4 Easy Ways to Help the Environment
April 18, 2017
cut down food waste
There are countless editorials and news stories on the amount of food that North Americans consume every year, but there is far less coverage of what we don’t eat. On average people in North America throw out about 40% of their food every year. This food waste ends up in landfills (instead of our own stomachs or donated to the poor) and produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Not to mention the waste of time and resources it took growers to grow the food.
The most obvious way to cut back is to cook less and therefore waste less. You could also keep track of what gets thrown out every garbage day and adjust your shopping list to cut out items you always buy but never end up using. Learning to eat leftovers more often and understanding the real meaning of expiry dates can also stop you from throwing out food that’s still good. We also donate food too from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on a weekly basis.
cut down food packaging
It’s not only food itself that we waste on a regular basis, but food packaging. Food packaging makes up a huge portion of all packaging waste, which simply means more garbage in landfill, more methane, and more greenhouse gases.
Simple things like paper coffee cups and plastic bags that we put our vegetables in all contribute to packaging waste. To cut back you can do simple things like carrying a reusable mug or water bottle. If you want to think bigger you could try visiting a zero waste grocery store, which are becoming more popular and popping up in more locations across Canada.
We always bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store, and we steer clear of pre-packaged goods by buying mostly produce.
drive less often
There is no doubt that driving is convenient, but it also releases dangerous greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Depending on the size and emissions of the car you drive, your footprint will vary. But regardless of whether you drive a hybrid car or an SUV, there are options that reduce your emissions. As the weather gets nicer bicycling and walking become more enjoyable, while taking public transit is an easy eco-friendly option all year long. Maybe car-pooling can work for you too. We spend a couple days a month having to drive to Toronto together and are blown away with 1000’s of cars with single drivers. Ask your employer if you can work from home one day a week. There is always another way to live our lives more efficiently.
stop eating animal products
Eating animal products is something we cut out of our own diets for health and ethical reasons. But, not surprisingly, there are also massive environmental benefits. Raising animals for consumption uses up land, food, water, and energy. Factory-farming is the greatest consumer of food, grain, land, water. Period. Though we hear a lot about vehicle exhaust and factory emissions, over half of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world are caused by animal agriculture.
Animals drink water (1847 gallons are used to produce 1 POUND of BEEF, Chicken use 518 gallons of water per pound – read more here) and eat crops, they produce methane gas and excrement, enormous areas of land have to be cleared for them to live on, farms have to be cleaned and maintained, and much more. There is pesticide and antibiotic run-off into streams and water reservoirs that kills off wildlife and destroys our clean drinking water. To read more about the affect animal agriculture has on the environment you can visit PETA here .
The bottom line is that the production of animal products and by-products wastes the most resources and generates the most emissions on our beautiful planet…..unnecessarily.
No matter what your lifestyle or diet, you can always do more to help the environment (like Meatless Mondays!). By making even the smallest changes to your daily routine you can cut back your environmental footprint and do your part to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. Comment below and let us know what you do to help the environment!