What can You do to Help the Environment?
Environmental concerns have risen up the agenda for many of us – and for young people especially. Pollution, climate change, habitat loss and extinction are all problems being driven by human activity – and if we’re to avoid them, we’ll need to change our behaviour.
Action by large organisations, businesses and governments is going to be crucial. In the UK, the government has already made a target of net zero, and announced a planned ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles. But we can also do things differently as consumers, and thereby make a difference.
Many of us tend to associate the little three-arrow triangle with environmentalism in general. If you’re throwing plastic bottles in the recycling, it’s supposed, you’re doing the planet a favour. But naturally, not all forms of recycling are equal. It’s better to reuse an item, or to reduce your use of it, than it is to spend the time and energy recycling it.
Change your Car
Contrary to what you might assume, electric cars are actually more damaging to the environment in terms of manufacturing costs. The creation of the lithium-ion battery requires cobalt and other rare-earth metals, which are costly to extract. It’s only when you start driving them that they become the greener option, with far greater energy efficiency than you might hope for.
If you’re not ready to commit to a fully electric vehicle, then a hybrid car might make a good compromise. They can be charged in the same way, but they also come with a traditional internal combustion engine, so you need never worry about being stranded.
Trees and Flowers
If you design your garden in such a way as to support the local wildlife, there’s no reason it can’t be an environmental boon. Just make sure that you avoid the use of damaging chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Trees, in particular, play a vital role in fighting climate change, thanks to their carbon-guzzling properties. When you’re choosing flowers, make sure that you pick a nice mix of pollinator-friendly ones. Attracting insects will help to keep your local ecosystem thriving, and eliminate the need for chemicals.
Sharing and Donating
As we’ve mentioned, re-using the stuff you already have is preferable to recycling. As such, the second-hand market is inherently green. When you’re next decluttering your home, you might consider making a pile of items to donate to your local charity shop. Electronics tend to make good candidates: they can often be stripped for components, or even for raw materials.
As well as donating items, you might also donate money on a regular basis. You can use a charity research system like Give Well to determine which environmental charities are the most effective.