Usually, the consequences of Climate change and global warming are presented on social media, as an example, the wildfires in Australia. Currently, being informed about these issues has become a responsibility to safeguard our biodiversity and achieve sustainability. After doing research about how our actions affects the Earth, I realized that it is essential to create consciousness mind about how our ecological footprint affect the Earth. According to Global Footprint Network (2020), the ecological footprint demonstrated how the needs of a society demand renewable and non-renewable resources. Therefore, in order to reduce our impact, becoming a more conscious society by changing our beliefs is crucial, and choices could represent an important step for our generation.
Five Ways to Reduce our Impact on the Ecosystem
- Support Second-hand Markets
Supporting the second-hand market could help you save money while reducing your waste. According to Farrant et al., (2010), buying second-hand clothes could reduce the mass production of new clothes while reducing the consequences of Fast fashion on the environment. Currently, Fast Fashion is one of the most polluting industries, which caused water and air pollution and high-energy consumption. Besides, supporting second-hand clothing might also aid developing countries because the money obtained from this market is used in the development of sustainable projects (Farrant et al., 2010). From my perspective, little changes in our lifestyles like buying second hand clothing is a good way to help communities and the ecosystem.
2. Avoid Food Waste
Over the years, food waste has become a problem for our society. There could be many reasons why food is wasted like overproduction, processing issues, etc. This has made more difficult to achieve one of the sustainable development goals (zero Hunger). Approximately 130 billion pounds of good and edible food goes to waste. Food waste and unsustainable use of resources are connected because they lead to both over-consumption of fresh water and water pollution. What can you do? In order to reduce our food waste, we could start in our homes by reducing food waste as much as we can while cooking. Besides, a good way to reduce your food waste is to start planning and organizing your meals before buying groceries. The last thing that you can do to be sustainable in terms of food waste is to create a compost bin or learn how to compost. I believe that starting to change our behavior regarding food in our homes could make a big difference.
- Protect coral reefs, Change your sunscreen!
If you are concerned about ocean pollution, you can reduce your impact in this ecosystem by changing your sunscreen. Ironically, a product, that protect us from UV rays, is damaging marine species. One of the most important creatures in the marine ecosystem (corals) has been affected by the use of sunscreen, which contains oxybenzone. According to Samantha L. et al., (2019), the use of sunscreen with oxybenzone is contributing to coral bleaching, leading to consequences in the marine food chain. What can you do? You can start checking the list of preservatives in your next purchase to support coral reef conservation. Currently, many brands started to offer sunscreen without these toxic preservatives while it helps to protect you against UV rays. Some examples are Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen and All good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion.
- Reduce Plastic Use
The overuse of plastic has become a big problem for oceans. Reducing our plastic use could represent an important step in the achievement of a more sustainable lifestyle. You can start with easy actions such as avoiding straws, recycling, and using reusable bags when buying groceries. However, this is not enough in order to end with the waste problem and over-consumption. Even though, recycling is good, you cannot recycle forever so materials will end on the waste. Therefore, I believe it is beneficial to re-utilize, re-evaluate, and repair materials before recycling. On the other hand, consumption is another important topic when talking about the reduction of waste. Probably, you already do all of this but you can do more stop over-consuming and share and teach in your community how to reduce our impact because we are responsible for a change in our lifestyle.
- Demand and Support Sustainable Brands
Now that we have become more aware of how our decisions affect the environment, our responsibility as consumers it is to support sustainable and local brands. This will start a new consciousness in our society to address environmental, economic and social challenges. It is essential that brands focus their business model in Corporate Social Responsibility, which will lead to a sustainable development in the social and environmental filed. A good example of sustainable brands is Tentree, which is an apparel brand that encourages and guide consumers to make right choices. Besides, their mission is focused on the protection and conservation of the environment by providing clothes made of sustainable materials. Therefore, these brands add value in terms of corporate social responsibility promoting environmental conservation.
It is essential for us to understand that we can make a change through our actions. Even though, changing our actual lifestyles it may seem difficult, little changes such as recycling, reusing, sharing information and supporting sustainable brands is a good start.