It’s nearly impossible to avoid the news and conversation surrounding the environment these days. Wherever you go, people are talking about climate change, deforestation, wildfires, and how we as a people are the ones contributing to the majority of the problems.
Some of the effects of man-made climate change are hard to ignore and impossible to argue against. CO2 emissions are the highest they’ve been in 3 billion years, the world keeps getting warmer, and millions of people across the globe are being impacted by environmental changes.
So, while most people can agree that we’ve got some serious environmental issues to address and work to fix, there’s also a consistent argument about what we all can do to fix them. It’s often hard for people to believe that individuals can make a difference on a large scale, so most want businesses, governments, and nonprofit agencies to work together to make an impact. But, the reality is that it’s not an either/or situation.
The sustainability of our planet depends on everyone doing their part, from individuals to corporations. Environmental scientists and healthcare professionals need to work together to help the diverse populations affected by climate change. Big businesses need to find ways to reduce their CO2 emissions and donate money to research and environmental protection agencies. Individuals need to start at home by making simple, positive changes that can help the planet.
So, what can you do to live more sustainably, and what should we expect on a larger scale?
Small Changes for a Big Impact
“Going green” starts at home, and you don’t have to completely change the way you live to make a difference. Living more sustainably has a lot to do with making subtle changes. You can start with simple things like turning lights off when you leave a room, taking shorter showers, and not using as much hot water.
Changing your spending/buying habits can also have an impact on the environment. One big problem our world faces is an overabundance of plastic waste. You can help to reduce plastic waste by ditching plastic water bottles in favour of a glass bottle, canteen, or metal bottle that you can refill multiple times a day.
Additionally, try to avoid buying foods packaged in plastic. Buy reusable grocery bags made of canvas or cloth instead of tossing away the plastic ones you get at the store each week. Make recycling and reducing waste two of your biggest priorities.
Making changes to your appliances can also help you to cut down on energy use. Energy-efficient appliances are more efficient, and can even save you money on your electric bill each month.
Sustainability shouldn’t be a luxury. It should be something that everyone is passionate about when it comes to the future. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to make more sustainable choices and changes. Thankfully, renewable energy can be more affordable if you know where to look.
The government provides tax credits to those who invest in renewable energy sources. There are also federal assistance programs designed to help lower energy costs. Additionally, the government releases grants to businesses that engage in green energy. As a result, those businesses are growing and are constantly in need of new employees. By working for a grant-funded business that is committed to sustainability, you can do your part to help the planet.
What Big Businesses Can Do
Speaking of businesses and green energy, it’s important that those who can help the planet on a larger scale own up to those responsibilities. Yes, a more sustainable future starts at home. But, big corporations can make a big difference quickly.
It’s true that businesses exist to make money. They’re not going to make products that people don’t buy, even if they’re good for the state of the planet. Solar panels are a perfect example. When they were first introduced, they were hardly a “hot item.” Now, thanks to increased awareness about environmental issues, solar panels are in demand, they’re more affordable, and even financial institutions are offering payment plans> for those who want them.
Larger corporations have a responsibility to encourage sustainable environments within the way they work. Companies like Google are leading the way with these efforts. Google is committed to climate action. They’ve achieved carbon neutrality for twelve years, and for the last two years they’ve balanced out the energy they’ve used with renewable sources. Corporations like Ford, Disney, and HP are also leading the way when it comes to environmental initiatives that can set the standard for other major businesses to follow.
If only businesses made efforts to help the environment, everyday changes wouldn’t occur. If corporations didn’t care and it was up to individuals to make the world more sustainable, it would take every single person to be on board. The reality is that everyone needs to work together in order to form a more sustainable future.
Every industry can be more environmentally-sound, from automotive to healthcare. As technology continues to advance, we all can use it to live more environmentally-friendly lives on both small and large scales. The sooner the argument over who has the greater impact stops, the sooner we all can start focusing our energy and attention on what really matters.
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilise the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.