2020 has been a year nobody could have predicted and the entire world was unprepared for the new reality we now face. For so many people it truly felt like the end was near. Through all of the fear and unknowns there was however one positive light that emerged. Because we were all forced to take a pause, carbon emission rates went down. Global carbon emissions were reduced by 17% compared to 2019 carbon levels. As things continue to open up the emissions are beginning to rise again due to natural human behavior. While we practice necessary safety precautions to save humanity it doesn’t come without a cost to our earth.
There are so many new safety precautions that are put in place for our wellbeing. What we use to think of as “normal” has been changed forever. The only downside of these new safety precautions (WHICH ARE STILL IMPORTANT) is that there is a new problem. We are creating an extra amount of waste that we didn’t have before. One obvious example is the world is becoming littered with disposable face masks. Another example is most restaurants cannot serve a straw unless it is wrapped in plastic.
During a global pandemic it can be very difficult to keep our environment a priority with the immediate concern being peoples health and safety. But during these fearful times of uncertainty, the one thing we all have in common is our planet. Below are several suggestions that each one of us could easily put into action.
“The biggest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”- Robert Swan
- RESUABLE MASKS:
When everything first shut down I don’t think anyone truly knew where we would be months later. Disposable masks are great for stores to have on hand and available if people forget to bring one, but I also think it is crucial for everyone to have a couple of cloth reusable masks. Disposable masks are littering our world more than we realize. They are going to be dragged out of the ocean and eventually sit in our land fills. I have some very comfortable reusable masks that I found and they are so easy to throw in the washing machine after using them! Besides, they are so inexpensive and easily accessible that its fun to have a variety to coordinate with your outfits. Again this is just one small gesture that could make a huge difference.
I got the cutest reusable masks from jillzarin.com
2. LYSOL AND CLOTH RAGS:
This may take a little more effort because we all know how convenient disposable disinfectant wipes are. I like to wipe down all surfaces when I come in and out of the house, especially my kitchen counters where I place items from the grocery store or packages from the mail. Something I encourage you to do, if you’re comfortable, is buy a cheap pack of washcloths from target and a container of Lysol disinfectant. The wash clothes can easily be thrown into the washing machine very easily and be reused for a very long time. I am not saying I am perfect with this but it is a good habit to get into and I’m making a real effort. The more disposable cleaning rags we use the more waste we are putting into our environment.
I linked some of my favorite eco-friendly products below, including the rags and spray!
3. LED LIGHTS:
Since we are all home more than ever I think it is very important to implement eco-friendly tactics within our homes. LED lights are one of the most energy efficient lights/light bulbs. We are all indoors more often, with remote jobs/school which results in using more energy. I think this is such an easy change!! Also remembering to turn your lights off when you leave a room… simple but many don’t:)
Along with the increase in energy consumption in our homes, another great tactic is unplugging things we are not using or making sure they are powered off. There’s no sense in having outlets filled with plugs that are not being used. For me, all of my classes are online so a lot of these tactics will be used more than they were before! Also remember saving energy saves money!
4. REUSABLE BAGS:
Reusable bags can be a very big safety concern during a global pandemic! Many grocery stores will not let you use the bags you bring from home unless you bag the groceries yourself. The bags that I use at the grocery store are either machine washable or are the type that can be wiped down with the cloth rags and lysol:) This is very important. I always bag my own groceries in my reusable bags and clean them right away so that they are ready for my next grocery run. Again a little extra effort but worth it to cut down on the plastic bag waste while also being safe!
5. SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES:
The pandemic has impacted us all in different ways but small local businesses have taken a huge hit. Remember when shopping for certain items to try and support a local business. They need the support more than big chain businesses.
Phoenix People!! One of my favorite local businesses is Hunger Bomb Cookies. They have the BEST gluten fee and vegan cookies that are perfect for anytime of day.