How the Youth can Play an Important Role
in Protecting the Environment
As many conservationists and activists have noted, those at the top are failing the planet. It's up to everyone now to make the difference the world needs, and protect the environment. And we really do have the power as individuals or groups to make a difference that can contribute to the planet's wellbeing.
For youngsters, it's actually easier to develop a set of habits and positive actions than it is for those who might be older. Teenagers haven't got as many bad habits, and can be a powerful force to re-educate their parents and peers to make changes in their own lives too.
We're not even saying that young people across the world need to become prominent, engaged activists either (it would be ace, the world needs impacters young and old). But you can make a big difference with some really small changes to everyday life and common sense habits.
With that in mind, here's some great ways you can save the planet.
Strength in Numbers
Start your own group, initiative, or become a volunteer with a group in your neighbourhood. You'll be surprised just how much easier it is to make an impact when others are doing it with you. Clean up trash from rivers or beaches, start recycling initiatives, plant trees or take care of those nearby. It's fun, interesting and you'll learn loads from your new friends. Get out there.
Reduce your paper waste and recycle
Once you start recycling plastics, glass and cutting down your paper consumption you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. We use so much paper and plastics in our daily lives it just makes so much sense. And it's not a habit which takes lots of adjustment either. A few trash cans instead of one. Or perhaps your parents might need to throw a recycling bag in the car when they run to the store.
Turn things off
Another small change that really adds up is saving resources around your home. Power and water being the easiest but most effective. Pull out plugs or set timers, take a shower instead of a bath, only turn the washer on when there's a full load... Easy things but all great for the environment. Another easy change that you can do in seconds is (if you haven't already) swap out your bulbs to energy saving CFL ones. If every household in the US alone changed out one old fluorescent bulb for CFL, it would be like taking 1.3 million cars off the road!
Consumption of products, and the packaging they come in, is a huge drain on our world's resources. And most brands are now really good at labelling what they sell, so you can be informed and buy the items which are made, packaged or created in ways that are gentle on the environment. Make sure you recycle the packaging and try to use everything to its fullest and extend a product's lifecycle. The less we take out of the earth the better. Here's a few ways to be better at buying clothes as a starting point for your journey to being a super sustainable consumer.
Connected with the previous tip, if you can, try to buy locally as this cuts down on the pollution created when goods and items get transported long distances. In many cases, local producers also operate to a much better set of ethical and sustainable standards than a faceless corporate producer. Produce is fresher, products made to a higher quality, they use better ingredients or materials, with less added chemicals, and have happier workers who are treated with respect. Buy small, buy local, be happy basically.
One resource you can use for a rough idea of the impact of your grocery selections is to work out its Food Miles. The results are staggering!
If you want to make a difference, pound for pound, going vegan or cutting down the amount of meat and dairy on your plate is one for the planet. Researchers at Oxford University found that you can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73% just by reducing meat, fish and dairy! Livestock farming is one of the world's biggest causes of global warming, deforestation, loss of habitats and ethically questionable. There are so many alternatives around these days that you'll never notice the difference. And it's easy to find recipes online that your tastebuds will thank you for.
Only buy what you need
It's another common sense tip really, but the less natural resources we take from mother earth the better. Ask yourself before you buy; “Is this really something I need? And can I buy it second hand, mend something I already have, or rent it?” And make sure you recycle as much as possible, if you really do have to replace old with new.
Give a gift to save the environment
You can also make a difference and contribute to reducing waste and buying less physical items when it comes to the presents you buy for your friends and family. A Milkywire gift donation is perfect because it not only helps save and protect the planet but also has a minimal secondary impact in terms of potential landfill waste. A win-win gift for all involved.
With a little care and attention, the small changes or alterations to how you, your friends and family live will really begin to have a knock-on effect for our world. And you'll start to become aware of our role in shaping our environment for the better. With things like recycling, you can really see and understand how much waste we create but also how easy it is to play a part in the bigger picture. Not everyone can be an impacter, but we can all make a contribution regardless of how old we are.
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