The concept of Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 by peace activist and environmentalist John McConnell at an UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. At the time, McConnell’s activism was considered revolutionary, even radical. But the steady increased risk of global warming backed by scientific evidence has made environmentalism in 2017 mainstream.
We can probably all agree that we’re more aware of our environmental impact than we were 50 years ago. Environmental efforts are an active topic in politics, and many of us look for ways we can reduce our carbon footprint. Environmentalism and clean living go together like peanut butter and jelly (or mimosas and brunch, or yin and yang — you get the idea). Here are three small ways you can make a positive environmental impact.
1. Cut the Meat
According to research by Oxford Martin School, the widespread adoption of a plant-based diet would cut food-related emissions by 63 percent and potentially improve our health. While expecting the world to go full veggie may not be realistic, we can certainly be more aware of our meat consumption. Further, food scientists are developing “lab-grown meat.” While the concept of eating meat produced by a lab might sound gross to some, it may be healthier, more environmentally friendly, and less cruel than our current farming practices.
2. Go Bicycling and Use Public Transit
It’s no secret driving is bad for our environment. The exhaust from our cars releases nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, which together harm our ozone layer. Further, fuel production can destroy wildlife and ecosystems. Depending on where you live, bicycling and public transit could be excellent environmental alternatives that will also improve your health. If cycling and public transit are not viable options, consider carpooling. This life style change can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint, improve your health and save money.
3. Trash Consciousness
So many of our products come pre-packaged, creating literally tons of trash. Adopting a trash conscious mindset can help improve our environment. Avoid purchasing pre-packaged foods when possible, and opt for natural, whole foods instead. Shopping at local farmers’ markets is a great way to do this because you’re avoiding trash creation, food miles (a mile over which a food item is transported) and supporting your local economy. Not to mention the fact that your produce is likely to be fresher and better! When shopping, remember to bring your own, reusable bags.
While our individual efforts may seem small, united we can make a difference. This Earth Day, take time to reflect on your environmental habits, and how you — and we — can make a global difference together.
How do you live green? Do you practice any of the methods mentioned above, or do you do something else? Let us know in the comments below. —Alex