Saving the world can sound like a pretty daunting task.
After all, how are you—a single solitary human being—supposed to reverse something as all-encompassing as global warming? Or water pollution? Or even deforestation?
The short answer is, most people can’t tackle these issues on their own. Especially considering that the world just set a new terrifying emissions record, racking up a carbon dioxide concentration of 400 parts per million (which our atmosphere will just love, by the way). The last time it reached that level was before humans existed, and sea levels were 100 feet higher than they are now.
As daunting as that all seems, you still don’t have an excuse to just sit back and become complacent about it. There are some really easy changes you could make in your life that would have a huge impact on the environment around you. So get ready to save the world, the easy way:
Ditch your single-cup coffeemaker
You know those plastic pods they use? In 2014, so many were made that if you linked all of the discarded ones together, they could circle the world more than 10 times. These pods usually can’t be recycled, they’re expensive, and they don’t save you much time when compared to a drip coffee maker. And while we’re on the topic of coffee…
Stir your morning brew with a pasta noodle
Don’t put glass in the trash…ever
Seriously, it can take more than a million years to decompose. Always recycle it.
Stop using cleansers containing plastic microbeads
The mini plastic bits are usually put in there to help exfoliate your skin, but they end up in the water supply where they absorb organic pollutants and get eaten by marine life. In 2012, The 5 Gyres Institute found a single tube of face cleaner can contain up to 300,000 of them. If you need to keep exfoliating, just buy a loofah instead.
Invest in a refillable water bottle
Even though disposable ones can be recycled, the Pacfic Institute reports that in 2006, the U.S. used an estimated 17 million barrels of oil to make them. And that’s not even including the energy needed to transport them to stores! The process of bottling water, meanwhile, produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Paint your roof white
If you live in an apartment building, bring this idea up with your landlord, as doing so could save them $360 per year for every thousand square metres of roof. Why? The colour white reflects non-visible light, preventing it from heating up a building and scaling up air conditioning costs. The warmer the area you live, the more effective this will be.
Always use revolving doors
Revolving doors prevent air from entering or escaping a building, taking some of the burden off of heating and cooling systems. In fact, one study found that if everyone used them, 14.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved every year from a single building. Just imagine that on a larger scale!
Go easy on the napkins
We often won’t consider carbon footprints while eating, but try to remember this before mindlessly reaching and wiping again. Napkins contribute to the destruction of 34 million trees annually (which we need to breathe, by the way). Since the average diner uses about 2.5 of them per meal, start by trying to cut that number in half. Nobody likes a sloppy eater, after all.