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How to become more environmentally-friendly?

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

act now!

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!

2. Recycle

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!

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