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The environment is a hot subject right now in all senses of the word. The planet is heating up, the climate is changing and whether you are looking at the local or global scale, the environment is suffering as a consequence. And yet, for all that we are all talking about the effects of global warming and human activity, we are all still at a loss for what we can do.
Because the climate is such a huge topic, it is difficult to comprehend how a seemingly innocuous decision made by you one rainy Tuesday can possibly have ramifications beyond your experience. And yet, cumulatively, we are all responsible for what is happening to the planet around us.
So how can you make changes to make a real, positive difference?
Money: Green Investments
Money makes the world go around but increasingly, capitalist ventures are making it harder to save the world when profit is at stake. Many businesses are now making small steps to become more eco-friendly such as cutting down travel and being more efficient but where you choose to put your money is just as important.
Investing is a way of putting your confidence in a business and supporting its development on the basis that you will get a financial reward. But choosing which investments to go for is a really important step. If you want to make a real difference to the planet, you should be looking at investments that won’t just make you profit but that will also give the world a better chance at survival.
For example, you might consider investing in solar panels as they will give you the return you are looking for over a period of time but they will also provide your home with clean energy. If you want to think a little bigger, then you could even invest in woodland. This is a great way to preserve woods that could otherwise be under threat, contribute to the sustainable wood market and provide a natural habitat all in one.
Where you put your money matters.
Lifestyle: Go Plastic Free
If there is one massive issue that needs an urgent solution it is plastic. Plastic is so far-reaching and so pervasive in society that National Geographic is now keeping a running list of the action being taken around the world to limit its effects from banning plastic straws to businesses committing to reduce their use and production of plastic.
Once again, it is easy to feel like your own use of plastic is negligible compared to that of large businesses but you still have a lot of consumer power. And there are a lot of different ways that you can reduce your own plastic use. In fact, this list of 100 ways to reduce your plastic use shows the scope for just how many small changes you can make – just start with a few simple ones like carrying reusable shopping bags and not using plastic straws in restaurants and you will be on your way already.
Plastic is hidden everywhere from your tea bags to your shoes and the more you see it, the more you can start cutting out of your lifestyle. Try going to plastic-free shops and buying products in bulk but when you really can’t avoid plastic the best thing you can do is buy a product that will last for as long as possible. In fact, this is a rule you should follow in general, not just when it comes to plastic.
Education: Keep Reading About the Environment
The more we know about climate change and the more we discuss it, the more stressful it becomes. Indeed, Quartz even ran a story about increased mental health issues among the population as a result of ‘ecoanxiety’. But the solution is not to bury your head in the sand. Instead, you should try to educate yourself and others so that you can become part of the solution.
You don’t have to save the world all by yourself but if you can continue the conversation beyond all the problems and start thinking about what you could do to start solving a few issues you will find that you have more power than you think. Though you may not be able to stop all the plastic that goes into the ocean, you can raise money for people who have a good idea of how to do that, reduce your own plastic consumption and recycle as much as you can.
Everyone can make a positive difference to the environment. You just have to start.