societies is one
of the main reasons that we are dealing with a climate crisis in the first place. Therefore,
a great amount of change can be achieved if you decide to only make well-considered
and informed purchases in your day-to-day life. Also, try to repair or fix the items you
already own (whether it’s clothes, furniture, or electrical appliances) before deciding to
buy something new to replace it. After all, there is nothing that a YouTube tutorial can’t
help you salvage!