How can I live sustainably?

Certain aspects of our daily lives cannot be compromised in terms of CO2 emissions due to limited technology and other factors; however, we can seek balance in other aspects of our lives. For example, people must transport themselves from point A to point B; however, the question of sustainability arises when the choice is between driving or taking the bus. We aim to highlight areas where we can make changes that will benefit both us and the planet in the long run. These seemingly insignificant changes can have a significant long-term impact.

Recycle more!

The process of converting used waste materials into new materials with new utility is known as recycling. It is critical to have items around you that can be recycled and appraised. Americans, for example, throw away $700 million in recyclable aluminum cans, the majority of which end up in landfills and pose an environmental hazard. Plastic waste is an even worse scourge on the planet; according to a 2017 National Geographic study, an astounding 91 percent of all plastic waste is not recycled. These plastic wastes end up in landfills and the oceans, where plastic waste is expected to outnumber fish by 2050.

Eat less meat!

According to figures obtained from a Mirror investigation, the amount of CO2 emitted by consuming a Big Mac Burger is comparable to driving a car for more than 7 miles. These emissions take into account the ingredients used to make the burger. Plates up for the planet created an intriguing method of calculating the carbon footprint of one's meals by entering the ingredients.
What are our options? It's simple: eat less meat, build a healthier diet that isn't centered on meat and dairy products; all it takes is a deliberate and purposeful effort to reduce consumption of these products.

Donating to environmental causes!

Donating to environmental/climate-related projects is an excellent place to begin. Several organizations are working on climate-related issues such as rainforest preservation, alternative and more environmentally friendly energy research, and ocean plastic eradication, among others.
When deciding which organization to donate to, make sure they have a clear premise for what aspect of climate change is being addressed, as well as clear and transparent data on the work done thus far. Project Drawdown curated 80 top proposed solutions to the current climate crisis with the help of its researchers by evaluating factors such as scalability, economic viability, effectiveness in sequestering CO2, and more. Donating to organizations actively researching and on these proposed solutions is a great way to help!

Less energy and fuel consumption!

Fossil fuel generated from the decomposition of plants and animals which consist of coal, petroleum and natural gas, crude oil and more are an integral part of our everyday lives, fossil fuels are used to power houses, cars, phones, and even used to make everyday items like toothpaste, lipstick and so on. A study from 2020 by the US energy information Administration found that for every Kilowatt per Hour of electricity consumed 0.85 pounds of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, accounting for over a billion pounds of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

What can be done? Here’s a simple list of some ways to use less energy and fossil fuels;

  • Get rid of energy vampires like a TV, microwave, printers, and other electrical appliances by unplugging these devices completely as some of these items utilize electricity if they remain plugged in after they have been turned off.
  • Making use of energy-efficient and eco-friendly appliances that are biodegradable or easily recycled, these products are designed to minimize energy usage and are ideal for a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Drive less and consider taking public transport such as buses, trains, trolleys, or other means of transportation like cycling, and walking. The International Energy Agency reports that twenty-four percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, with two-thirds of those emissions coming from road vehicles. Drive smart, and do not leave your car running when you aren’t in transit, these seemingly inconvenient actions are what may likely save our planet and help us live a more sustainable life.
  • Switching to renewable energy sources by crowd funding within your local community for clean energy projects and setting up solar-powered technologies, are great ways to cut down significantly on one’s carbon footprint via fossil fuels.

Buying sustainable products!

As we strive to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it is critical that we adopt products and services that reflect this shift. Less than 10% of all plastic (over 7 billion tonnes) is recycled, with the majority becoming environmental hazards; this is just one statistic demonstrating the urgency of the transition to sustainable products.
Embracing and looking for "Eco" friendly products like light bulbs, toothbrushes, and even kitchen appliances that aren't harmful to the environment is the way to go. Buying recycled products such as backpacks, reusable bags, and biodegradable products, as stated in this Business Insider article on eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items.
Eco-friendly fashion is a relatively newer aspect of sustainability that aims to mitigate the climate effects of the textile industry. Adopting eco-friendly clothing made entirely of natural materials is an excellent way to offset one's carbon footprint. Buying used clothes can also help; there are many vintage dresses that are just as beautiful as new ones. Remember, the goal is to reduce one's carbon footprint as much as possible for the sake of our planet's future generations.