5 simple steps towards a sustainable lifestyle
By Laurel Wade
With Earth Day in the rearview mirror, many people forget that the environment needs our help everyday. Living a sustainable life can be overwhelming, but here are five reasonable ways to start a lifestyle that helps rather than hurts the environment.
1. Eat less meat
Beyond Meat is a company that realized the average human’s meat consumption is not sustainable for the future and decided to do something about it. They have focused their efforts on making a meat that is plant-based, sustainable, and satisfying. A student group at University of Michigan completed a study comparing Beyond Meat and animal based protein sources in 2018, and made many discoveries. They identified that Beyond Meat releases “90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, and uses 93% less land than a ¼ pound of U.S. beef.” Read more about the study here.
2. Buy thrifted clothes and furniture
Thrifting for clothes and furniture is a great pastime and way to reuse items that could end up in a landfill. Many major clothing companies use fast fashion to make money, this is highly unsustainable and often uses child labor. According to SustainYourStyle, the fashion industry is accountable for ten percent of global carbon emissions due to mass manufacturing and shipping millions of pieces of fabric each year. Trying to avoid big chains that use unnatural fabrics and fast fashion will eliminate a portion of the carbon emissions. Thrifting is also a cheaper alternative for clothes and furniture.
3. Go paperless when possible
Rather than printing receipts at restaurants and stores, ask for the employee to email it to you when offered. In addition, students can try editing papers online instead of printing and editing. These are easy habits that can have a lasting effect.
4. Use a reusable water bottle
Using a reusable water bottle is an easy way to cut down on plastic use. According to BeBottle, more than 38 billion plastic water bottles end up at U.S. landfills every year. Many companies burn plastic bottles in order to get rid of waste; however, when burned, the bottles release toxic chemicals. Using a reusable water bottle reduces chemicals in the air and will also save money. Read more about water bottles helping the environment here.
5. Avoid driving
Try to drive only when necessary; instead, take a walk, ride a bike, skateboard, or go rollerblading. During the summer, taking alternative forms of transportation like those mentioned above, is also a good source of vitamin D. Not using a car as often will also save money for gas and car upkeep. While Bettendorf is not a big city, it is not small enough to walk everywhere; therefore, when driving is necessary, try carpooling.
Even though Earth Day is done for this year, it is important to remember that everyone’s actions matter and even the smallest step helping the environment can make a difference. By taking small steps everyday, the common person can achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
Laurel Wade is a senior.
This is her second year as a staff writer for The Growl
and her first as editor.