They said the world was ending in 2012, and that life on Earth as we knew it then was coming to an end. For a lot of us, it was a conspiracy theory that we bought into, or at least I know I did. Metaphorically they were right on the nose, things haven’t felt the same since then. Though the conspiracy theorists may have wrongly predicted the end of the world (literally), we have scientists who have more accurately predicted something so colossal. According to scientists, 11 years (United Nations, 2019) is all that we have left to make small changes to help reverse the effects of climate change. 

We all contribute our carbon footprint on Earth. Things like using plastic shopping bags and single-use water bottles contribute to our carbon footprint. The word sustainable is one that’s been heard a lot of in the past couple of years. More people are starting to talk about what it means to be sustainable, and taking action to lead more sustainable lives. Here are 3 ways you can as well.

1.    Eat less meat and dairy 

It’s really hard to say no to a  juicy burger, and cheese whether it be a few pieces or a whole block (I’m not judging). As delicious as it all is, meat and dairy consumption are responsible for 60% of agriculture’s gas emissions (Carrington, 2018). Fewer gasses are emitted by eating less meat and dairy, but it also means needing less livestock which currently uses up 83% of all the land used currently for agriculture (Carrington, 2018). Eating less meat and dairy would mean needing less land to cater to livestock. That newly acquired land could be used for trees that would help lessen our carbon footprint simply because trees needing carbon to live.

2.    Out with the plastic bags, in with the reusable bags 

I always find myself taking impromptu trips to the grocery store on my way home from work or school. I rarely have a reusable bag with me to carry my groceries home which means I’d need to buy bags. The convenience of being able to buy plastic bags when grocery shopping is hard to dispute. The thing about plastic bags is that though they may be convenient in last-minute grocery trips they usually find themselves in landfills. Of all the waste that we create as humans, plastic items can take anywhere from ten to a thousand years to biodegrade (LeBlanc, 2019). Bringing a reusable bag with you when grocery shopping limits the amount of plastic that can potentially find its way into a landfill allowing us to use the land for… TREES!

3.    Buy – and I can’t stress this enough – second-hand items

Fashion is cyclical, the trends that exist now are all iterations of trends of the past. There is a certain excitement that comes with being to own the latest clothing trends coming from trendy fast-fashion stores. All of it’s been made before and you can find it in second-hand stores. In this age of consumerism, the clothing that we buy from fast-fashion giants tends to only live in our closet for two seasons. Last year’s clothing is disposed of to make way to the fresh new trends. Some of the clothing that’s gotten rid of is donated to thrift stores but most of it ends up in landfills. Shopping second-hand is sustainable because it doesn’t require any new resources and helps keep clothes out of landfills. 

If every one of use makes a few small changes, those small changes will have a greater impact than a few people making big changes. So hopefully by the time the decade is over the effects of climate changes will have been reversed and the idea of the world ending will again be linked to conspiracy theorists.

By: Sedina Srigboh

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