Be a small part of a bigger battle – How to live in an eco-friendly way that works for you

Krista Hanson 

Viewpoints Editor 

Global warming and protecting the Earth has become a highly political topic. But at the end of the day, the issue seems fairly simple: make big changes to help the Earth and the environment to cut down on the ways we contribute to its destruction before our habits destroys us.  

There are a couple ways of doing this. It has become more accessible and more common for people to start living more sustainable lifestyles. This aims to reduce one’s environmental impact in ways that are sustainable for the Earth and for each individual person.  

With similar goals and patterns, some decide to adopt more of a zero waste lifestyle. Living sustainably means lowering one’s overall impact on the environment, while living zero waste means primarily finding ways to reduce the amount of trash that a person produces.  

At the end of the day, both are extremely important. While the amount of waste that people create is astronomical, it is not the only issue we need to fight in order to protect our home. Knowing this, the low-impact movement has been opted for instead in many cases. It shifts the focus more toward the goals of living sustainably.  

Living sustainably or living green sounds like a lot of work, but there really are some simple additions to your life that can help reduce your own environmental impact. Many people already participate without knowing! 

With the popularity of hydro flasks and the meme of “VSCO girls,” jokes were made about saving the turtles that lead to real conversations about fake activism. Reusable water bottles are already so common and they help make a huge environmental impact in the amount of plastic water bottles thrown away every year.  

I love my water bottle. It is not a hydro flask, but it is very similar. Not only do I no longer rely on plastic water bottles when living in a dorm, I also drink more water in general. It has encouraged me to drink more water and that adds to being sustainable for my own life.  

Composting is also an amazing way to get into more sustainability. Raw foods and paper and compostable waste can be turned into fertile dirt for gardening. It creates a huge opportunity for people to be self-sufficient.  

I first heard about composting when I was in elementary school. My grandma loved gardening and one thing that involved the whole family was composting for her garden. It fascinated my little brain to learn about the science behind it and it really adds to the poetry of the circle of life. The Earth gave us sustenance and we gave it back to create more fertile soil.  

Even if gardening isn’t your thing, so many communities have public gardens that the dirt can be donated to. Community gardens create a social environment and a sense of community. These community ties have made great impacts on cities and often the gardens help provide food for soup kitchens, homeless shelters and anyone in these communities.  

Reducing your own waste is also an extremely common way to live more sustainably. Not everyone has places that can refill glass jars at bulk stores. But that doesn’t make this impossible.  

Even when you go to the grocery store, when buying produce, skip the plastic bags. If you want a bag to put your produce in, there are tons of options for reusable bags. Buying in bulk also helps cut down on the amount of single use plastic that you’re throwing out.  

Learning to live more sustainably or finding small ways to reduce our own trash is so important. It’s not about being perfect. One of the biggest arguments about living more sustainably is that one person being perfect is not going to save the planet but that’s not what living sustainably is about. It’s about everyone putting in the effort to do their best. After all, a little is always better than nothing.  

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