Green Iowa AmeriCorps
Simple Ways YOU Can Help Out the Environment
Have you ever stopped to look around at the world we live in today and thought about how you can make a change? Because although there are many amazing and wonderful things about it, the truth is our world isn't perfect. There are dozens of issues to fix, problems to solve, wounds to heal. Our world is flawed - or rather the habits of the people inhibiting it are. So what can we do about this? Change some of these habits, or adjust as much as we can.
When we begin to do this, it can feel overwhelming. But that's okay. The changes we make in our lives don't have to be big ones. Even small steps forward are important because at least we're heading in the right direction. Today, I want to share with you a few simple ways you can help Mother Earth that aren't difficult but effective.
One of the best things you can do to help out the Earth is to reduce the amount of waste you create. Reusing, repurposing, and recycling are great options for what to do with your waste or clutter once you have it, but what's even more powerful is avoiding accumulating this waste/clutter in the first place. This is where mindful shopping comes in. I've come to realize that our culture is very big on buying and possessing a whole bunch of unnecessary things rather than a select number of important belongings that are truly valuable to us. When shopping, I encourage you to really think about what you are purchasing and ask yourself the following questions:
Do I really need this? Am I going to actually use it? How long will this last? Does this add value to my life?
Of course there are exceptions but these questions can help adjust your mindset to thinking more eco-friendly. Ultimately, you have to decide what you think is best.
Speaking of shopping... Buying things, specifically clothes, secondhand from thrift stores or garage sales helps the environment out in a huge way for a multitude of reasons. Similar to what I said above, what's become popular in our culture is constantly consuming. We continue to buy items even when we don't need them, and then we usually throw them away once we've tired of them or they've gone out of style (this is especially true with clothing.) In recent decades, brands have begun to make their clothing cheaper, resulting in low quality apparel. Low quality apparel doesn't last long, which gives people a reason to go out and buy more. Where do these tossed pieces of clothing go? Oftentimes, they are donated or sold, but many other times they get thrown in the trash, adding to our landfills. So, it's much better to buy clothes and items that already exist by thrifting. It may not be as glamorous as going to the mall and getting a brand new top or pair of pants, but it is cheaper and can actually be a lot of fun.:)
Switch to Reusables
If you find that you are using a lot of disposable items (paper plates, plastic bottles, plastic utensils, etc.) you may want to try to swap these out with some reusable options. If you're looking for some ideas you can check out one of our earlier posts titled "10 Easy Sustainable Swaps." Some examples include a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee cup, and more...
Hang Clothes to Dry
Hanging clothes out to dry reduces the amount of energy used when using a dryer. It also saves you money, and saves your clothes from the harshness of the machine. Also, your clothes end up smelling amazing when hung to dry on a nice breezy day. Try it!
Do More Biking or Walking
If you have a short commute to work, school, etc. I encourage you to try walking or riding your bike instead of driving. Cars emit a ton of carbon dioxide, polluting our air and contributing to global warming. If you have the option, try and limit drive-time. If you have to drive, consider finding others you can carpool with. It is more convenient for you and for them and you can take that time in the car to chat and catch up!
Take Shorter Showers
I'll be the first to admit that I could do way better at this. I used to take long, hot showers that probably lasted almost half an hour...Not good at all! Now when I get in, I do what I need to do and get out. It's important to keep your showers short to save water and energy. If you're feeling brave, you could even try a military style shower.
Well, that's all I have for you, but I hope you enjoyed reading and feel inspired to practice these simple ways to help out the environment! And remember, though it may seem like the little things (taking shorter showers, carpooling with a friend to an event, etc.) don't make much of a difference, they do. With each one of our actions comes a consequence, and we get to decide whether these consequences are going to be positive or negative. "The small actions you take today can change the world in a big way"
Have a wonderful day!!