Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
When it comes to the environment, it can be hard to figure out how you can contribute towards solving some of its problems. With everything currently happening with our environment, taking action can be really overwhelming. I thought I would compile a list of the actions that I usually take to live more sustainably. I try to apply these into my daily life, and it makes everything about the issue around our environment seem a little less overwhelming. This is what I do:
- Eat less meat: As a meat lover myself, I know how hard it can be to cut out meat. However, given how much meat we eat nowadays, I personally think it is borderline excessive. This is why cutting back a few days is a good idea. This has been good for my wallet, and it is also really good for the environment. Meat production and consumption contribute towards a large number of carbon emissions, and it depletes so much of our natural resources.
- Use reusable bottles: In our house, we have a few reusable glass bottles, and I carry mine pretty much everywhere. You also don’t have to get too fancy with it. Just any good glass bottle that you can throw in your bag will do. Plastic bottles are known to contribute to the tons of plastic pollution that reaches our oceans, kills our marine life and limit the oceans’ ability to sequestrate carbon.
- Say no to plastic: Similar to the point above, cutting out plastic bottles, bags, and straws is much easier now that restaurants and shops have started offering alternatives. But instead of buying paper ones, opt for cotton bags that you can buy anywhere nowadays, and take them with you whenever you go shopping.
- Fly less: This is a controversial one for so many. As an expat living in France who would like to go home twice a year, I know that flying is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. This is why I am cutting back on my family trips. Yes, I will still go and visit my family, but I will be a bit more conscious about the number of times I fly to see them. Furthermore, as our 2022 resolution, my family and I have decided to travel locally as much as possible. Or use more environmentally sound transportation such as trains and buses. It is not ideal, but I know that cutting back even one flight lowers my carbon footprint by a lot.
- Pick up litter: This one is a small act that can go far. As a mom, I must teach my daughter not to litter. I find myself often picking up litter on walks and hikes and throwing them away in the appropriate places. Now I watch in awe as my daughter, who is nearly two years old, does the same.
Lastly, and I won’t really put it as a point as it is just a general thought, but I am realizing more and more, especially as we talk about it on She Evolves, that one way to be truly sustainable is to take less from the environment than we put in. This means planting more trees, using less electricity, being conscious about how much water we use and how much waste we produce. So whatever you do, do it with the intention of giving more than you take from the world because it is the only world we have, and if we don’t take care of it, no one will.