Here’s a contributed article by Elizabeth Tan on individual acts that you can make in order to live sustainably.
Do your part for the environment just because you can
No, I’m not asking you to pick up litter on the beach. A one-off activity is good but it’s not enough and we’re probably tired of such activities since they were forced upon us in primary school. Instead, here are simple decisions taken from TIME’S Global Warming Survival Guide. Simple decisions that you can make everyday. Simple decisions that can become lifestyle habits. Lifestyle habits that can influence. And you won’t just be doing something for the environment, you’ll be doing something for yourself too.
1. Skip the Steak (read article)
For the environment: The international meat industry generates about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s higher than what the transport industry generates! Slowing our consumption of meat will help to curb the increase of global meat production which is expected to double before 2050.
For yourself: Cut down your meat intake and reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. Eat less hamburgers and fight the flab. Increase your fiber intake instead. Do it for your health, do it for the environment.
2. Take Another Look at Vintage Clothing (read article)
For the environment: Wearing pre-loved clothes means you can save the energy used in producing a new piece and thus lessen the carbon emissions associated with it. Reducing the use of textiles like cotton would also greatly reduce the amount of pesticides which are often lavished on cotton plantations.
For yourself: Throw a clothes exchange party with your friends. Your friend has an extra black spaghetti top and you have a pair of pants you don’t wear anymore. 100% savings! Ka-ching!
Lady friends, I’m gonna start contacting you soon to swap clothes :) And I’ll gladly wait for my mother’s hand-me-downs instead of buying new dresses and shirts. Any guys interested in wearing my younger brothers’ shirts?
3. Have a Green Wedding (read article)
For the environment: There are many ways you can do it green. Consider it your wedding gift to the planet. It will also be a great opportunity to raise awareness for the environment with your loved ones and friends.
For yourself: Lots of fun in planning a new-themed wedding guaranteed! Your wedding will be original and different. I’m having a crazy time thinking of crazy ideas for my wedding!
I’m already planning to have my wedding outdoors. Dress-theme: Shorts or sexy beach wear. We’ll all be wearing so little we wouldn’t need air con. Definitely no meat at my wedding, maybe just fish. People will leave my wedding satiated but guilt-free. No one has to worry about burning the calories of an 8-course meal.
4. Use ECOFONT (website)
For the environment: Ink and toner are some of the most polluting liquids in the world. The production of ink is a process which results in high carbon emissions and printing with ECOFONT uses up to 25% less toner than usual fonts; thus reducing your carbon footprint.
For yourself: Your ink cartridge stays full longer and you’ll have more cash in your wallet for other joys in life.
Oh, download of ECOFONT is free :)
5. Just Say No to Plastics Bags (read article)
For the environment: Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They take a 1000 years to breakdown in landfills. Burning them releases poisonous fumes into the air. You’re hearing this for the 100th time. Still, more than 500 billion plastic bags are being distributed every year. And you’ll hear this 100 more times if you don’t say NO to plastic bags today.
For yourself: Carrying plastic bags are not cool when there are stylish environmental friendly bags to adorn your shoulders. Seriously. Fashion check! Anyway, you already know that you can use these non-plastic bags a 1000 times over. Wear and tear is minimal. I can poke a hole in your plastic bag and trust me I will. Make the switch today.
Cotton On (Rubi) is having a fantastic sale on shoes, like they always do. I just got a pair of clogs for $5 yesterday! Before you proceed to cash in your great buys, purchase a cotton bag* for your shoes instead – $2 only. Say no to plastic bags and use these cotton bags forever.
*Buy only one cotton bag because we should reduce our use of textiles too. Or if you already have environmental friendly bags at home, just use them instead of purchasing new ones :)
Remember this stylish bag by Cotton On? Now they have one for shoes too! I can’t find a picture of it online and I’m not home now to take a picture of mine. These cotton bags are part of Cotton On’s Project Mannya and your support will also help to improve the living conditions of the village of Mannya in Uganda.
What I’m going to do for the environment today:
My boss gave me a mug today. I’m bringing it for lunch to eat my frozen yogurt straight out of it. Tomorrow, Winnie and I will bring our own tupperwares to work for takeaway breakfasts/lunches/tea-time snacks. We’re doing our part just because we can. It’s not difficult. What are you doing for the environment today?