Climate change, air pollution, plastic infesting our oceans… With all the problems in the world today, enacting real change can seem like an impossible task. However, every action makes a difference and can inspire others to follow suit. Here are five small ways to make a difference in your day-to-day activities.
1. Start a petition to Ditch the Straw
Straws are extremely common in cafeterias, fast food restaurants, and workplace kitchens. Though we all love to use straws, these single-use products are detrimental to the environment in multiple ways. They are produced and used quickly, they take years to decompose in landfills, and can harm wildlife that encounters them. A simple way to make a difference in the environment is to Ditch the Straw - whether you make an internal promise to stop using straws, or create a petition in your work or school to stop using straws, every little bit counts. If you can’t quite kick your straw habit, choose paper straws or reusable straws instead.
Composting is the ultimate passive eco-friendly activity! By taking food waste out of your trash and composting it, you can reduce your carbon footprint and create rich soil at the same time. Check out our blog post about composting here.
3. Go “Plogging”
You might have seen an article on social media about this fitness trend which combines jogging and picking up trash! All you need is a trash bag and gloves, and a route to tackle. Experts say that “plogging” helps you get the most out of a jog because you squat down to pick up trash, and carry extra weight as you gather more trash. You get to exercise and save the world at the same time!
4. Volunteer at (or start!) a community garden
These idyllic patches of greenery are beautiful and help your community! Food grown in community gardens can be enjoyed by the community or donated to a local food pantry. Additionally, the luscious greenery can add beauty and environmental benefits to an urban setting. Check out a map of local community gardens here!
5. Low hanging fruit: energy efficiency
Ensuring your appliances are energy-efficient is a simple and cost-effective way to make a difference. Consider using LED lights instead of fluorescents or incandescents, and when it’s time to replace an appliance in your home, opt for the energy-efficient version. For example, choose the dual-flush toilet or high efficiency washer instead of the normal version of these frequently-used appliances.
What small things do you do to make a difference? Share pictures or stories with us on Facebook (at our page, Piedmont Environmental Alliance) or on Instagram (@peanorthcarolina).
Elizabeth Mitchell is a junior at UNC Chapel Hill and is a summer intern for PEA. She has been interested in environmentalism from a young age, and is majoring in political science and sustainability.