Students are constantly learning how they can make a difference in the world to help the environment.
There are classes and clubs focused on various social issues, and these places teach students how they can change these issues. One popular cause that has been popular in recent years is the helping the environment and preserving our resources.
There are several ways that you – yes, YOU– can help the environment and this planet we call Earth.
What you do makes a difference! Need proof? Calculate your environmental footprint to see how much impact just one person has one the world’s resources, and adjust accordingly.
Plastic grocery-type bags that get thrown out end up in landfills or in other parts of the environment. These can suffocate animals who get stuck in them or may mistake them for food. Also, it takes a while for the bags to decompose.
Whether you are shopping for food, clothes or books, use a reusable bag. This cuts down on litter and prevents animals from getting a hold of them. There are even some stores (such as Target) that offer discounts for using reusable bags!
These bags are useful for things other than shopping as well. I have heard of people using reusable bags when they move!
If you forget your bags at home, buy a new one. Better yet, keep a couple bags in your car so you never leave home without them (just make sure you remember you put them there)!
If you are in a position where you need to use the plastic bags, reuse them the next time you go shopping, or use them for something else. Just do not be so quick to throw them out!
There are some states that are outlawing or charging extra for using plastic bags. Using reusable bags helps the environment AND your budget!
2. Print as Little as Necessary
We have all had that teacher that wanted us to have a copy of every single reading when we come to class, or that professor who wanted a hard copy of the ten-page paper that is due next week. These are fine but it seems as if they do not understand that using so much paper is detrimental to the environment.
What can you do? Ask your teacher if you can bring a laptop or an e-reader to class so that you can download the reading onto that and read it from there. If not, print on both sides of the page to reduce the amount of paper used.
If you need to turn in a long paper, ask the professor if it is okay to print on both sides of the page and explain why you’re asking. Most teachers care about the environment as well and would be willing to allow you to do so.
Recycling is such a simple thing to do, but so many people don’t do it. Many garbage disposal companies offer recycling services, so check with the company you use to see if they can help you get started! It is as simple as getting a bin and putting it out with your trash cans for free! In this way you can already help the environment.
Also, check with your RA to see if recycling options are offered in your dorm.
Another way to recycle is to look for recycling cans near trashcans. Instead of throwing recyclables in the trash with your non-recyclables, make a point to take an extra step to locate recycling cans around your campus.
4. Use a Reusable Beverage Containers
Instead of buying individually-packaged drinks, consider buying a bulk container of the beverage you want and buying a reusable water bottle. Not only will this help the environment, but it will also help you save money since you are buying a bulk container.
Many campuses offer water fountains designed for drinking as well as for refilling reusable water bottles. Make use of these fountains throughout the day when you finish off the initial beverage. Why not help the environment?
Along these lines, many restaurants offer reusable containers for drinks. If you go to a certain place a lot, consider buying one of these containers to help minimize waste.
A lot of coffee shops even offer a discount to customers who use a reusable container for their drinks. Starbucks, as an example, offers a small discount for customers who do this. Saving the environment and money? Win-win.
5. Don’t Throw Your Notes Away
At the end of the semester, students are often stuck with notes they don’t need anymore, especially from GenEd classes that had little, if anything, to do with their major.
The good news is that teachers that teach GenEd classes have to keep their material consistent with guidelines from the college/university. This means that students next semester will be learning basically the same material you learned from a class.
If you took great notes, ask your teacher to connect you with students in a future class so that you can give them your notes. These notes will help students by being able to read what they are learning in the words of another student. It is beneficial to read things that are worded differently than what the teacher said. You may need to find a student on your own, depending on the teacher’s load for the semester.
It will feel great to help others taking the same class! You can list your notes on online college boards. While some may be willing to buy the notes at a price, it will feel just as good giving them your notes for free since you are helping them out!
Also, other student organizations may appreciate notes. At the community college I attended, the Veteran’s Club had a separate building for resources. They had an area for textbooks used by students, and they could check the books out for a semester, and many people would bundle notes in with the books. Ask around to see if any organization has something like this.
If you can’t find anyone to give the notes to, at the very least, recycle the paper you used.
6. Save Electricity!
Use energy-efficient light bulbs instead of regular bulbs. They last longer, which will save you a bit of money (every little bit helps on a college budget, right?).
Make you turn off lights, the TV, and other appliances when you are not using them.
Lower your air conditioning or heat when it’s not necessary. This is especially true for between seasons. Open your windows in the early fall or layering your clothes in the early fall. In this way you can help the environment.
7. Save Water
Water is wasted more frequently than we can see. Turn off the faucet as you are brushing your teeth. Don’t turn your shower on until you’re ready to get in and wash your hair. Limit your water usage as you wash dishes. Changing old habits will be good for to help the environment and your wallet!
8. Avoid Taking Cars or Carpool When Possible
Cars are harmful to the environment. Taking public transportation, walking, or riding a bike to class are better options that help the environment and your budget, as well as getting some exercise in!
If you do need to use your car, compare schedules and places of residency with those in your classes. You can split the cost of gas and have alternating schedules for who drives when. This is cheaper than everyone driving separately and you’ll be closer with friends!
The naturalist John Muir is so closely associated with Yosemite National Park—after all, he helped draw up its proposed boundaries in 1889, wrote the magazine articles that led to its creation in 1890 and co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892 to protect it.
His words and deeds helped inspire President Theodore Roosevelt’s innovative conservation programs, including establishing the first National Monuments by Presidential Proclamation, and Yosemite National Park by congressional action.
” The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
“We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.”
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”
“Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress…”
“Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing.”
“Yet how hard most people work for mere dust and ashes and care, taking no thought of growing in knowledge and grace, never having time to get in sight of their own ignorance.”
Read more John Muir quotes here…
” When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fool.”
“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
“How narrow we selfish conceited creatures are in our sympathies! How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation!”
“These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.”
“Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.”
“Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.”
“Writing is like the life of a glacier; one eternal grind.”
“One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made; that this is still the morning of creation; that mountains long conceived are now being born, channels traced for coming rivers, basins hollowed for lakes…”
“Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.”
Get inspired by these John Muir quotes. Get more motivation from these Lao Tzu quotes…
Here are some famous John Muir quotes…
” The mountains are calling and I must go.”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
“Nothing truly wild is unclean.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
“This time it is real — all must die, and where could mountaineer find a more glorious death!”
“I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”
“I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.”
More John Muir quotes, read on…
John Muir Yosemite Quotes
“The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
“One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.”
“I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness.”
“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”
“Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings.”
“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.”
“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.”
“I ran home in the moonlight with firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.”
“Wander a whole summer if you can…time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will definitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.”
“The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”
“Anyhow we never know where we must go, nor what guides we are to get-people, storms, guardian angels, or sheep….”
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
John Muir quotes to inspire you…
“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
“Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”
“Every morning, arising from the death of sleep, the happy plants and all our fellow animal creatures great and small, and even the rocks, seemed to be shouting, “Awake, awake, rejoice, rejoice, come love us and join in our song. Come! Come!”
“It is always interesting to see people in dead earnest, from whatever cause, and earthquakes make everybody earnest.”
“I tied a crust of bread to my belt, and with Carlo set out for the upper slopes of the Pilot Peak Ridge, and had a good day, notwithstanding the care of seeking the silly runaways.”
“Night is coming on and I am filled with indescribable loneliness. Felt feverish; bathed in a black, silent stream.”
“Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.”
Continue reading more John Muir quotes…
“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.”
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
“Our good ship also seemed like a thing of life, its great iron heart beating on through calm and storm, a truly noble spectacle. But think of the hearts of these whales, beating warm against the sea, day and night, through dark and light, on and on for centuries; how the red blood must rush and gurgle in and out, bucketfuls, barrelfuls at a beat.”
“Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”
“There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream.”
“Fortunately wrong cannot last. Soon or late it must fall back home to Hades, while some compensating good must surely follow.”
John Muir Mountain Quotes
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
“There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.”
“Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.”
“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”
“Never while anything is left of me shall this… camp be forgotten. It has fairly grown into me, not merely as memory pictures, but as part and parcel of mind and body alike.”
“In drying plants, botanists often dry themselves. Dry words and dry facts will not fire hearts.”
“…every sight and sound inspiring, leading one far out of himself, yet feeding and building up his individuality.”
Are you enjoying this John Muir quotes so far? Get more words of wisdom from these Atticus quotes.
Get more John Muir quotes…
“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
“At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”
“The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie …imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light.”
“So also there are tides and floods in the affairs of men, which in some are slight and may be kept within bounds, but in others they overmaster everything.”
“Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever.”
“You bathe in these spirit-beams, turning round and round, as if warming at a camp-fire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.”
“It seems supernatural, but only because it is not understood.”
“To dine with a glacier on a sunny day is a glorious thing and makes common feast of meat and wine ridiculous. The glacier eats hills and sunbeams.”
“Like most other things not apparently useful to man, it has few friends, and the blind question, “Why was it made?” goes on and on with never a guess that first of all it might have been made for itself.”
“The deeper the solitude the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.”
Enjoy these John Muir quotes…
Quotes by John Muir
“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.”
“…therefore all childish fear must be put away.”
“But we are governed more than we know, and most when we are wildest.”
“The soft light of morning falls upon ripening forests of oak and elm, walnut and hickory, and all Nature is thoughtful and calm.”
“Go where we will, all the world over, we seem to have been there before.”
“But it is in the darkest nights, when storms are blowing and the agitated waves are phosphorescent, that the most impressive displays are made.”
“This is Nature’s own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended.”
“And into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
“Several times Muir was threatened with a successful business career, but each time he escaped again into the wilderness.”
“Of all the paths in life you take, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
“Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit — the cosmos?”
“Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.”
“Here are the roots of all the life of the valleys, and here more simply than elsewhere is the eternal flux of nature manifested.”
More John Muir quotes…
“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
“Going to the mountains is going home.”
“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”
“On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. … Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.”
“Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.Most people are on the world, not in it — have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them — undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.”
“Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”
“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.”
“But no punishment, however sure and severe, was of any avail against the attraction of the fields and woods. It had other uses, developing memory, etc., but in keeping us at home it was of no use at all.”
“In the meantime, the wildest health and pleasure grounds accessible and available to tourists seeking escape from care and dust and early death are the parks and reservations of the West.”
“Lake McDonald, full of brisk trout, is in the heart of this forest, and Avalanche Lake is ten miles above McDonald, at the feet of a group of glacier-laden mountains. Give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life.”
These John Muir quotes will inspire you in your day to day life. These are words of wisdom from a famous environmental philosopher. Make John Muir quotes part of your daily grind. John Muir quotes will enlighten you on the way you think. it helps you see more than what is there.
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Changing The World With Kindness, Justice, and Peace.
Can we change the world with kindness, justice, and peace? Is it possible? How can these three words help in changing the world? Try to think about it, actually, these three words were connected to each other. If one of them being practice, automatically the other two will get along too. Peace, what do you know about peace? To translate it with word, peace means a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence. How can we achieve peace? Rationally we can achieve peace by having a sense of responsibility and appreciation. Each of us has that responsibility to be concern of and we must take that responsibility, as for an easy example that I can take is, by keeping the city clean.
Nowadays on the television, the issues of garbage problem is becoming serious, why do you think it happens? Because we lack a sense of responsibility, the same as the sense of appreciation we can take the same example. If people have that sense of appreciation they would make sure that they’re not condemning the clean and beautiful city because they appreciate what they have and will make sure that it were taking care of. Just imagine if everybody has that sense of responsibility and appreciation problem can be avoided and every activities will run smoothly, and when everything runs smoothly it will bring peace to everybody, don’t you think so? How about justice? As we know justice means fair treatment. Being just is a good value of a character because it can prevent hatred and revenge. Justice also brings the people together because it creates a good relationship between the people, it can prevent unsatisfactory which can create revenge among people. It will improve the security of a country and keep the citizen happy.
The hardest part that usually hard to do by certain people is kindness. There once a story of kindness which happened to a doctor during he was still a little boy when one kind lady gave him a glass of milk at a time that he was so hungry and the lady feed him without asking for any payment, and that day was remembered until he became a successful doctor. Until one day he met that lady again, and she was sick, so he repaid her by giving her a treatment for her illness and paid all the charge of the treatment. From this story, we can see how kindness can really affect someone deeply. Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than thinking for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others lived, even if it means giving something of what you have. Pure kindness can actually motivate a person, that’s why they’re always a saying which said. “Don’t do evil to the evildoer” because it only brings more problems but if we brought kindness to them, they might change! Even kindness is something that difficult to do but actually it always came back to us. Changing The World With Kindness.
Kindness is a quality of being kind and it will throw away the selfishness in our selves, at the same time justice and peace will come along, why? Because a kind person will always love justice and also peace, now we can see that kindness was the most valuable value that we must have in our self in order to experience justice and peace. But how all these three values help in changing the world? It’s easy! Kindness brings justice and peace and what else that better than that? When everybody has a kind heart, treat others fairly and have a sense of responsibility and appreciation what else that more precious than that?. If all these are practice, I believe, problems can be easily solved and there will be no reason to be a war in this world, isn’t that looks like changing the world? There are saying that good to always be reminded of which said, “We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience”. So why not start to change in order to experience more good value in our life and at the same time might help to change the world?
Once upon a time, there was a bird in a cage who sang for her merchant owner. He took delight in her song day and night and was so fond of her that he served her water in a golden dish. Before he left for a business trip, he asked the bird if she had a wish: “I will go through the forest where you were born, past the birds of your old neighborhood. What message should I take for them?” The bird said, “Tell them I sit full of sorrow in a cage singing my captive song. Day and night, my heart is full of grief. I hope it will not be long before I see my friends again and fly freely through the trees. Bring me a message from the lovely forest, that will set my heart at ease. Oh, I yearn for my Beloved, to fly with Him, and spread my wings. Until then there is no joy for me, and I am cut off from all of life’s sweet things.” The merchant traveled on his donkey through the dense forest. He listened to the melodies of many birds. When the merchant reached the forest where his bird came from, he stopped, pushed his hood back, and said, “O you birds! Greetings to you all from my pretty bird locked in her cage. She sends tidings of her love to you and wants to tell of her plight. She asks for a reply that will ease her heart.
My love for her keeps her captive with bars all around her. She wants to join her beloved and sing her songs through the air with a free heart, but I would miss her beautiful songs and cannot let her go.”All the birds listened to the merchant’s words. Suddenly one bird shrieked and fell from a tree branch to the ground. The merchant froze to the spot where he stood. Nothing could astound him more than this did. One bird had fallen down dead! The merchant continued on to the city and traded his goods. At last, he returned to his home. He did not know what to tell his bird when she asked what message he had brought. He stood before her cage and said, “Oh, nothing to speak of no, no,”
The bird cried, “I must know at once.” I do not know what happened,” said the merchant. “I told them your message. Then, one of them fell down dead.” Suddenly the merchant’s bird let out a terrible shriek and fell on her head to the bottom of the cage. The merchant was horrified. He wept in despair, “Oh, what have I done?” He cried, “What Have I done? Now my life means nothing. My moon has gone and so has my sun. Now my own bird is dead.” Merchant opened the cage door, reached in, and took her into his hands gently and carefully. “I will have to bury her now,” he said; “poor thing is dead.” Suddenly, the moment he had lifted the bird out of the cage, she swooped up, flew out of the window and landed on the nearest roof slope. She turned to him and said, gratefully, “Thank you, merchant master, for delivering my message. That bird’s reply instructed me how to win my freedom. All I had to do was to be dead. I gained my freedom when I chose to die.”So now I fly to my beloved who waits for me. Good-bye, good-bye, my master no longer.” “My bird was wise; she taught me the secret,” the merchant reflected.
Moral:If you want to be with the ones you love, you must be ready to give up everything, even life itself. And then, you will win your heart’s desire.
The Caged Bird’s Escape is an empowering story of dying to live. Be Thankful To God is another motivational story.
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Next autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are. When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing, and another goose flies point.
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south. Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. What message do we give when we honk from behind? Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.
We actually can learn something by just learning the habitat surrounding us, but we are usually too busy to notice all that.
The Sense of A Goose is an inspiring story. Another uplifting story is The Cracked Pot.
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I live in the US right now, and recent events led me to believe that I live in a bubble. No, not the bubble that had anything to do with the election (because frankly, I am sick and tired of talking about that). The environmental bubble.
I live in a subset of the population who composts even though we live in a city where it is far from convenient to do so. I have lists of CSAs in my area and my friends swap reviews on how diverse they are (read: how much kale we will have to eat if we sign up).
The other day, when a yoga student asked me, “Is eating meat bad for the environment?” I realized that the bubble was real.
By no means am I suggesting that I am the next superhero of the environment (although that would make for an excellent Halloween costume). However, I like to believe that many of us, when equipped with information, will do the right thing. Here are the top 9 things you can do to save the planet, with or without a green cape:
1. Stop eating meat (or at least reduce it).
The Environmental Working Group found that red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse emissions as common vegetables and grains. If the grain fed to livestock were fed to people, we could feed 800 million people! Reduce your footprint and go meatless.
2. Stop eating dairy.
This has some of the same bleak statistics as mentioned in point one, as well as the fact that it takes a lot of feed to keep a dairy cow alive. 66% of all crop calories goes to cows, and cow farts account for 28% of all methane emissions related to human activity. Yes, I just wrote cow farts.
3. Change your car driving habits.
We don’t all have the luxury of walking everywhere, but vehicles are the biggest compromise to our air. Those tailpipes are at street level, where we can inhale the polluted air directly. Consider a world where you carpool, Uber, walk, or take public transit more often.
4. Notice how you use water.
We have a lot of water in Canada, but we also use a lot of water, and 65% of what we use is in the bathroom. Have shorter showers. Don’t leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth. Buy an energy efficient showerhead. It all helps.
5. Reduce the amount of paper in your life.
Do you know that 40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for paper? This endangers natural habitats and uses a ton of water. Since it has become inexpensive to print, we do it without thinking. And lest you think you are paperless, think about your bank statements, the paper towels you use to clean the countertops, the junk mail you haven’t opted out of and the way you wrap your Christmas presents. There are many areas where each of us can help to lessen paper production.
6. Use a refillable water bottle and reusable lunch containers.
Bottled water and throw away packaging is wasteful. Landfills are overfilling with water bottles alone. It is also estimated that 3 litres of water is used to package 1 litre of bottled water. It is time to splurge on bottles and BPA lunch packages that will last. Failing that, a mason jar never hurt anyone, except perhaps your desire to not be seen as a hipster.
7. Be mindful of what you throw in the trash.
From kitchen scraps that can be used to make stocks to items that can be recycled, our trash should be less full the more aware we get. Channel your inner grandmother and see how many times things can be reused or re-purposed rather than simply thrown away.
8. Bag it yourself.
Before venturing out on your next shopping trip, make sure you’ve some reusable shopping bags with you. Plastic bags are a huge threat to marine life, and they’re an inconvenience to the environment. Reusable bags are the way to go!
9. Borrow or fix rather than buy.
Buying throwaway fashion is detrimental for the environment – 1 kg of fabric generates 23 kg of greenhouse gases! Start thinking about keeping what you own and become more discerning. Darn your socks and sew on new buttons. Borrow clothes if you find you are in between sizes.
There is a direct link between our consumption choices and the environmental challenges facing us – with consumerism accounting for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.
While some of us fortunate enough to choose the source of our coffee beans and attend farmers markets have started to make the connection between consumerism and the present environmental crisis, there is a still a need for more information about how our daily behavior affects the vitality of the environment.
Over the past two decades, green consumerism has emerged as a new form of consumption, offering a way for consumers to incorporate our political and social values into our patterns of consumption. It also opens up a space for collaboration where individuals, companies and local and federal governments can work together to improve the environment for everyone.
Consumption as Civic Duty
For centuries, consumerism has been a topic of conversation. In Ancient Greece, Plato condemned consumption as a threat to the human soul. In many European states during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, consumption was considered a waste of money that could have been used towards local resources. And in his 1759 book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith wrote that humans consistently garner more items in their life because the accumulation of such objects allows for life to be “grand and beautiful and noble.”
More recently, with a recession looming in 2007, President Bush told reporters at a news conference, “. . . I encourage you all to go shopping more.”
Our New Civic Duty to Be Green
The linking of consumption to civic duty echoed by President Bush is undergoing a transformation from more is better to the idea that consumers can use their specific contributions to the economy to shape the economic and political landscape. The “citizen-consumer” can support their values and the issues they care about by purchasing goods that reflect those same beliefs.Rising concern regarding environmental destruction led to an expansion of the “citizen-consumer” and a steady increase in demand for eco-friendly products. According to a Nielsen survey from 2015, 66% of global consumers from 60 countries are willing to pay more for goods that have a positive social and environmental impact—up from 55% in 2014.
What Impact Earth Law Would Have
Earth continues to degrade despite decades of environmental law so the laws need to evolve. Earth Law provides an innovative solution: an ethical framework that recognizes nature’s right to exist, thrive and evolve – enabling nature to defend these rights in court, just like corporations can. Earth law protects nature the way corporate law protects business.
Viewing nature as a resource to be owned and used has contributed to the disconnect between pursuits that are valued by people such as buying a new car or taking a vacation, and the types of behavior that also prioritize the health and well being of the natural environment. Earth Law can bridge this divide by providing stronger protections for nature such that consumer habits, construction projects and transportation balance the needs of nature and humans.
Darlene May Lee is Executive Director of Earth Law Center, which works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. She works to build a force of advocates for nature’s rights at the local, state, national, and international levels. Connect with Earth Law Center on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Read all of Darlene’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.