Happy Earth Day!
We're only given one planet to live on and it needs our help more than ever. If you feel like your efforts won't make that big of a difference, that's simply not true. When small acts happen in big amounts, that's when we'll see change. More and more people are realizing we are destroying our planet and we can make small changes to help.
So I encourage you today to try and start with one of these 5 ways to help the environment. Then maybe add another one in a few weeks or a month. Your efforts will make a difference and I bet you reap some other benefits from them.
Cut out or cut back on meat
The #1 way to help the environment is to give up, or at least cut back, on your meat intake. All animal agriculture is a burden on the environment, but beef is the worst. Just going plant-based for 2/3 of your meals could cut your carbon footprint by 60%! Some research shows that beef requires 28 times more land, six times more fertilizer and 11 times more water compared to the other animal agriculture.
Besides helping the environment, you'll also save money and better your health. This study found that people who consumed 50g more of processed meat daily (about 2 pieces of bacon) had 41% higher chance of dying in a given year.
Stop using so much plastic
In a study called “It's Raining Plastic” scientists found that plastic showed up in 90% of the samples. This plastic couldn't be seen with the naked eye, but it could be seen using a binocular microscope. This isn't the first time plastic has been found in rain and it's a major sign that we are using too much of it!
US landfills are said to have around 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone! Now think of how many plastic bags there are on top of that. Plastic is not only one of the worst things for our environment, but also health. Plastic has been linked to weight gain, hormone disruption and other health issues. Don't think just because it's BPA-free it's necessarily better for you because it's not.
I know it's hard to avoid ALL plastic but you can definitely cut back by not using plastic water bottles. Instead use one like this. Use glass storage containers instead of plastic Tupperware and skip the plastic bags for one of these – they're my favorite! I'm also a huge fan of these straws.
One thing to definitely avoid is heating up plastic in the microwave as plastic has shown to leach even more chemicals when it's heated!
Eat more at home
Now I'm not saying to never eat out again, but making more of your food at home is less wasteful. Takeout and fast food is one of the biggest sources of litter. Think about how many coffee's are sold alone! Where do you think all of those cups end up?
Eating more at home is also better for you! It will save you money and keep you healthy! When most people eat out they actually eat more than what they would have at home. We also know the exactly ingredients that are going into the food we're making at home. The majority of take-out has added sugars, oils and other ingredients we don't even realize.
This is something I just started doing in the last year. I started juicing again and felt like I had to do something better with the pulp. Composting helps to keep food out of landfills and waterways, which is important for the environment because, there it turns into a destructive greenhouse gas called methane.
Composting is basically recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem. This helps to enrich soil and provide plants with a lot more nutrients. Even if you don't live in a house, there's some communities that have local composting programs. Just do a little research (google/yelp 😉) to find out.
Shop in bulk
The bulk section helps reduce waste when you use reusable bags or storage containers. It reduces packaging and saves you money! Some foods that I like to buy in bulk are dried beans, lentils, grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats), flours, nuts and seeds.
This post contains amazon affiliate links. That means MegUnprocessed makes a very small portion from anything you might buy that I recommend here. This helps keep MegUnprocessed going so I greatly appreciate it.