By Anne B
Hey, hey Ramblers! I'm so sorry for not posting the past few weeks and for posting this one after Thursday! The past few weeks have been hectic with the end of the semester and deadlines for the lab. Anyways, this week I'm going to give you guys some ways that you can help our little Earth without having to spend a penny! I know as a young adult it can be very hard to give money towards things that will help the planet because our budgets are often too tight. So, I hope this list will motivate, inspire, and show you that you can help our planet without worrying about your bank account! In other words, no more excuses!
1. Educate Yourself
I think this is the most important thing. Nowadays, we can so easily and quickly access resources to educate ourselves on the planet, climate change, recycling, space, anything really. The more knowledge you have on everything that is happening, the more actions you'll actually be able to take to help Mother Earth.
2. Recycle Properly
Did you know that if you throw something that is not recyclable into your recycle, it does more harm than good? Sometimes, if a whole load of recyclables is contaminated, the items will all go to landfill. So much for recycling, right?
Another good thing to keep in mind when recycling is to rinse your items and remove lids from bottles and jars. In most cases, if you recycle something that it is dirty, it will also contaminate any recyclables that can't be easily separated from it.
3. Use Reusable Bags
This is pretty self explanatory. If you don't already, you should really consider bringing reusable bags whenever you go out. There are so many foldable bags out there that can fit into your pocket, wallet, or purse/bag.
I put this as a free thing to do because most people have bags in their homes that they can use or you can reuse the plastic bags you got from the grocery store if you don't have anything else! It's not perfect, but it's better than throwing them out after only using them once.
4. Tab for a Cause
Tab for a cause is a tab extension thingy you can add to your browser. It's like Momentum tabs, but it gives money to charities. Once you add this to your browser (click the link above), every time you open a new tab, you'll get a heart. You'll also see a nice background and some ads. All the revenue that Tab for a cause gets from those ads goes to several charities: from equal education, human rights, and planet conservation.
You use the hearts you earn to "donate" them to the charities you want the money to go to. Two to four times a year, Tab for a cause donates the money they've earned to the charities on their list. The charity with the most hearts gets the most money, and so on.
Since most of us use the internet all the time and open so many tabs, this is one of the easiest ways to give back.
Ecoasia is a searching engine that plants trees! Every time you search the web using Ecoasia, search ads generate income. Ecoasia then uses that income to plant trees. To make this easier, you can even add Ecoasia as an extension so that you can replace your google, bing, yahoo, etc. search bar with it. In other words, whenever you search using that top search bar of your browser, you'll be using Ecoasia and contributing to planting trees, without spending a dime!
6. Get Involved
Go to climate change marches, go protest with fellow beings, vote for people who care about the planet, volunteer or work for organisations that are eco-friendly, etc.
7. Reduce Your Meat and Dairy Intake
We've talked about this on the blog and podcasts before, so I'll spare you the details. I don't expect you to become vegetarian or vegan overnight. Hell, I still struggle with meat cravings and am not 100% vegetarian! It's hard when you've grown up eating meat all the time, but it is possible to reduce or cut off meat/ dairy. For me, cutting out dairy was relatively easily since I became lactose intolerant during high school. I still eat meat once in a while, but I am mainly vegetarian. I probably eat meat maximum 3-4 times a month.
If I can do it, so can you! Just start by doing Meatless Monday or something like that. It might only be a day, but cutting out meat or dairy for just a day has a big impact!
8. Use Public Transportation
Reducing driving is a great way to reduce your CO2 emissions and gasoline usage. However, I know this isn't always possible for people who live in areas with poor public transportation or where everything is far apart. If there isn't much public transportation in your area, you could try setting up a carpooling system!
9. Be Mindful of What You Buy
Do your research before going shopping. Look into which brands use sustainable methods and materials, are cruelty-free, are ethical, etc. I know that can take a lot of time, but luckily, there are plenty of eco-friendly blogs out there that have created lists for pretty much anything. All you really need to do is search "sustainable whatever-you-need-to-buy" and you'll probably find some lists with which brands are the best. Bonus, if you do that search with Ecoasia, you'll also help plant a tree.
10. Be Mindful of What You Throw Away
Before throwing something into the trash, ask yourself these questions: Can it be save? Reused? Recycled? Composted? Traded (using Bunz)? Donated?
Composting can be free or it can cost money if you want to set up a composting station at your place. You can compost for free by keeping your scraps in the freezer and then taking them somewhere with a composting bin. For instance, farmers at the farmers market often will take your scraps for their own compost. Many universities also have composting bins in their cafeterias, residential halls, and so on. If you're lucky, your work might even have a compost area!
Alright Ramblers, that is all my slightly foggy, sick brain can think of right now! If I think of other free ways to help the planet, I will definitely add them to this list! Also, the next sustainability blog that comes out will be on swaps you can make to be more sustainable, so make sure to keep an eye for that one!
Let me know what you thought in the comments! Happy vegan month and ramble on!