8 Simple Tips For Reducing Your Environmental Impact
If you’ve been paying attention to the growing political debate you would have certainly overheard, or perhaps taken part in a conversation about climate change and the need to reduce your environmental impact.
So far as evidence goes, our generation is currently in the midst of an existential crisis. In the past year alone we’ve seen a number of global temperature records broken, increasing levels of deforestation, new evidence of mass coral reef bleaching and a number of animal species become critically endangered.
There’s now indisputable evidence that Earth has been getting warmer, in some cases rapidly. The growing consensus from scientists is that human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as being the primary driver of this trend.
All of this points to the obvious fact that, collectively, we need to start paying closer attention to the footprint we leave behind. Here are 8 steps you can take to lessen your impact:
Every little step counts
You may think there’s little you can do to make a difference, or that the problem is too big for any individual to solve. But if there’s anything we can learn from How to Start A Movement by Derek Sivers, it’s that momentum occurs when individuals have the courage to act, and in turn show others how to follow.
Every small action or decision added up over time, across the planet, has a compounding effect that helps to reduce our environmental impact.
Think outside the box to minimise your environmental impact
The growth of the share economy has seen not only the disruption of the transport and accomodation industries, but also a new generation of eco-conscious startups focusing on more sustainable business models.
Electric car rental service Evee enables the owners of Teslas and other EVs to rent out their cars to environmentally conscious drivers. The company has announced plans to expand it’s EV sharing model into five Australian capital cities and offer a broader range of models for customers, including popular Tesla models.
Jaunt Motors is another car rental company, with a difference. They offer unique journeys to explore regional Australia in iconic cars up-cycled into electric vehicles. They believe in creating ‘beautiful adventures’, catering to the growing demand for tourism services that are more adventurous, sustainable and more attuned to local culture.
One of our favourite excuses for a weekend adventure, Riparide is a holiday bookings website with a focus on sustainable wilderness escapes. They offer unique accommodation, experiences, vehicles and outdoor equipment listed by the owners themselves.
So instead of going straight to Booking.com for your next weekend away, why not check out their listings, book an off grid getaway and enjoy an escape that’s good for you and the planet.
As individual travellers, there are steps we can all take to reduce our environmental impact and contribute to a greener future for both the industry and the planet, starting with our travel luggage.
Less is more when it comes to sustainable suitcases, so the golden rule is to pack minimally. The heavier your luggage, the more weight the aircraft must carry, which contributes to higher levels of fuel consumption and in turn, a larger carbon footprint.
Try swapping your toiletries for non-toxic, cruelty-free alternatives. By choosing low-packaging options, not only are you reducing the amount of potential waste but also stealing back space from those half-empty, bulky containers we often carry on holiday.
Be mindful of what you eat
It’s time to be mindful of the food on our plate every day, where it comes from and what it takes to get it there.
There is mounting evidence to support both the health and planetary benefits of the whole-food, plant-based diet. One online resource worth checking out is Plant Proof, which offers a wealth of information on the topic.
On the Plant Proof blog, you will find an ongoing evolution of work addressing different topics ranging from nutrition to sustainability which are relevant to people with different health and performance goals. At its core, each post aims to summarise complex and sometimes confusing nutritional information in a simple way.
Of course, we encourage you to conduct your own research as your diet must be suitable to your specific health needs.
Wear sustainable threads
While previous generations may have opted for the convenience of fast fashion, environmentally-conscious millennials are treading a different path. And clothing labels are listening – improving labour conditions, using eco-friendly materials, and employing greater transparency around their practices.
As conscious shoppers we now expect more from brands in exchange for our loyalty. Our purchase decision goes beyond just the product, to become more of a reflection of what ‘doing good’ means to us.
So if you’re ready to reconsider the brands in your wardrobe, why not play your part for the planet and check out the brands on a mission to produce sustainable and ethical clothing in Australia.
Exercise on the way to work
Why burn gas when you can burn calories instead? If you’re a city-dweller and live close to your workplace, then you might want to consider ditching the car or public transport and walking instead. This is a great option if your workplace has facilities for you to freshen up before you start the work day.
Simply strap on a pair of sneakers or hop on your bike, and you’re good to go! Bonus points for getting your colleagues to join you.
Embrace green products at home
Ditch the traditional chemical-filled products for greener alternatives. Choose cruelty free and natural makeup and toiletries. When it comes to cleaning your home, swap out classic cleaners for eco-cleaners that contain all-natural ingredients and are manufactured in a way that is better for the environment. If you have a house or commercial cleaner, ask them to make the switch to green cleaning too.
Waste not want not
Instead of just throwing out unwanted items in the trash, think about how you can recycle or up-cycle to minimise your environmental impact. This could be as simple as putting the right items in the recycling bin, gifting clothes to a friend, or passing on your pre-loved clothes to an op shop.
When it comes to food scraps, you could implement a composting system. And when it comes to your daily coffee, swap your takeaway cup for a reusable keep cup or go all out with a ceramic cup from Pottery For The Planet. Some eco-conscious cafes might even reward you with a sweet discount for bringing your own cup.
Say no to plastic
While we’re talking about removing waste, let’s turn our attention to plastic as a way of being more mindful of your environmental impact. Plastic is one of the most harmful materials because it ends up in waterways and landfills. Even the process of manufacturing plastic is bad for the environment because it omits destructive pollutants into the atmosphere.
Avoid plastic by using reusable canvas shopping bags instead of single-use bags, use aluminium sports bottles instead of plastic ones, trade in your plastic straws for metal straws, and use ceramic or porcelain plates instead of vinyl.
Get creative and think of ways that you can remove plastic at home and in the workplace to reduce your environmental impact.
Stories for good
This article was first published in This Weekend, a sustainable living guide covering travel, lifestyle and leisure stories that are good for people and the planet.