Being Environmentally Friendly

How to become at least acquaintances with your planet

Being+Environmentally+Friendly

Tatum Romero, Reporter

“Save the turtles… And I- oop! Sksksksksk!” We all know the stereotype, and it makes conservation look bad. Lucky for you, my friend, being economically friendly does not actually require affiliation with VSCOs. (yay!)

The term “environmentally friendly” is relative. There is no one way to achieve this title, which makes sense, given that there is no one way to live. Helping conserve resources – water and energy, for example – is all it takes. This means doing the little things. Turning off any lights, not in use, and being intentional about water usage are the best ways to start out. Do the little things and build from there. Notice how the term is environmentally friendly, not environmentally intimate. 

How do we learn to be intentional about how much of our resources we are wasting? Well, as for water, you have multiple options. When doing dishes, prevent keeping the water on excessively because you don’t need to fill the bowl to the top before cleaning it. If you leave a cup of water out and don’t want to drink it anymore, rather than pour it down the sink, water your furry and leafy friends. Now how about brushing your teeth or shaving? Easy. Avoid leaving the water running when you aren’t actually using it. This can save up to eight gallons of water a day!¹ Just like that, you can save so much water, and every bit counts (am I right, California?) Saving energy works about the same way. Do you need every light in your house on, especially in broad daylight? No. And guess what? Your lightbulbs are also the problem. By replacing them with LED bulbs, less electricity will be used and they will last a lot longer than incandescent ones. LED light bulbs will also save you money. The cost to purchase an LED light bulb and operate it three hours a day is about $2.81, compared to $8.89 for an incandescent one!² That is kind of a lot.

Now you may be asking yourself the question “when is she going to say something about pollution?” The answer: right now. To be environmentally friendly also means to prevent contributions to air, water, and land pollution. How do we accomplish this? Yet again, so many habits to adopt if you so choose. 

For starters, try to purchase fewer single-use plastics. They are just going to sit in a landfill or be burned – neither of which are very environmentally friendly. Opting for cardboard containers rather than plastic tubs when shopping for groceries is a cheaper and more sustainable way to go. Milk jugs are a killer. There is another way to solve that one if we don’t want the cartons. Did you know, if you buy your milk from the Alta Convenience Store you can return the jug which can be reused an average of 100 times before recycling – reducing waste and saving plastic from our landfills. It’s awesome. If you need to stop reading to buy some environmentally friendly milk, then by all means (the address is 40 N. Highway 67). You’ve heard this one a thousand times, but stop using single-use water bottles! The VSCOs have one thing right, Hydro Flasks (or a cheaper alternative) are the way to go! Same thing with straws and the little packages of utensils that always end up in the landfill. “Reuse, reduce, recycle”, right?!

Living in a small town comes with a huge advantage when it comes to the reduction of pollutants. Can you guess what that is? Carpooling, biking, and walking! How fun. Try it sometime. Climate change is real.

And, there’s another big one. It has to be said… Reduce your meat consumption. By eating less meat, however much you should choose, you are creating less of a demand. This means over time, you are contributing less to the meat industry. This would make planet Earth very happy. Why? Because the meat industry consumes an estimated 40% of global arable land, 36% of crop calories produced, and 29% of agricultural freshwater.³ Yeah, that’s not good. Cutting down on food waste is another good way to conserve. This can be done by not making/ buying more food than can be eaten before it will go bad and by composting scraps and the food that does go bad. It’s that easy; just be aware of what you are eating (or not eating).

Here’s a bonus. Are you ready for it? STOP LITTERING. Chances are, there is a garbage can devastatingly close to that candy wrapper you “didn’t mean” to drop. Do you throw your gum on the ground? Yeah, maybe don’t do that either. Gum is not biodegradable, thanks to polymers (synthetic plastics) used to make the gum. Chewing gum also finds its way into the food chain quite often, meaning the fish you ate was eating random gum – ew.

The path to sustainability is a day to day battle. Join the fight. In the wise words of a popular cliché, “there is no Planet B” – unless you plan to go to Mars with Elon Musk, of course.

 

¹US Department of Energy, Conserving Water, One Drop at a Time. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/conserving-water-one-drop-time

²Graham, J. (2017, September 13). Light Bulb Types: How Much Do LED Lights Save per Year? – Dengarden – Home and Garden. Retrieved from https://dengarden.com/home-improvement/How-Much-Actual-Money-Do-LED-Lights-Save

³Chatman House, https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/2019-02-18MeatAnalogues3.pdf