Sensible Ways to Live More Sustainably (and Cheaply)

The realities of global warming and overpopulation indicate that usable and sustainable water and energy sources are dwindling and damaging gas emissions are increasing at faster rates than any other time in history. As we begin 2019, it makes sense that, along with our New Year’s resolutions to improve ourselves, we also seek to improve our planet. Take a look at why we should be worried about our resources and how we can all live more sustainably, reducing the effects of our lives, particularly our wastes:

The Problem

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2000 the world’s population had more than doubled in just 50 years. By 2020, it’s estimated that figure will have tripled, rising from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 7.5 billion. This increase in the world’s population makes it hard for the Earth to supply the resources needed for daily living: materials to construct buildings; energy sources to power cars and lights and electricity; and water to grow crops and sustain life. There simply aren’t enough natural resources to feed and clothe and shelter everyone. And even the best immigration policies alone can’t alleviate the crowding that exists in most developing countries; an eb1 lawyer can help relocate many immigrants to the U.S., but millions more are being born in the rest of the developing world where resources continue to be stretched thinner and thinner. The problem then is two-fold: how can we curb population growth, and how can we ration our resources so that we (and our children and their children) don’t run out of the things we need to live?

Some Solutions

It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science for anyone to understand that it’s better to use less. Not only does it conserve valuable resources, it also benefits each of us monetarily. We can reduce our energy consumption by riding public transit, as well as buying and using energy-efficient appliances (or better yet, washing our clothes and dishes by hand or forgoing air conditioning all together when possible). We can skip single-use and/or plastic items (like bottled water and disposable cutlery, plates and napkins) and instead opt to wash and reuse non-disposable ones. All of these things benefit the environment, and most are cheaper than the usual alternatives.

We can also shop wisely, choosing products that are local, reusable and made or grown using sustainable methods. Going to restaurants that source their meats and produce from local vendors saves fossil fuels since the transportation from field to store is much shorter than that of products from more distant locations. If we must buy items sourced from across the globe (such as coffee and tea), we can search for and purchase fair-trade ones that utilize environmentally friendly manufacturing methods.

Finally, it’s common sense that we recycle and reuse as much as possible and as often as possible. We should already be recycling the majority of our paper, aluminum and plastic goods. But we can also look specifically for ways to reuse our items (or donate them to others when we can’t). Indeed, gifting any unwanted items to a charity not only saves valuable natural resources, it also provides relief to someone in need. Saving the planet doesn’t have to be daunting, especially if you start with these small steps.

Photo by Autumn Tomlinson

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