“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” – Robert Swan
Protecting the environment is a hot topic these days, both politically and ethically. One question has really been bothering me lately: when did protecting our environment for future generations become a partisan issue? And when did we stop believing the scientists who have spent years and years researching the facts about climate change? I personally have been taking every step I can to reduce my carbon footprint and ensure that the generations after me will have this beautiful place to call home. Here’s a few things that anyone can do to make a difference:
Reuse & Recycle
This one goes without saying – please recycle! Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Almost every type of plastic, paper, and glass is recyclable, and I encourage you to check with your local recycling center to see what they do and don’t accept. In many big cities, recycling is even easier than ever with door-to-door pickup! That makes me quite jealous, because I have to bring my recycling to our local recycling center and sort it by hand (paper, boxes, glass, plastics #1-7, etc.)! I don’t mind sorting it since I know it keeps my items out of the landfill and I’m helping make a difference. Another thing you can do is recycle products by reusing them. A few easy ways I reuse products are by bringing reusable bags when I shop for groceries, by putting all my food and leftovers into Tupperware instead of baggies, and by using a re-usable water bottle instead of plastic ones. Using Tupperware and re-usable water bottles also saves you money since you don’t have to constantly go buy more baggies and water bottles (just use your faucet or a filtered pitcher that you keep in your fridge for water)!
Eat Less Meat (or no meat!)
This may seem like a daunting task, but eating less meat can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 60%! Meat production is actually terrible for the environment (not to mention that over-consumption is bad for our bodies). In fact, a few new studies have shown that meat production may have a bigger impact on the environment than driving cars. Some 40% of the world’s land surface is used for the purposes of keeping all 7 billion of us fed. The vast majority of that land — about 30% of the word’s total ice-free surface — is used not to raise grains, fruits and vegetables that are directly fed to human beings, but to support the chickens, pigs and cattle that we eventually eat. I could go on for pages and pages on this topic, and as a lifelong meat-eater until recently, I will admit it’s hard to swallow these facts. But the thing is; you don’t have to cut meat completely out of your diet to make a difference. Start with “meatless Mondays” and work your way up to eating meat only once or twice each week. It might sound crazy, but since I’ve cut meat out of my diet, I don’t even crave it anymore (not even bacon!). It’s very possible to get all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet, and I even have the same amount of energy (or more) for my long runs fueled with no meat at all. If you’re looking to kick start a new diet with less meat or a meat-free diet, you’ve got to look into Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat is the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like real meat. It actually has more protein and iron per serving than beef, and its soy, gluten and GMO free. Check it out, and let me know what you think!
Fun Fact: If every American pledged to reduce the amount of animal-products they eat by half, we’d use 645 million fewer global acres (an area that could cover 484 million football fields)!
Support Environmentally Conscious Companies
Obviously, some companies are more environmentally conscious than others. One of the important things that we need to show our support for is energy efficient companies. No matter what our government does, if we demand clean and renewable energy, the supply will come. One of the things I look for in a company and in a product is that it has sustainable packaging and doesn’t overuse plastic. Companies will give us, the consumers, what we want if we demand it! Luckily for us, that’s just how the laws of supply and demand work. Next time you buy any product (even something as simple as shampoo or a tooth brush), check to see if the company uses environmental friendly packaging and production/distribution.
Use Alternative Transportation/Carpool
The less cars on the road, the greener the town will be! This is something Park City has really put an effort into, and I love it. Whenever you have the chance to take public transportation or carpool with someone, take it! I also encourage you to bike/walk/run to work whenever you can. I understand some people work pretty far from home and it can be difficult, but even if you just head out for a drink with friends and you can walk or carpool, every bit helps. I
If we work together we can make a difference. And remember… there is no Planet B.