In light of the recent climate change report released by the United Nations, I wanted to speak a little about different ways that individuals can make simple decisions that go a long way when it comes to the environment. When people say that individuals hold the most power, this is not an understatement. Everything we choose to invest in, believe in, and buy shapes how companies are going to respond to the changing demand of consumers. So when I say the future is in your hands, it really is.
On that note, below is a list of ways to reduce your environmental impact as an individual, and save some money as well!
Reusable Water bottle/Mug: This tip most likely seems redundant. However, the amount of money I have saved by simply filling up a water bottle at a fountain, or making coffee/tea at home and bringing it out in a mug really does go a long way. Not to mention, if you’re feeling a little lazy, and just want someone else to make your morning pick-me-up, most companies now offer discounts if you bring a reusable mug!
Reusable Bags: Another fairly common one that most people start off with. Nowadays, a lot of grocers charge 5-10 cents per bag, so using a reusable bag lasts you, is stronger than plastic, and saves you some pocket change. Also, if anyone likes sewing, making reusable produce bags is a fun hobby that I have recently taken up. I just learned to hand sew, so it’s not the best, but I might be a little proud to use them – oh well.
Transport: As I was writing this post, I was contemplating whether or not I should include this point at all. I’m very guilty of transport convenience, and I didn’t want to make this publicly known (which is very hypocritical of me). So this is me admitting that, yes, when I have the option, I drive to school. When I look back on the amount of money I’ve spent on gas, I just think why? As a student I get ‘free’ transit throughout the city, so why do I consistently choose to do something that costs me more money? I guess I’ll be making a more conscious effort to bus after this…
Meal Prepping: This really is not for everyone, and that’s okay. I like to think of meal prepping as a general term, not just preparing meals for the week. For me this might come in the form of freezing fresh produce. I like smoothies and fried veggies, so if you feel the same this might be useful! For the most part, (with a few exceptions when it comes to exotic fruits) fresh produce is generally cheaper than frozen produce. So financially, I just prefer to buy produce and freeze it on my own. Saving money and waste!
Period products: This point in particular has been gaining more popularity recently. Disposable period products are so expensive (which is a whole other rant that I will try hard not to go off on right now), and really not environmentally friendly at all! Most of you probably have heard about one alternative: menstrual cups. These are great for some people, and I have nothing against them, but they just don’t work for me. Simply put, for some people who are prone to infections, a reusable pad might be a better alternative. That’s just it, there is something for everyone! Once you buy a reusable alternative, you don’t need to purchase anything else for a while. More $$ in your pocket!
Support Local Businesses: This might take a little mental work to understand. In the grand scheme of things, municipalities have the greatest impact (currently) on our environment for many reasons, but some of the greatest implications are due to land zoning decisions. By supporting local businesses, you are in turn supporting the local economy, and therefore supporting your municipality and yourself. Doing this is a sure way to see your money having a real effect on the things that actually directly affect you within your community. Not to mention that when you support local, they support you back!
Now in the title of this blog post, I stated that both you and the environment would benefit from this list. That was not a lie. For most of these points, you would be saving yourself money, whether that be directly or indirectly (in the case of the last point). And who doesn’t love a little extra money in your pocket for doing some good?!
Before I conclude this post, I just wanted to say that this blog is not meant to bring you eco-guilt. If you are not familiar with this term, it is when people/things make you feel guilty for the choices you make because of their effect on the environment. Just like anything else in life, you are free to choose how you live your life, and no one should ever make you feel guilty about that. Everyone has different values, conveniences and comfort zones which is completely okay. I am not making this post to make anyone feel guilty, just simply to shed light on the fact that the simplest things can have a beneficial impact on not only the environment, but also on each and every one of us.
Written by: Maja Menegotto