5 easy green ways to save the planet

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The world is on fire and the green influencer world is trying to do something about it. While there’s a number of influencers that want to help us consume more, there is a growing number that want us to consume less. Advocacy groups like @ExtinctionRebellion are organizational outlets for real world protests on the climate crisis, while @CharlieFeist is a retail outlet that sells eco-friendly bags but also wants us to be aware of our carbon footprint.

There are a number of vegan bloggers that focus on the environmental aspect (as opposed to the health aspect) and sponsored by the growing number of plant based foods, and then there are eye opening influencers like Anna Sacks, a former investment banker, that dumpster dives to showcase the waste employed by the 1% of New York city residents as well as the corporations that enable it. Sacks uses her accounts to highlight her consulting business.

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Inspired by these bloggers, we’ve distilled the five ways that you can make a difference:

1) What we eat

While you don’t have to give up meat forever, making the commitment to one meat free day a week can make a big difference. 2,500 gallons, nearly 21,000 pounds, of water is needed to produce a single pound of beef.

On top of that, each animal needs to graze on 55 square feet of former forest land (one of the reasons for the deforestation of the Amazon). Livestock accounts for almost 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions and about 10% of the total (or ⅔ of livestock emissions) come from cattle, yes, cows that fart and burp. 

Whatever food you do eat and order, though, make sure you do consume it; the energy that goes into the production, harvest, transportation, and packaging of wasted food produces more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

2) How we move

We know that burning fossil fuels is bad for the environment. In fact, 29% of total emissions comes from transportation. There are many alternatives including mass transit and bicycling. If you must take private transportation, perhaps you can carpool or drive a hybrid or electric car.

3) How we use water 

Creating hot water is a very energy intensive process and while we can cut our shower time by a few minutes, many people don’t realize the wasted water in our laundry. Many people wash half loads, and if every household switched from a hot cycle to even a warm cycle, it could save 100,000 barrels of oil daily. An average electric water heater generates 3 tons of CO2 pollution annually, a relatively significant amount for something that we rarely think of.

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4) How we use paper (reduce, reuse, recycle)

Even with the shift to e-books, paper is still being used at a breakneck pace. Many people have the email tagline to remind you if you really need to print out an email. However, think of all of the other paper products you use and if you can convert them to e-statements, e-tickets, and e-catalogs. 

In addition, think of all of the junk mail or spam that while simple to delete is not as easy to get rid of. The USPS, for example, carried over 77 billion pieces of junk mail across 1.4 billion miles, just so it can end up in a garbage bin. PaperKarma is a paid service that can help stop junk mail.

While the creation of paper and print products account for less than 1% of our carbon emissions, deforestation accounts for about 10% of net emissions. (Trees are a great way for the planet to absorb carbon, but by cutting down trees it is a net negative activity).

5) How we buy 

We see that paper products and transportation are ways that we can mitigate our carbon footprint. However, we might not notice our online consumption.  With next day (or even next hour) ecommerce on the rise we are starting to see utilization of more single serve packages. Packaging accounts for 56.4 percent of the carbon footprint of a 330ml can of Coca-Cola. The proportion grows to 68.5 percent for a glass bottle of the same size.

Bulk buying helps us by cutting down on packaging and in transportation costs (as well as putting a few extra dollars in your pocket!) Boxed, for example, lets us buy in bulk and Amazon has a single delivery day option designed to help us reduce packaging and transportation waste. 

Those are the five easy things that we can do today to help us live for another generation on this wonderful planet. Was there anything that we missed? Any tips for how to break bad habits and create new green ones? Are there new green business models out there? How are you doing your part to save the planet? Let us know via email!

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