As the earth continues to warm with little being done on the national or international scale to stop it, it’s falling more and more on individuals to do their part and slow the pace of climate change.
Most people are already on board with the agenda, but they’re not certain yet how they can best do their part and live more sustainably.
Many people think that living sustainably has to be expensive, but I’m here to tell you that, actually, you can live very sustainably on a budget! In fact, people with lower incomes tend to have lower carbon footprints anyway. Check out these simple, inexpensive, and totally sustainable shifts you can make in your daily life starting today.
Airplanes are a huge source of carbon in the atmosphere. They burn tons of fuel on every flight, and are constantly in the sky, dumping more and more carbon directly into the atmosphere. Flying on an airplane is much more fuel intensive than your morning commute. The two are hardly even comparable.
What can you do? Simply travel less, if you can. It’s a great budget-booster, as you’re no longer spending money on airfare, and you can focus more on hobbies at home. If you are itching to travel, however, try to find more sustainable methods, like traveling by train or boat as much as you can. Even a road trip by car is more sustainable than traveling by plane!
Hold onto electronics longer
E-waste (short for electronics waste) is a fast-growing problem. Think about how quickly new electronics are replaced by old ones. New models come out every few months, rendering existing models obsolete. Consumers are constantly being urged by tech companies to purchase the new gadgets, as the old ones pile up in landfills and leech toxic chemicals into waterways.
As a solution, simply keep your electronics for longer. Whether that’s your iPhone or your wireless printers, there’s actually nothing wrong with using a model that’s a few years out of date. Reducing demand for electronics also means that companies won’t feel as obligated to constantly produce new models. It’s a win-win.
Thrift before buying new
Textile waste is another huge source of pollution, choking waterways and leeching plastics into groundwater and wetlands. Every new purchase will someday end up in a landfill, causing sometimes irreparable damage to ecosystems everywhere.
What can you do? Head down to your local thrift shop. Thrift stores often have amazing finds with cool, eclectic, and vintage clothing options that can be styles for a hip and interesting look. You can look online to see whether there are any thrift stores near you! The best part is that many thrift stores operate as charities and nonprofits as well, which means you’re making double the impact when you shop there.
Use transit or bike
Of course, your daily commute by car is one of the most consistent forms of polluting and carbon burning that you likely do. While it’s understandable, because so many urban areas are not transit or bike friendly, many people in dense cities still choose to commute by car when they might not need to.
If you’re physically and logistically capable, you should consider riding your bike to work when you can, or using public transit. These options can save you money in the long run (fewer car repairs, lower gas bill), help you get into shape (walking from the bus or train stop to work, riding your bike every morning and evening), all while diminishing your carbon footprint.
Lastly, one of my top favorite ways to live sustainably is to go vegan! In addition to being heartbreakingly cruel and unjust for the animals, animal agriculture also is extremely resource and carbon intensive, and results in insane amounts of food waste.
It’s time to swear off animal products once and for all. By doing this, you can cut your carbon footprint in half, make a great change for your personal health, and do your part to end animal cruelty once and for all.
Making small sacrifices may be difficult at first, but if we all do our part, we can create a more sustainable world.