Climate change is real and an environmental threat to humanity. According to World Wide Life, sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming warmer. Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, Earth’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.

While large-scale actions by governments and businesses alike are required to fight climate change, everyone plays an important part in keeping the environment clean and safe through small, little ways — adopting a sustainable lifestyle is among them.

Sustainable living is the practice of reducing the carbon footprint you leave on the planet. It isn’t an easy commitment, especially when you’re accustomed to your own way of life. But if you want to genuinely help the environment, making a few tweaks in your lifestyle shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Here are some ways you can do to help:

01 Change the lights in your house

Changing the light bulbs in your home to fluorescent lights will significantly reduce the impact on your energy consumption. According to Conserve Energy Future, using longer lasting, energy efficient light sources also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills.

02 Become a member of a community garden

Having a community garden and becoming a member of it is a step towards a cleaner, greener environment. Gardens provide green spaces that play a vital role in offsetting carbon emissions, especially in urban areas.

03 Reduce, reuse, recycle

We’ve learned this in school, but now it’s really the time to apply what we learned in helping make the world cleaner. Try to reduce buying products; this way, there will be less waste. Purchase rechargeable batteries instead of disposable alkaline batteries since they consume less nonrenewable natural resources and have a smaller negative impact on the environment. Print double-sided and recycle paper.

04 Ditch the plastic

Plastics take millions of years to decompose, making it a serious threat in the environment, especially marine life since they end up floating in our waterways as pollution. Large numbers of sea animals are killed every year after ingesting plastics or getting tangled up in them. Using eco-bags, ditching plastic water bottles, and switching to metallic straws provide considerable benefits to the environment.

05 Walk or bike to work

Using your vehicle less does wonders to the environment — it reduces pollution and the consumption of natural resources. Walking or biking as a means of transportation does not only promote sustainability, it also improves your health and reduce the strain on public health resources.

06 Unplug devices not in use

Unplugging your devices that are currently not being used at home reduces energy usage and your monthly electricity bill. In your workplace, turn off and pull the plug on all the peripherals such as printers, speakers and scanners when not in use.

07 Change washing habits

Cut your shower time in half, wash dishes in a sink of water and then rinse them, and cut off the amount of laundry you do to lessen water usage. Make sure you use cold water or warm water when washing clothes as hot water takes the machine longer to fill while consuming more water and using more energy.

08 Switch to renewable energy

Conserve Energy Future recommends installing solar panels for solar water heating and speaking to your utility for a way to add clean power to the grid in order to offset your carbon footprint. Switching to renewable energy over fossil fuels helps significantly in stopping climate change.

09 Go paperless

Nowadays, more and more companies are choosing the online route. Pay your bills online so as to not require any physical receipts — it’ll help reduce paper wastage.

10 Use daylight as much as possible

Taking advantage of the sunlight during the day lessens dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity. Your house lighting will also last longer this way.

11 Go organic

Buy your fruits and vegetables locally. They not only taste better, but they also help in reducing the use of paper, plastics and shipping material. Try restaurants that offer farm-to-table dining once in a while, as well.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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