Ten ways to stay environmentally friendly

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Amelia Burton

Looking for a way to be more environmentally friendly? Here are ten tips to get you started!

Over the years, there has been a rising concern about the dangers of climate change. From the Australian bush fires to rising temperatures in the Arctic, it is important that we become more environmentally aware. Here are ten ways you can be more environmentally friendly.

1) Throw out those plastic straws

You probably wouldn’t think that a straw could be so harmful to the environment, but it is. It is especially dangerous because they end up in the ocean so easily. Since their shape is small and thin, it can easily break down into smaller plastic particles which can then find it’s way into the stomachs of aquatic animals. Instead of using plastic straws, invest in reusable ones.

2) Trade plastic bags for reusable ones

Plastic bags are littered all the time and more times than not, plastic bags end up somewhere in the ocean. In Maryland, plastic bags are taxed at stores to preserve the Chesapeake. Plastic bags can be extremely harmful to aquatic animals as they can get stuck in them or even digest them which prevents them from digesting their food correctly. Even worse, plastic bags take decades to decompose. Instead, carry a reusable bag whenever you go shopping. Most of the time they can carry more and are practical.

3) Replace your toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush

You would never think that your toothbrush, something you use every day, could end up in the ocean, but it does. Practically anything made of plastic can. Toothbrushes take even longer to decompose, so a good alternative is bamboo toothbrushes. The handles are compostable and companies make great efforts to ensure that their packaging is as well.

4) Buy from brands that are more eco-friendly

If you didn’t know, most well-known and popular name brands aren’t eco-friendly. Instead of supporting brands who aren’t actively advocating to make a difference in the environment, support other companies that are. Look at the packaging of the product, they often have certain labels that show if they are cruelty-free or eco-friendly. It doesn’t hurt to do your research as well. A quick internet search can tell you a lot about a brand.

5) Eat less meat

I know this can be a hard one for many of us, but consuming smaller portions of meat never hurt anybody. Livestock, especially cows, is just one of many factors that release carbon emissions. By eating smaller portions you are helping reduce the carbon footprint. So, the next time you’re hungry, choose as something other than meat.

6) Carpool

If you and your friends go to the same school or work at the same place, carpool with each other (just make sure to take turns driving). This limits the amount of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions.

7) Limit the use of single-use items

Items like plastic utensils, bags, cups, water bottles, straws, and stirrers are all used once and then thrown away. Replace these items with something you can use again and again, like reusable bags or metal straws. Next time you go to Starbucks, bring one of their reusable cups for them to use.

8) Conserve energy

It isn’t uncommon that we leave lights on or electronics plugged in when we don’t need them to be. This only adds to the carbon footprint. Be more aware of what you keep turned on or plugged in. If it doesn’t need to be, then don’t let it.

9) Go thrifting

Many high school students get their clothes from stores like Forever 21 or H&M. While it may be inexpensive, stores like those constitute as fast fashion. Fast fashion is the mass production of clothing that is usually cheap and done extremely fast in order to stay in line with current trends. While this seems great, the environmental costs are enormous in several parts of the world where production takes place. Thrifting, on the other hand, encourages recycling second-hand items and they are inexpensive as well. A win for everybody.

10) Donate to organizations that are fighting climate change

While we can do a lot to be more environmentally friendly, the overall problem of climate change is something that cannot be fixed on our own. So, donate, even if it’s just a dollar to an organization like 4ocean or ecosia. A little can go a long way if everyone is willing to chip in.

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