From baseball-sized hail hitting the Midwest and snow in Los Angeles to fire threats across Arizona, it almost seems that wherever you are, the effects of climate change follow. It can become frustrating, even paralyzing at times, and fill us with fear and worry.
But, it’s not too late. We can still avoid the most extreme dangers of climate change. While individual action can go so far, and the power resides in governments, policies, and corporations, our decisions matter, too. We can make a difference with our choices, whether that’s choosing to carry a Cliffset or dining in instead of ordering takeout.
We’ve created a list of three ways to live more sustainably this April (and every day after)!
Ditch the single-use plastic and find reusable alternatives.
Exactly as it sounds, single-use plastics cannot be recycled. These goods are made predominantly from petrochemicals (fossil fuel-based chemicals) and accumulate in landfills and oceans for centuries. As a consequence of the throwaway culture, we’ve prioritized convenience over quality and have forgotten to consider the long-term impacts. Today, we’re producing about 400 million tons of plastic waste each year, which then finds itself in our oceans and hurts our aquatic ecosystems.
Most food packaging today is designed to be single-use and litter our waterways. Our ancestors consumed food from where it was found. No grocery shops or delivery services existed. Then, with the emergence of global trade came a surge in international shipping and the birth of the packaging sector. As countries became dependent on one another and as global demand grew, it became crucial to find packaging to extend shelf life. Then, consumer habits changed, too. Following World War II, we began to appreciate the convenience of fast-food chains, leading to an exponential growth of global plastics production.
Reducing our plastic use is key. Policymakers have imposed single-use plastic bans from NYC to England and India. Corporations are finding alternatives to swap out their single-use plastic straws and utensils. Startups, such as Ecoactive (the masterminds behind Mushroom Packaging) are investing in the development of alternative packaging materials. We can do our part, too! Pack your Cliffset for sustainable eating on the go, cook more often, and pack a reusable tote when shopping. For the hummus fanatics, check out this fast, affordable, and delicious way to make your own hummus!
Be mindful of what you consume…and what you waste.
To tackle the climate crisis, we also need a radical transformation of our land and food systems, which account for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, the gasses produced from agricultural production to transport and packaging trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.
It’s time to take a look at what we eat.
Beef production, for example, produces an enormous amount of methane--a more powerful trapper of heat than carbon dioxide, overall contributing to rising temperatures. A plant-based diet, on the other hand, significantly reduces the offset of carbon emissions. This not only reduces the methane emissions into the atmosphere, but also uses less water, protecting our oceans and aquatic life.
Eating plant-based means simply incorporating more plant-derived food into your diets. That could look like avoiding meat and dairy once a week! Plus, there’s a ton of health benefits associated with a plant-rich diet.
Food waste is another problem--for both the environment and your wallet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over one-third of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten, and instead, rotting in landfills and producing methane. So, the next time you go grocery shopping, take a look at what’s in your fridge first!
Use your voice, and use your wallet to vote.
Speak up, let your representatives know, and vote for politicians who champion effective climate action! Buy from brands with an environmental focus, like Patagonia, or use OfferUp for second-hand goods.
Challenge yourself this April to develop more sustainable habits!