Three Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

During the spring of 1970, Americans protested after being fed up with the constant pollution of the Earth. From oil spills to harmful chemicals being used, many people began to worry about the Earth’s health. People started to organize Earth Day and 22 million Americans celebrated the Earth on April 22, 1970. Today, Earth Day is a worldwide holiday to learn about environmental issues and ways we can change how we live to better benefit the Earth. In honor of Earth Day, here are three simple yet effective ways you can improve the planet in your day-to-day life.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When most people think of Earth Day, recycling is probably the first thought that pops into their heads. Reducing waste by throwing away less of the products you use, reusing items such as water bottles, and recycling anything you can is one of the best, most effective ways to cut down on waste. It lessens the amount of landfill space taken up which allows more space for trees to be grown and wildlife to live. According to epa.gov, the recycling rate had increased from 7% in 1960 to 32% in 2020. While the progress made should not be taken for granted, there is still lots of room for improvement. Decreasing household waste is one of the most important ways we can help the Earth. Start a compost bin or just use recyclable products to do your part.

Volunteer Around Your Community

Being very passionate about a cause can lead people to help in many ways. One of the best ways to help any cause is to volunteer and spread awareness. For pollution, you could volunteer picking up trash or even just organize a local day in your community or with your family. I think I speak for everyone when I say that seeing trash in your own neighborhood is ugly. So instead of walking right past a wrapper or plastic water bottle you see left on the ground, next time pick it up.

Eat Smart

Changing a diet for any reason is a pretty hard thing to do. Incorporating more plant based, sustainably made food is as good of a reason as any to make a change. I have tried to reduce the amount of meat I’ve eaten over this past year. Doing this (even one day out of the week) significantly reduces your carbon footprint. Great alternatives to food harmful to the environment can also be bought to decrease your negative impact. Soy milk, for example, uses water in production which makes it a better alternative to drinking cow’s milk. Americans have seen a steady rise in vegetarianism throughout the years which has a positive effect on the Earth. Personally, eating no meat for a day gives me a sense of accomplishment along with generally feeling better. Eating things like lentils and nuts for protein have been seen to provide numerous health benefits.

Abigail Reed, a sophomore at Oakland Mills High School, talks about how much eating vegetarian has impacted her. “I feel good about not eating meat. It makes me feel more energized and less full.” She started eating vegetarian four years ago because it is helpful to the environment. Being a vegetarian not only affects the Earth, but it affects how you may feel on a day to day basis.

Final Thoughts

Saving the Earth is not easy work. It requires coordination and cooperation from everyone along with a conscious effort to change your lifestyle. However, once you get acclimated to these changes, they will start to become second nature and soon enough you will forget you are even doing them. So do the Earth and yourself a favor by making a change!

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