Saving the Environment – How Successful Have We Been?
Memorable environmental disasters that have occurred in various parts of the world, but the depletion of our ecological resources is under greater threat. Each reminds us that the earth’s environment is under attack. It is vital we stop eroding Earth’s natural resources known as our ecological footprint. As the human population grows, the challenge of reducing our footprint becomes more urgent.
Various authorities and individuals have voiced warnings. Some have taken action publicly to make their point. Concerned organizations have also been sounding the alarm. Some merely report on environmental problems as they happen to relate to their work. Others are dedicated to the cause of keeping environmental issues to the fore. Greenpeace are well-known for sending activists to environmental hot spots and attracting public attention to such matters as global warming, endangered species, and dangers of genetically modified animals and plants.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward
The good news is that according to a The Guardian report, the human consumption of the Earth’s resources declined in 2020.
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2020, it fell on August 22.
According to research by Global Footprint Network, the Covid-19 lockdowns led to a 9.3% reduction in humanity’s ecological footprint compared with same period last year. Reducing consumption of natural resources back to almost 2005 levels. However, in order to keep consuming ecological resources at our current rate we would still need the equivalent of 1.6 Earths a year.
The world’s population currently consumes the equivalent of 1.6 planets a year, according to analysis by the Global Footprint Network.
While our planet has its limits, the capacity of human self-reflective behavior is not. The transformation to a sustainable, carbon-neutral world will succeed if we apply our greatest strengths: foresight, innovation, and care for each other. It’s going to require huge changes and huge commitments in terms of the way that we live.
The good news is that this transformation is not only technologically possible, it is also economically beneficial and our best chance for a prosperous future.
There are five key areas that are shaped by our individual and collective choices:
- Planet – help nature thrive.
- Cities – balancing the supply of natural capital and population’s demand design and manage cities.
- Energy – Decarbonizing the economy is our best possible chance to address climate change, and examine how we power ourselves.
- Food – Sustainable produce sourcing, distribution, and consumption of foods.
- Population – address population growth.
Effective Ways to Start Going Green.
First calculate your carbon footprint .
EPA also has a free Household Carbon Footprint Calculator.
MAKE ELECTRICITY USE MORE EFFICIENT
- Do a DYI energy assessment of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy efficient.
- Change incandescent light bulbs to light emitting diodes (LEDs). Though LEDs cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer.
- Switch lights off when you leave the room and unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use.
- Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120˚F.
- Installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use and take shorter showers.
- Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity.
USE MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY
- Using renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuel to generate electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal sources, as well as certain biofuel source.
- Sign up to get your electricity from clean energy through your local utility or a certified renewable energy provider.Green-e.org can help you find certified green energy providers.
AVOID SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
- Reduce Your Use of Single-Use Disposable Plastics. Shops and consumers are still using plastic bags, along with everyday single-use plastics like straws, cups, and utensils. Make the switch to reusable items, such as reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bag, and reusable cups. The best step is to start refusing plastic as much as you can and try to avoid items with excess packaging.
- Walk, take public transportation, carpool, rideshare or bike to your destination when possible.
- Avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration.
- Take care of your car by keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your fuel efficiency by three percent; and ensuring that your car is properly maintained can increase it by four percent.
- Remove any extra weight from the car.
- When doing errands, try to combine them to reduce your driving.
- Use traffic apps like Waze to help avoid getting stuck in traffic jams.
- On longer trips, turn on the cruise control, which can save gas.
- Use less air conditioning while you drive, even when the weather is hot.
- Consider purchasing a hybrid car or electric vehicle, when shopping for a new car.
RECYCLE MORE AND REDUCE WASTE
- Buy less! And buy used or recycled items whenever possible.
- Recycling helps conserve resources and reduces air and water pollution. Landfills are filling up so do your best to reduce your waste.
- Reduce packaging waste in the kitchen by buying in bulk, eating a veggie-based diet, and composting your food waste.
- Reduce your food waste by planning meals ahead of time, freezing the excess and reusing leftovers.
- Reduce your bathroom product waste, buying reusables, and forfeit unnecessary products. Be sure to recycle plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable bathroom materials.
- Support and buy from companies that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
- Eat low on the food chain. This means eating mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans. meat and dairy—is responsible for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions. You can start by joining Meatless Mondays.
- Encourage sustainable agriculture practices by choosing organic produce and local foods that are in season.
- Promote sustainable fishing laws at a consumer level by buying only sustainably sourced fish.
REDUCE WATER USE
- Incorporate water savings techniques around your home, such as using rain barrels, washing clothes when you have a full load, and stopping unnecessary faucet use
So Much More to Explore
Preventing natural resource depletion is vital for the environment, economy, health and well-being of the human population. We use a vast range of natural resources, and there are more ways to conserve them. Explore the options in our Blog.
WWF have put together a series of 5-week challenges (which they send directly to your inbox) that will empower you with simple yet impactful everyday tips to live more sustainably, protect our planet’s habitats, preserve its biodiversity, and fight against climate change!
Start implementing these ideas today to reduce your ecological footprint and environmental impact.
Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section. I may add them to the article later!
If you found these ideas helpful, please share this article with your friends using the share buttons below. By spreading the knowledge, we can all work towards sustainability!
Your current choices determine our future, every action adds up.
You need to become part of the solution!