Earth is a closed system, meaning nothing is coming in and nothing is going out. The resources we have, some being renewable, some being non-renewable.They may seem unlimited, but there is a limit to everything. The United States consists of 5% of the worlds population but use 25% of the worlds energy. The reason Americans use more energy than any other place might have to do with the tragedies of the commons. This is the idea that more materials and resources than needed are used because they are available. Some data that proves this theory is the fact that the amount of global hectares (GHA) used by the United States alone, add up to be as much as places like Italy, France, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, U.K., and Japan combined.
California in itself has the same environmental footprint as the entire country of France. These countries are known as developing countries meaning they do not need as much to survive as developed countries like American do.
There are many ways to help cut down your environmental footprint and waste, even small steps can make a huge difference in the end!
- Start Recycling: Whether it be paper, plastic, aluminum, clothes or all of the above! Recycling is such an easy thing to start doing and it greatly limits the waste and garbage getting put into the earth or left in the oceans! There are also places you can take your recycling to for free so it is no extra cost.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle: If you’re forgetful like me, it can be hard to remember to bring the same water bottle everywhere, but having and using one water bottle for an extended period of time as opposed to one bottle everyday. This will reduce the plastic polluting the oceans greatly.
- Try turning off any lights you’re not using and unplug any devices not being used, and conserving the amount of water used that doesn’t necessarily need to be. Not only will this lower your electricity and water bill but it will also help the environment by helping not overuse energy.
- Compost! By taking certain items of food waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, used coffee or tea grounds, egg shells, old bread, etc. can be used to compost and help grow other plants as well as help give them the nutrients they need.
- Buy recycled products: Help support recycled goods so there is a demand for them!
- Buy canvas/reusable shopping bags. Instead of wasting single-use bags every time you go grocery or clothes shopping, invest in a few reusable bags, helping reduce pollution of plastic and adds a pop of style to your shopping trip!
- Look at Hybrid or Electric cars! If the family is looking to invest in a new car, think about going the hybrid or electric route. Although electric cars are not 100% better than gas fueled vehicles, they are definitely a more sustainable option when it comes to use of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources. Not to mention it would be way cheaper in the way of gas so that’s a plus!
- Look out for endangered species. Making many of these steps will also help keep endangered species safe. By cutting down on pollution, It will help keep their environment the closest to how it was before.
- Look into using bamboo products. There are many reusable bamboo products such as toothbrushes, straws, brushes, etc. that are better for the environment because they are biodegradable unlike the typical plastic toothbrush, straws, etc. that get thrown out often creating more pollution.
- Stop or limit your meat consumption. Most people think about stopping or limiting their consumption of meat and think it is near impossible because most of us have been eating meat as long as we can remember. However, there are many alternatives to meat out there such as things like veggie burgers, beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, vegetables, cauliflower, mushrooms, quinoa, etc. most of the time you can’t even tell the difference between meat and meat alternatives!