Just because we can’t go out into the world as much as we used to, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still protect it. Your quarantine can be green too! We’ve compiled a list of four small ways you can keep making eco-friendly decisions while stuck at home.
Dodge the palm oil
Palm oil comes from the fruit of oil palms, and it is EVERYWHERE. You’ll often find it in cosmetics, soaps and skin care products – even ice cream! Between the years of 1995 and 2002, global palm oil production increased by 65%, and you can bet it’s just kept increasing since then. The implication of this is that more and more land is needed to fuel the industry – and this comes at a terrible environmental cost.
Zeldovich writes that this includes “massive deforestation, as well as biodiversity and habitat loss for rainforest dwellers such as orangutans. Moreover, the World Bank calculated that the palm oil production boom was accountable for 75 percent of the rise in food prices in the late 2000s—because the land once used to grow food was being used to make palm oil.”
There are so many alternatives to palm oil, like shea butter, soy bean oils, and sunflower oil. We really have no reason not to be more educated and eco-friendly consumers.
Save more water
Did you know that The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that around 10% of homes have leaks that waste 340 litres of water or more every single day? The average household’s leaks can send nearly 38,000 litres of drinkable water down the drain each year. literally. The plus side of being home this much, is that we’re far more likely to discover any dripping faucets or running toilets quickly.
If lockdown has you feeling lazy, you’re not alone. Down here in the southern hemisphere – with winter on the way – it can be hard to resist taking a nice hot bath. That’s probably fine once in a while, but just because there’s a little more rain doesn’t mean we should all start wasting water. Anybody who’s ever had to drag buckets of water into the garden during water restrictions knows how much water it takes to fill the tub. Keep it green even through the winter months and try to stick to nice hot showers instead.
Eat more plants
It’s a proven fact that plant-based diets are more sustainable than those that involve regular meat and dairy consumption. They use fewer natural resources (like land and water), and many sources suggest that they reduce emissions caused by transportation (by planes, trains, and other vehicles).
Research has also shown that plant based diets are better for us, warding off a number of chronic illnesses. This, in turn, reduces the number of animals that get medically experimented on in the search for ways to prevent these illnesses (which, in the first place, wouldn’t be nearly as prevalent if people would cool it on the steak and ribs). And if you think these animals are too few enough to be ignored, you’re wrong. In 2016, in the US alone, over 820,000 animals were used for research. and this excludes species like mice, rats, and aquatic animals.
Furthermore, animal agriculture is one of the leading cause of deforestation globally. It even destroys bee populations!
Now that we’re all doing a little more home cooking (except those who are relying on Uber eats), it’s never been a better time to cut back on your meat consumption! The Essential Millennial has recently started a kitchen section, in which we’ll be sure to keep posting culinary inspiration for you to try out.
Gardening is a great way to fight off the quarantine blues and keep busy. Not only that, but Lina Zelovich writes that it’s an exceptionally eco-friendly lockdown hobby.
“When following the essential principles of organic gardening—including composting, using organic fertilizer, planting trees, and not leaving the soil bare to avoid erosions—,” she writes, “an average urban plot can become an efficient carbon sink. And with some work, it will also yield some veggies for dinner.”
Again, this one will be easier for those going into summer right now, but you don’t beed to spend hours outdoors to make a difference. Pop some pots near the kitchen window and start working that green thumb.
Of course, There’s more that can be done. We could also remind you to take re-usable shopping bags with you when you buy groceries. We could tell you to keep recycling and reducing waste wherever possible. But that would be preaching to the choir wouldn’t it? We know our readers are forward-thinking and conscientious individuals and we trust that this community will keep doing its best to make the world a better, greener, place. Every little change is a step in the right direction.