Why Sustainable Living is the Only Way
Lately, being a more environmentally conscious person has become exceedingly popular. There are laws that have been passed in many US states mandating that grocery stores no longer carry plastic bags, recycling bins are now more common, and using less plastic is becoming a movement.
Living in Arizona, it is not the most environmentally friendly state, but it’s something that I have been working on and giving more thought to. I want to make an impact however small it is. Why should we be more environmentally friendly AND aware?
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Statistics and Facts: Where Our World Is Headed
1. First, pollution is one of the biggest killers, affecting more than 100 million worldwide.
2. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water
3. People who live in high density air pollution area, have 20% higher risk of dying from lung cancer. Arizona is ranked among most polluted cities in the nation. We are ranked number 5 for most polluted city nationwide for ozone. This is very unsettling to think about, but instead of living in fear we should find ways to improve our impact on the environment
4. The United States produces 30% of the worlds waste and uses 25% of the worlds natural resources.
5. There are more then 73 kinds of pesticides in the groundwater ,which is used as drinking water.
6. Every year around one trillion gallons of untreated sewage and industrial waste is dumped in US water.
7. Composting and recycling alone have prevented 85 million tons of waste to be dumped.
It’s so easy to go about our everyday lives and ignore the fact that our actions are affecting the environment. We are not only destroying the resources that this earth has to offer us, but we are destroying ourselves in the process. We can learn our soon to be fate by looking at ancient civilizations that have collapsed. A universally common element in such downfalls of these civilizations is called “declining marginal returns”. This basically means when a society hits an optimum level, conquest or good harvests provide the resources for it to grow, but being bigger, it needs more. When more resources are needed than can be provided, that is when the end can come suddenly and catastrophically.
Two highly evolved societies collapsed in this way, the Mayan civilization in central America and the kingdom of Mesopotamia which ranged across parts of modern day Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. My hope for us is as a people is that we wake up and take responsibility and action to live within our means. Obviously, we live in a consumer based society instead of a necessity based society, so this is no easy feat. But if you are interested to do your part however, small here are some tips to move towards sustainable living.
Zero Waste Living
1. Become well versed in the three R’s -Reduce, reuse, recycle.
2. Ditch plastic packaging – Americans generate 32 million tons of plastic waste, 14 million of which are plastic containers and packaging. Instead opt for glass or stainless -steel containers. Or even bring a mason jar to the store and buy food in the bulk food section instead of packaged food. Get rid of plastic water bottles as well. A great water bottle brand is hydro flask. It keeps your water as cool as a cucumber all day even if its 100 plus degrees.
3. Eliminate disposable paper products – Choose reusable cloth versions of paper towels and napkins. In the long run it’s a win win, you will save the environment and money.
4. Minimize food waste – Most US families end up wasting about $1,350 in food annually. That’s equivalent to tossing out one of every four grocery bags you bring home. Start using leftovers for other meals, and turn food scraps into jams or sauces. You can even freeze leftover food for a quick meal later, instead of throwing it away because it will go bad.
5. Smarter period – For all the ladies out there, don’t ever buy tampons again and opt for a reusable menstrual cup such as the diva cup. Not only are tampons harmful for you because of there toxic chemicals, but to the environment as well. You will also save an average of $100 to $150 a year. That means more ice-cream.
6. Shop second hand – Instead of buying brand new clothes go to some nice thrift stores. Not only are clothes made cheap and don’t last as long, but they are so dang expensive. Some of my favorite thrift stores and Buffalo Exchange, Plato’s closet, and random cute thrift stores I come across.
Bringing awareness to the state of where our environment is at is not only helpful but allows us to make a difference. We must learn from the mistakes of the past and treat this planet with more respect. It is our home that provides everything we need. Its like a relationship. You can’t treat your girlfriend or boyfriend like crap always demanding and taking and never cleaning up. Soon there will be nothing left to take, and you will have nothing. Our earth needs respect, love, and to be taken care of.