The Jakarta Post
Big industries and global governments have plenty of control over what happens to our planet. But in reality, it is the everyday person, the consumer, who has the most control. (Shutterstock/Pop Tika)
We may have less than a decade left to prevent the worst possible climate change scenario, Science Alert has concluded based on a new report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, and various species are becoming extinct or dying before we even have the chance to discover them.
Big industries and global governments have plenty of control over what happens to our planet. But in reality, it is the everyday person, the consumer, who has the most control. There are small and easy steps you can take to help the planet.
Driving less, recycling more and washing clothes in cold water are well-known ways to begin making a difference. Here are seven other steps to consider.
1. Stop using face scrubs
Cleansing your face with scrubs may make you feel squeaky clean, however, those tiny beads in your face scrubs can be harmful to the environment. They are tiny fragments of plastic that, when washed off our faces, go through the drain before ending up in rivers and oceans.
Microbeads have reportedly been found in the stomachs of fish and other marine organisms, according to BBC Focus magazine. Let us help make sure that the tiny beads are not in the stomachs of our freshly caught fish.
2. Fewer meats, fewer problems, sort of
Cutting back on meat has a positive effect on the environment. Despite this, replacing the calorie count of beef with plant-based foods is not always better, as a higher volume of vegetables means more resources in production.
The best solution then is to plan weekly meals. Follow a simple and balanced diet and buy only as much food as you need. Avoid overconsumption and wasting food. Basically, be healthy.
3. No need to be all-organic
Generally speaking, fewer pesticides and fertilizers are needed to grow organic food, which does hold benefits, but organically grown food that is unprotected or aided in its progress yields 25 percent fewer crops than non-organic varieties.
This means that it takes 25 percent more land to produce the same amount of food, which impacts the planet. Some practices applied in organic production such as crop rotation and mixed planting could benefit soil health, but going organic is not the only solution. Many foods that do not label themselves as organic are not necessarily less healthy.
4. Take a quick shower
Less than 10 minutes in the shower already uses up about 65.1 liters of water, and this consumption does not take into consideration the electricity or gas that is used to heat water for warm showers.
In many parts of the world, especially near the equator, people shower more than once a day, but being too clean actually strips the skin of natural moisturizers.
5. Selfies for scientists
Did you know that taking a selfie with a stream could help scientists? Izaac Walton League of America’s Stream Selfie campaign, for instance, uses selfies taken with a stream in the background to help scientists monitor water quality.
Photos need not stop at streams. Take a photo of cabbage white butterflies, for example, for the Pieris Project (http://www.pierisproject.org/) to help scientists complete data on the distribution of butterflies as the planet gets warmer. Find more projects you can help at SciStarter.
6. Manual brewing is more eco-friendly
While a state-of-the-art espresso machine uses a lot of electricity to run, single-use coffee pods for simpler machines at home produce extra waste for the planet. Brew your coffee manually at home, or get your espresso-based drinks from coffee shops only. Use your own tumbler for takeaways.
7. Reusable tumblers are in, plastic bottles are out
Bottled water is bad for the environment, and in far worse ways than you realize. Not only does it take 1.39 liters of water to make a 1 liter bottle, but, in the United States alone, it takes about 54 million barrels of oil to produce bottled water, according to a published study in the Environmental Research Letters journal.
Kopernik Solutions is currently in the testing stage for the development of effective water filters in Indonesia to allow for sustainable management of water and sanitation. In the meantime, take your reusable water bottles everywhere you go. (acr/mut)