Many of our friends, family, and tribe members at Good Food for Good are worried about what is happening with our planet’s environment, but aren’t sure what they can do to help. Isn’t it up to the big polluting companies to clean this up?
The problem is, it will take a lot more than the companies to make a change. In fact, unless everyone changes the way we live, we won’t reduce air emissions, water pollution, or land degradation enough for our ecosystems to stay intact. This article from Columbia University’s Climate School says that the actions we take in our own households puts pressure on companies and governments to make serious changes, for example by creating new regulations or by changing the way they manufacture and transport goods.
That sounds like a tall order, but there are easy places to start.
Firstly, It’s helpful to know some facts about climate change, so you can understand the impact that your daily life activities have on the planet. Some concerns for our environment and climate are:
- Air pollution
These are gases that are released into the atmosphere and warm up the ambient air, which then heats up our planet. Some also leave particles in the air that we breathe in – which is gross! Most gas emissions come from vehicles, landfill, industry, and some electricity sources. Carbon dioxide emissions, or “carbon emissions”, are a leading cause of air pollution. Read more at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/air-pollution/
- Water pollution and shortage
Toxic substances released into wastewater, that contaminate the water or change the acidity of it. This destroys habitat for fish and reduces the amount of clean water available to support animals, humans, crops, and ecosystems that support healthy lives. Read more at https://www.nrdc.org/stories/water-pollution-everything-you-need-know
- Land pollution
Decreasing quality and availability of fertile soil to plant healthy crops and support human and animal life. Land degradation actually causes the release of carbon into the atmosphere, causing more air pollution! Leading causes of land pollution are pesticide use, toxic substances, and housing or industrial development. Climate disasters exacerbate land degradation, too. Find out more at https://www.thegef.org/topics/land-degradation
Now that you know a few ways that the planet is being affected, here are some easy ways that you can take action!
- Eat organic when possible – pesticides used in conventional farming not only pollutes the land but also the water.
- Learn to cook seasonal ingredients you’re unfamiliar with – prevents inefficient use of valuable land and water resources that is increasingly at a premium.
- Eat more plants – plants have a much smaller carbon footprint than animal based food.
- Cut down food waste by buying what you need, storing properly, using as much of the vegetable or fruit as possible i.e. with skin or leaves and compost food waste to avoid food from entering landfill and emitting methane.
- Replace a few cups of coffee with tea – Tea uses about 5 times less water to produce than Coffee. You also use a lot less tea when making a cup 1tsp vs 2Tbsp per cup of coffee.
- Reduce consumption of items that are not necessary. Reduce is the first R in the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and yet we tend to rely mostly on Recycle. Every new item produced uses finite resources.
- Reuse wherever possible, whether it’s a glass jar or buying second hand clothing from a thrift store.
- Wear clothes longer before washing them (especially jeans, they’re great at hiding dirt!) and wash in cold water – prevents wasteful water use and reduces energy use, which reduces air emissions depending on where your energy comes from.
- Take shorter showers
- Use re-usable containers or wrap for food storage – lowering use of single-use plastic reduces reliance on fossil fuels (an industry that creates a lot of emissions and land degradation!). It also reduces landfill waste, another source of air and land pollution.
- Ride a bike, walk, skateboard, dance, or do a home workout instead of going to the gym a few times a week – cuts down on the amount of electricity needed by workout machines, heating and lighting at the gym. Plus, it’s free or almost free, especially if you find a second-hand bike or board!
- Add renewable electricity and heating to your home energy source – reduces air, land and water pollution from energy use. Check out Bullfrog power or look up a local provider on the internet.
- Turn the temperature down 2 degrees at home (and get 100% cotton, yarn, or second-hand blankets!) – reduces pollution from energy use.
- Set a limit on the number of flights you take (and familiarize yourself with vacations closer to home!) – reduces a lot of air emissions, because planes emit a lot of carbon dioxide to get through the air quickly and comfortably.
- Calculate your carbon footprint – this refers to the amount of air emissions you create through your daily lifestyle. Check out https://www.climatecare.org/calculator/ to know how polluting your lifestyle is!
- Support organizations that are taking action.
After all it’s not the planet that is in danger, its mankind’s existence on this planet that is at stake.Hope you found some of these tips helpful and they inspire you to make small changes that can have a big impact.