The Fight for Environmental Sustainability: Can You Do More?
Maybe you’ve already gone all out on the environmental front. You’ve acknowledged that you need to play your part in environmental wellness and sustainability. You’ve got the LED light bulbs. You minimize your water use, you recycle and reuse. You’re on track.
But can you be doing more? Of course, we can always do more!
With the average global temperature on an upward spiral and sea levels creeping upward, action is inevitable.
According to National Geographic, sea levels have risen an average of 0.13 inches or 3.2 millimeters every year over the last 20 years. In 2017, we experienced the 5th most active hurricane season on record.
Something’s going on. The most likely culprit? Us. It’s hard to argue that our activities on this planet have not played a part in these dramatic climate changes. Sustainability is avoiding the reduction in our natural resources and finding an ecological balance in which the human race and nature can continue to thrive.
After all, this planet is our home and this great earth provides us with life. It is not something we should take for granted, at least not anymore. So, what more can you do to help reduce your impact? How, as individuals, can we make this a world better place?
Fitness for a Sustainable Environment
We already know the benefits physical activity has to offer us. It boasts good health and makes us feel happy. It also provides sustainable modes of transportation and methods to reduce your carbon footprint.
Find your fitness inspiration via saving the planet one small action at a time. Here’s how you can alter your fitness routine to do your part and promote a healthy environment:
- Grab a reusable water bottle for your workouts.
Say goodbye to plastic water bottles. Surprisingly, plastic takes over 400 years to decompose. It’s not good for our environment or our planet. Buy a good water bottle you can reuse and quit throwing more plastic into our landfills.
If you must use a plastic water bottle in any case, make sure to recycle it. At least this way, it can be reused and won’t sit in a landfill for hundreds of years to come.
- Cycle instead of drive.
Driving takes a huge toll on the environment. Cycling as a way to commute in and around town reduces your use of gasoline and diesel fuel. These fuels cause vast amounts of air pollution worldwide. Luckily, many major cities are becoming more and more biker friendly.
Many cities have installed bike lanes, making it safer for those that choose to cycle to and from work. Cycling is a small change to make, but one that can have huge effects. Further, you can get your workout in via your commutes. You’ll be healthier and reduce your carbon footprint, all in one go.
- Walk more.
Get those recommended 10,000 steps in per day. If you can walk somewhere in 30 minutes or less, do it. Leave the car in the garage. Get some exercise and enjoy this great place we call home. Your mental health will further benefit from the outdoors, so you really have nothing to lose.
- Go paperless with your workouts.
To record progress, use one of the many fitness phone apps that exist out there. These apps can, also, provide fitness inspiration and reduce your paper use. Save a tree. Go paperless. Make progress.
Create a Diet that Reduces Your Environmental Impact
It turns out that what is better for our environment is better for our bodies as well. The world has a funny way of balancing things out. There are many dietary adjustments you can make to reduce your environmental impact. Here are some easy changes you can make, starting today:
- Decrease your meat consumption.
Reducing how much meat you eat can save on water. How? A huge portion of our water supply goes toward dairy and animal products. We need fresh water to survive as do many animal and fish species. However, a very small percentage of the total water in the world is drinkable. Conserve water as much as you can.
- Eat more beans and lentils for protein.
Beans have next to no impact on your carbon footprint. They are also loaded with fiber and low in fat. It’s no surprise that health professionals have boasted about these legumes for years. Start including them in your regular diet. Throw them in a salad or your next stew.
Organic fruits and veggies are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Eating or growing organic foods prevents soil contamination and preserves the biodiversity and wildlife around it.
- Eat locally.
Since eating local means less transportation, supporting local farms at farmer’s markets or businesses can help significantly reduce your environmental impact. Also, most organic food is produced locally. It’s a 2-for-1 deal. Eat local, organic food and reduce your impact.
- Choose pasture-raised eggs over conventional eggs.
Pasture-raised eggs are an eco-friendly source of protein. The chickens these eggs come from aren’t cooped up in cages all day and actually roam free in pastures. If you must eat eggs for breakfast every day, try to find pasture-raised ones.
- If you cannot imagine giving up meat or dairy entirely, choose grass-fed beef or dairy.
Grass-fed cows have a reduced environmental impact compared to their counterparts. It is also healthier for the animals and for us.
- As aforementioned, lose the bottled water.
Find reusable bottles and packaging.
- Avoid processed and packaged foods.
These are low in nutrients, and their packages are often not biodegradable. The environment and your body are not benefiting from these foods. Sure, they taste good, but you can find other ways to satisfy your palate. There’s an abundance of options available! Find new recipes online or discover a new fruit or veggie.
- Expiration dates indicate when the foods are best before.
These dates are set based on the food quality, not the safety. You do not necessarily need to throw away something if it is expired. Further, you can extend the shelf life by freezing food items or throwing them in the fridge. For example, extend the shelf life of bread products by keeping it in the freezer instead of out on the counter.
- Eat leftovers!
Don’t throw these away. Take them for lunch or put them into your next meal.
- Use compostable or reusable straws.
This is becoming a big thing today - and for a good reason. If you live by the ocean, you’ve likely noticed this major change in your local Starbucks or coffee shop. The world isn’t down with plastic straws anymore. Go for the paper kind.
Other Ways You Can Reduce Your Impact
- Keep track of your trash.
Focus on reducing the amount of trash you create.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Simple, easy, and efficient.
Composting is a great way to decompose leftover fruit or vegetable parts. It can provide nutrients for the soil, making your garden flourish!
- Go paperless in more ways than one.
We live in an era where we can store info online. Stores email receipts now. You can get your bills online. You can write down your to-do lists in a Google Keep note. Paper is on the way out, and for a good reason. We don’t need an excuse to cut down any more trees. Protect our forests and forego paper.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
Avoid using disposable one-time-use batteries. Batteries and chargers keep getting better and better. Rechargeable batteries might cost slightly more, but you will be able to reuse them again and again.
- Use only the water you need.
Don’t leave taps running. Avoid long showers. We don’t have very much freshwater in this world, and every year it becomes less and less. Conserve water. It is a finite resource and one we need to survive.
- Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room.
Take this a step further and participate in Earth Hour every year. The lights go off for one hour. Disconnect and reconnect with nature or friends and family.
- Contact your energy provider; Is there a more energy-efficient option you’re missing?
They may offer discounts on solar energy panels and more. Why not see what options are out there?
There are too many cars on the road - and if you peek inside of them, you’ll notice one person in most of them. Start carpooling to work. What have you got to lose? Plus, in a lot of places, you’ll get to use that express carpool lane - win!
- Use all-natural cleaners and limit your chemical usage.
This is so easy to do. There are a variety of all-natural cleansers and cleaning products. Take advantage of it. It’s good for you too! You won’t be breathing in or touching possible harmful substances.
Here’s an idea: Make one change a day. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just do one thing every day that makes this world a better place.
Do your part. Make a change in honor of this Earth Day - and let it translate over into every day of your life. Be proud of the life you live and make this planet a place for everyone to enjoy. If you combine fitness and environmental sustainability, you get a win-win scenario. Your body benefits and so does the environment.
Related Article: Why (and how) You Can Go Car-Less