“Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints”

by June 23, 2012
filed under Activism, Life

We all know that we should take better care of the planet. It’s not doing that well. However, sometimes it’s easy to forget when we’re going about our daily lives and have other priorities. It’s also much easier to forget about because our society makes little conveniences so easy, yet so un-green. We live in a world that consumes a lot, and it’s difficult to find other alternatives when they’re so accessible.

“Take only pictures, leave only footprints,” is a phrase people often adopt when travelling out in nature. The attitude of consuming as little as possible and leaving only undamaged remnants is a good one to remember. Our lives are very influenced by consumption, and because we live in a consumerist society, it becomes difficult not to have a negative impact on the environment. However, there are a few ways you can reduce your carbon footprint which, over time, will accumulate to make an impact that’s meaningful, as well as setting a good example to others who may want to do the same but may be looking for inspiration.

One of the biggest sources of pollution we emit is the amount of garbage we produce. One good way to start is by attempting to cut down on the amount of waste we put out. Some easy ways to do this might be watching what we throw out, minimizing the products we get with excessive packaging, using reusable bags instead of plastic ones, and trying to reuse as much as possible. Recycling and composting cuts down a great deal on the amount of garbage produced because it has a chance to be broken down and reused by Mother Nature.

We can also cut down on the amount of paper we use by writing smaller, typing rather than writing things out, asking for no junk mail, reading the news online and reusing paper, like using the backs of old envelopes.

Other ways to reuse might be: Shopping second hand; having garage sales or swaps with friends; fixing items up with simple alterations that might make boring clothes more exciting to wear; cutting up old shirts to use as rags; using the library to borrow books, music, and movies rather than buying them; or sharing amongst your friends to expand your collection. And if you like decorating, you could use old wine or beer bottles as vases for flowers.

Another great way to contribute is by being more careful about the meat you buy, mostly because of the amount of carbon that’s required to pump out all these meat products – especially red meat. The United Nations has reported that changing diet is one of the biggest impacts one can have on climate change. Going vegan is said to be more effective than selling one’s normal car to drive a hybrid.

Other small changes that make a difference could be: Buying things that will last longer and therefore don’t need to be replaced as quickly; having shorter showers and being careful of the amount of soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and other household products you use; drinking tap water rather than bottled water; always using full loads of dishes and clothes in the dishwasher and laundry; hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer and washing your clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot; turning off lights when you’re not in the room and shutting off your laptop at night. Fluorescent lights are also much more energy efficient than regular light bulbs, using at least two thirds less energy than regular bulbs. They last quite a bit longer, so the extra money you pay upfront turns into savings in the end.

These are just a few of the ways you can create a more environmentally friendly lifestyle without changing it drastically and still being able to focus on other priorities. Keeping the environment in mind has its benefits, and it will thank you one day!

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