(beautiful featured turtle drawing by the talented inkylines)
I’m writing this on a very sunny Sunday afternoon and it’s reminded me of just how beautiful our little (or, actually, rather big) planet is. I’ve always tried to help the planet and I remember always recycling as much as I could when I was little and trying to remember to turn off the light, but over time I’ve realised that there are things I can do now that will have a bigger positive impact on our environment. While conserving energy and water does really help, here are five simple things you might not have thought about doing before, that can help the beautiful place we live in just a little bit more.
1. REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF SINGLE-USE PRODUCTS WE USE
From plastic water bottles, to coffee cups and paper towels, we are so used to using a product once and then throwing it in the bin, usually because there is no other way to recycle it. As I’m sure you all know, this accumulation of singular-used plastics and materials has such a damaging affect on the air we breathe, the wildlife we love and our ecosystems. So, to prevent this from happening why not use reusable products such as a reusable travel mug and metal straws instead of plastic ones. Instead of using a new plastic bottle for water, why not invest in a glass or metal bottle that is both stylish and kind to our environment! Chilly’s is one of my favourite brands for sustainable water bottles.
2. TAKING CARE OF OUR WILDLIFE
Something I have recently done in order to help conserve our beautiful wildlife as much as possible is adopting an Amur leopard! As a student, I am usually strapped for cash but donating just £3 a month to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) helps the wildlife a little, until I am one day earning and can donate more. If everyone donated just £3 or £5 a month (you can even choose which specific animal you would like to help!) then our gorgeous animals might just have a chance at living much longer than they would otherwise. In case you’re not quite sure how desperate this situation is, here are some figures from the wonderful WWF website. In the wild, there are currently only:
- 90 Amur leopards (their habitat is under threat from logging, forest fires and road and industrial development)
- 1,000 gorillas (there are only four remaining sub-species)
- 3,900 tigers (this is a decline of 95% since the beginning of the 20th Century)
- 40-50,000 elephants (around 55 African elephants are killed a day for their tusks. Key populations are in decline due to poaching and a shrinking habitat and there are more African elephants being poached than born. In Asia, elephants have disappeared from approximately 85% of their historic range)
- 1,860 giant pandas (once spread throughout China, northern Vietnam and northern Myanmar, the giant panda is now only found in just six isolated mountain ranges in Gansu, Shaanxi and Sichuan Provinces in south-central China)
- 22-31,000 polar bears (by 2050, polar bear numbers may decline by 30% due to the rapid loss of sea ice)
So please, if you’re wanting to do an inexpensive act for our wildlife, please visit WWF and adopt an animal today 💛
As I’m sure many of you are aware of by now, especially if you’re in the Instagram world, second-hand clothes shopping is becoming more of a normal thing to do and it’s so wonderful to see! This really isn’t an excuse, but as I have limited money, I usually still shop on the highstreet but I am shopping more and more on online second-hand sites such as Depop and Vinted where you can find some really beautiful clothes! Fast Fashion on the highstreet is damaging to our environment due to the sheer amount of production and waste the produced by the industry. In order to keep up with current trends (‘fast’), companies end up producing an overwhelming amount of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as using a massive amount of energy and water- it takes 2,700 litres of water to make 1 cotton t-shirt. If we can reduce the amount of pollution caused by the Fast Fashion industry by shopping in charity and second-hand shops, as well as repurposing clothes we already own and when we do buy new clothes, making sure they are sustainable, we can hopefully begin to save our beautiful planet one-less-top at a time.
4. CHANGING UP OUR DIET
As a meat and fish lover (I know, it is really controversial to say this in society nowadays), I understand how hard it can be to switch up your diet to help the planet. But it’s true what people say, eating less meat and fish really does impact our environment in a positive way. It takes 2,500 gallons (around 11,365 literes) of water to produce around 450g of meat- that’s a lot of water! According to www.downtoearth.org, ‘the United Nations said in its 2006 report that livestock generate more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Most of it comes from carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide gases generated by manure’. If we assume that the demand for meat has increased since then, then that’s a heck of a lot of pollution from one industry.
As I struggle with chronic illnesses (including IBS), I know how difficult it can be to switch up your diet. It’s also tricky to try and get other people on board (without sounding all preach-y) and I know that my darling half-Dutch dad loves his meat too much to ever become a veggie. But, if you decide you do want to make a change, try doing it for just one day of the week. I have recently been eating vegetarian every Thursday when my dad meets his best local friend for dinner, and although it’s not much, I hope to increase the amount I eat vegetarian in the future to help the planet.
Remember, you don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian if YOU don’t want to be. Yes, it is helpful to the planet and there are ethical reasons but don’t let anyone guilt you into doing something you’re truly not comfortable with.
5. CHOOSING ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
I guess this point is pretty obvious, but there are SO many eco-friendly versions of products we use on the daily that we can purchase instead to help our planet a little bit. For example, energy-efficient lightbulbs. If every household did this, according to Visualisation, it would reduce pollution comparable to removing one million cars from our roads. Buying rechargeable batteries, replacing plastic lighters with paper matches and using cast-iron pans (which are free of harmful chemicals and can last generations) can all help the environment more than you think. Check out this list to see more eco-friendly choices you can make around the house.
And that’s it for this little roundup! I hope you were able to find a way or two in which you can help this gorgeous planet we live on.
With all my love and hugs,
P.S. If you ever feel overwhelmed or like you have to be a super-eco-warrior, check out the beautiful poem below- even the littlest things can help a tonne.
To the person who uses metal straws to save fish but consumes animals, I’d like to say thank you.
to the vegan who isn’t aware of our homelessness problem, thank you.
to the climate change activists who aren’t attentive to fast fashion, thank you.
to the girl who gives her old clothes to the disadvantaged but isn’t educated on sex trafficking, thank you.
to the guy who picks up rubbish on his way home from a surf but isn’t well-informed about male suicide rates, thank you.
to the people who stand up for horse racing concerns but are uninformed of the cruelty of the dairy industry, thank you.
to the positive Instagram influencer who hasn’t cultivated a plastic-free lifestyle, thank you.
to the grandparents who knit for sick children but aren’t up to date with current race and homophobic issues, thank you.
to the students that stand up for bullying but are unaware of the constant domestic violence epidemic, thank you.
to the peace activists, feminists, animal adopters, teachers, volunteers, foster carers, recyclers, givers, doers and believers, I say thank you.
We are all on a different path and we all see through different eyes.
current world issues that you are passionate about, aren’t always what other people are trying to change… and that’s okay.
It’s not everyone’s job to save every part of the world but it is everyone’s responsibility to thank every person who is doing their part to save the world.
don’t critic, just appreciate. don’t judge, just educate. we’re all trying our best.
by Carla Borthwick