Doing more by doing less, how to conserve resources

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 at 10:29 PM

Did you know for every two minutes you shorten your shower you can conserve more than 10 gallons of water a day?

Did you know bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water? Drinking two liters of tap water a day only costs 50 cents per year, according to treehugger.com.

Most of the way we live is wasteful and thoughtless. Most of the things we don’t do to help the planet and reduce our carbon footprint are minor, but would sure make a great change.

If people ask me what I want to do, I often reply with, “help change the world.” Most people think it’s funny, but it’s what I really want to do. What I’m passionate about is making a difference and helping in any way I can, and every little thing makes a difference.

Now, some of you might think this is irrelevant to you and you will go on unaffected and not change a thing, and that is fine, you can’t influence everyone and I understand that. But for the few of you who might read this and think about making a change, that is a good start.

Take a shorter shower. Ride your bike or walk instead of driving. Turn the lights off when you leave the room. Cook without preheating the oven. Grocery shop at Aldi or bring your own reusable grocery bags.

Plastic bags are not decomposable and they are making their way into our environment and even more dangerously, our oceans. According to cawrecycles.org, Americans use an average of 84 billion plastic bags a year, which is included into the 500 billion used worldwide.

Another thing, turn the water off when brushing your teeth, there is no point in letting the water run when there is no need for it. When water is dripping out of the faucet, turn it off because almost 14 percent of the average water American families use per day is water leakage. You could reduce the waste of clean water by 14 percent just by turning your sink knob a little tighter when you see it dripping.

Food conservation is another huge thing. According to 109World, if the world’s population was scaled down to a village of 100 people, 15 would be overweight, 15 would have enough food to eat, 20 would be malnourished and 50 people wouldn’t have a reliable source of food and would go hungry everyday.

And many people over fill their plates and throw half of it away. Instead of wasting food, save it in containers and make the most of your leftovers. By freezing your leftovers you’re not just saving food, but you’ll also save a lot of money and be more resourceful.

This next thing is difficult for most, including myself, but I am more consciously aware of it now. Try going vegetarian, even for one day a week. Meatless Mondays are a thing I have done, not consistently, but I have made a sensible effort to try. Did you know to produce one pound of meat it requires 2,500 gallons of water?

Did you know, if over the course of a year, you ate one less burger a week, it would be equivalent to taking your car off the road for 320 miles?

Now I know I’ve thought, what would one day a week do? I really don’t think it would change much, but look at the broader picture. If everyone in America did not eat meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be equivalent to not driving 91 billion miles or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

Now you see, cutting meat out of your life for one day a week has the potential to make a huge difference in the world. Check out earthday.org for more information.

The most littered item in America, according to vanityfair.com, is cigarette butts. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable, no matter what you have been told. There are about 4.5 trillion butts littered each year. Now, despite the fact cigarettes are already horrible for you, they are also horrible for the environment. If you smoke, carry a canister to put your used butts in until you can properly dispose of them to cut down on waste.

Another thing, buy reusable coffee cups. Most coffee cups end up in landfills, which is, again, awful for the environment. Most restaurants will be happy to fill your own coffee mug if you bring one in. First, it will save them product, which is ultimately money, especially if you are a frequent customer and secondly, it is an environmentally friendly choice.

The same thing goes with water bottles. Banthebottle.net states, “According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the U.S. become garbage that ends up in landfills throughout the country. Considering that approximately 60 million plastic water bottles are used every day in the U.S., we can assume that nearly 18,834,000,000 end up in the landfill each year. Each bottle can take up to 700 years to decompose.”

This number is absolutely mind-blowing. Buying reusable water bottles can greatly decrease this number. Recycling plastic water bottles is important, so they don’t end up adding to the 86 percent that end up in landfills.

The list goes on and on. You could print double sided, plant a tree, recycle your unused newspapers, buy recycled items and reuse mailing envelopes. These are only some of the things you could do to make a difference in your life and the world.

So, learn about your own carbon footprint and improve it, lessen it. Do more for the world while doing less. 

Becca Martin is a Copy Editor for The Spectator.

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