A Beginner's Guide to saving the planet
With the world around us being slowly but surely destroyed by human actions, climate change is now the most pressing issue of our time. While activists protest for change and increasing pressure is put on the government, people forget that there are countless ways in which they, individually, can help fight climate change. This is an issue that everyone needs to be aware of and know more about. It can be quite overwhelming seeing this immediate global issue being broadcasted everywhere we go. It is on the news, on social media, at school – you name it! It’s definitely a topic that is increasingly being talked about it. As a teenager, I have become interested in all things environmental and have learnt a considerable amount about the topic, from the effects of climate change, to the issue of plastics. Hearing about these rising issues in my day-to-day life makes me pleased that people are starting to become more aware of our environment and the problems it faces. We can all make a difference if we start to think about our actions and change our habits. So, what can we do to help save our planet?
1) TRAVEL SUSTAINABLY – Why not walk to school instead of travelling by car? If you’re within walking distance to school, then why not? This will reduce transport pollution and save energy. Additionally, walking provides great exercise! Even if it’s raining in the morning, you can pull on a coat and grab an umbrella – “there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing!” Put on your wet weather gear and brave the rainfall!
2) SAVE WATER – Figures from the BBC state that by 2030 half the world's population could be living in areas of high water stress. The definition of this is places where there isn't enough water to go sustain the area and meet demands.
From this statistic, you can tell that water is becoming a valuable resource for all. Therefore, it is vital that, collectively, we all start saving as much water as we can. One easy way of doing this is by taking shorter showers. Many of us will waste around 20 minutes in the shower, simply standing there and feeling comfort in the warm water. However, with the environment in mind, only five to ten minutes are needed.
Not only can you take shorter showers but also turn the shower off when you’re putting on hair products and shower gel. You may think that by doing this, you won’t save much water, but you will! If everyone did it every time they showered, just imagine the considerable amount of water we’d save! Additionally, ensure you don’t leave taps running unnecessarily. For example, turn the tap off while you’re brushing your teeth.
3) SAVE ENERGY – This may seem like a fairly obvious one- turn lights off when you don’t need them. However, there are numerous other ways to save on electricity. Make sure that, once your phone is fully charged, you unplug your phone from the charger (and the charger from the wall) and turn off the plug socket. Furthermore, try to watch less television and read books instead! Not only will this save electricity but, it has been proved that reading will improving your spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as being relaxing and offering the opportunity to escape from reality.
4) MINIMISE YOUR WASTE – According to research, the UK produces more than 100 million tonnes of waste every year. To put this in perspective, one tonne is about the weight of a small car. Now imagine how much every other country produces. Landfill sites are becoming full, meaning that our rubbish is being incinerated. Resultantly, CO2 emissions are increasing, with detrimental effects on the planet. So how can you reduce your waste? By purchasing a lunchbox and bringing a packed lunch to school, instead of buying a sandwich wrapped in packaging, you are decreasing your plastic usage. You could also do research into becoming “Zero Waste” or find out more about the “Low Impact Movement” (publicised on Instagram). These are two huge communities of people who are doing an incredible job at reducing their waste and their impact on our planet. “Zero-Wasters” are managing to reduce their waste so significantly that one year’s worth of their waste can fit into a small mason jar!
5) And finally, DITCH THE PLASTIC – Stop purchasing plastic bottles of water and purchase a reusable one to take with you everywhere. In the long-term, not only will this save you money, but it will help save the planet too! One more thing you can do is encourage your parents to buy reusable bags, or “bags for life”, instead of using plastic bags when they go shopping. Studies show that most plastic shopping bags are used only once and can take more than 100 years to decompose. The more plastic humans use, the more damage we are doing to our planet, so it is imperative that we reduce the amount we’re using.
Hopefully this article was helpful and offered assistance to those who want to save the planet but were unsure on how exactly they can do this. To quote Robert Swann, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Lottie Macro, Year 10