At this point, there’s not a single person unaware of the harm we’ve done to our planet. Our carbon footprint has polluted the air and caused the distraction of the ozone layer, the oceans are filled with consumer debris and harmful chemical waste. It’s not enough simply to “support the cause”, we all need to join the efforts of moving toward a cleaner and healthier planet by taking initiative in our everyday lives.
Luckily, today’s hearts and minds of people have drastically changed regarding climate change. Our views on sustainability issues have become more reasonable, enabling companies to invest in sustainability without the risk of going broke. Let’s see how we can turn this awareness into concrete action and push the change toward a healthier planet further.
We Are The Driving Force
When I say “we”, I mean the consumers. Our demand is what’s driving the clean energy market. It is obvious that the companies are ready to make a change when consumers express their demand for more responsibility towards the environment. Influenced by the global switch to renewable energy production, the manufacturers of equipment are adapting their designs.
Some industries have been trying to point out that breaking “disruptive” technology into the market is never easy in hopes of softening the rising demand for a healthier planet, but today 90% of consumers are ready to boycott every company that still behaves irresponsibly. This is what brings us closer every day to the zero-emission future. But, to have that driving power, we, the consumers, are the first who need to be willing to make some personal sacrifices.
Although I referred to our efforts as sacrifices in the section above, they are sacrifices just in terms of our daily routines. To truly make a change, we need to play our part on an every-day basis, changing our lifestyle. We won’t show the companies we mean business as part-time activists.
We can start with energy consumption in our homes, unplugging all electronic devices when not using them, flipping the light switches off when we’re not in the room. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and Energy Star appliances goes without saying.
Keep in mind that water also requires energy to heat and purify it. With each flush of the toilet, we use about 1.6 gallons. Installing Water-sense shower-heads will save up to almost 3,000 gallons per year. The more you conserve, the less wastewater and runoff ends up in the ocean.
Stop purchasing plastics and bring a reusable bag for every shopping activity. Shopping in bulk, especially package-free household goods and food, will make this transition easier. If you have space, planting a small vegetable garden will certainly cut down your visits to grocery stores and put healthy food on your table. Stop using single-use items. The act of carrying a reusable water bottle and cup can make a world difference regarding waste.
Dispose of your waste the right way, recycle everything you can, and compost at home to prevent landfills from filling up.
There’s one aspect of our everyday efforts that deserves special mention – transportation. It’s easy to run errands such as a trip to the supermarket, post office, school, etc. on foot or bike, but some situations simply require a car.
The history of electric cars extends over a century, and they still haven’t become the norm. The reason mainly lies in a somewhat silly argument that they actually don’t have such a big impact on the environment. It leans on the fact that modern EV’s do have zero emissions but are essentially powered by power plants and therefore not “completely green”. To have a full positive environmental impact, electricity must come solely from low-carbon sources such as nuclear reactors, wind, or sun.
Fact-wise, there’s nothing wrong with this view. The problem lies within the attitude which is far from actionable. At this point, with all their limitations, electric vehicles are able to replace 90% of carbon-emitting ones. There’s no doubt that this could lead to very meaningful greenhouse-gas emissions reduction. Furthermore, more and more companies are switching to renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power. To reach a completely green future, we need to act with what we got so far.
This last transportation section perfectly illustrates my point: we’re still far from a healthy planet, but taking initiative as the main driving force and doing all we can right now is the only way of getting there.