Writer: Dani Barnard
Why is it important to educate yourself on the environment?
We only have one planet! With the technology and knowledge we have today, environmental concerns should be a priority. Not only is the planet in danger, but so is biodiversity (the variety of life in the world).
So, what can you do?
Start with the basics: The 4 R’s
- Reduce your consumption. Reducing your overall consumption is the first step in becoming more eco-friendly and sustainable. The US is the most wasteful country in the world with a “up to 239 million tons [of waste produced] annually” 1.
- Reuse. Did your food come in a plastic container? Did your jam come in a glass jar? Clean them out and use them again, increase their lifespan and reduce the waste you contribute to landfills.
- Recycle. To be honest, we do not have a great recycling system in GA and we usually have to pay more money to have a recycling bin. If you are unable to recycle at your home, the Sandy Springs Recycling center accepts all types of recyclable materials and more! (Click here for a link to see what items they accept)
- Rot. You may not have heard of this one before but it is equally as important. “According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 percent of what goes into municipal landfills is food.”2 Food is the largest contributor of waste in US landfills. To reduce your food waste, start a compost bin. If you have a garden, compost can enrich your soil. If not, you can drop off your composting at the Wylde Center in Decatur, or at any of their community gardens around Atlanta. To ensure it doesn’t attract bugs or produce a smell, you can store your compost in the freezer.
5 more ways to reduce your impact & combat climate change:
- Vote! Voting is one of the most important ways to combat the climate crisis by electing the right people to create laws and regulations to hold everyone accountable.
- Stop supporting fast fashion brands and reduce your consumption of fast fashion. Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry as “about 85 percent of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills or is incinerated”3.
- Support local farms and businesses – go to the farmer’s market!
- Try to reduce your consumption of animal products by incorporating: Meatless Mondays, or more plant-based meals in your daily life. “The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less red meat”4.
- Plant a tree or donate to organizations like https://onetreeplanted.org/. Trees, natural climate solutions, are the most simple way to take CO2 and greenhouse gasses out of the air and produce more oxygen.
“We need to Protect, Restore, and Fund” – Greta Thunberg
Climate solutions do not end here, please continue your research and use the resources below to learn more:
- Composting: https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B1189&title=Food%20Waste%20Composting:%20Institutional%20and%20Industrial%20Application
- Fast Fashion: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/8-reasons-rethink-fast-fashion.html
- Beef & Chicken: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/12/4/20993654/chicken-beef-climate-environment-factory-farms
- Nature Now film (3:39) https://www.instagram.com/tv/CHAWEaVpScc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
- Earth Overshoot Day @relauren (0:42) https://www.tiktok.com/@relauren/video/6864647611257785606?lang=en&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6896987629050234373&is_from_webapp=1
- You have been MISLED: Egg Labels (0:43) https://www.tiktok.com/@fivekingdomsfarm/video/6857257319605013765?lang=en&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6896987629050234373&is_from_webapp=1
- The diet that helps fight climate change (5:39) https://youtu.be/nUnJQWO4YJY