Earth Day 2016: How You Can Make A Difference
April 22nd marks Earth Day a chance to reflect on the state of our environment and discuss ways in which each individual can contribute towards change.
Starting with Education
Statistics can hit hard, our environment is in a state of crisis and looking at the actual numbers can be a bit overwhelming. We put together an article that highlights the state of our environment and the reality of its future if humans continue using and abusing resources at our current rate.
Contributing Towards Change
Coming to conclusions about what changes individuals can make that will create the most positive impact on the earth’s environment is a hot debate in the conservation world. Below we weigh in with our top three ways in which individuals can make a measurable difference.
Drive Less. Walk More.
Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to emitting unwanted CO2 emissions into our environment.
If you live in an area where you need a car think about what type of car you are driving. The older the car the less environmentally friendly it is and clearly the more often you drive your car the bigger environmental impact it will have.
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Consider biking or walking whenever possible. If you live in an urban area look into carpooling or using public transportation. If you are feeling creative buy a pair of rollerblades or a skateboard to help you get around.
For more tips and information regarding environmentally friendly transportation options the United States Environmental Protection Agency has put together a helpful collection of resources to browse.
Believe it or not, your diet is one of the ways in which you most directly impact our environment. Going vegan has a bigger environmental impact than buying a hybrid car or forgoing showers for 6 months, not to mention the health benefits that you will personally experience.
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If you are not ready for such a big lifestyle commitment there are other small ways that you can make a big difference. Producing one pound of beef uses 2,400 gallons of water, whereas a pound of wheat only takes 25 gallons. Earth Share has written a wonderful article that further explores the topic, well worth a read!
Consider making a conscious effort to go meatless for a couple of days a week, imagine the difference we could make if we all made such a small shift in our daily habits.
Become an Advocate
Sometimes I personally get overwhelmed when it comes to environmental issues. The problems are large and I am small. The more information I gain the more immobilized I feel in my ability to make any sort of significant difference. Until I stop, take a deep breath, and realize that the potential for change exists solely in the possibility of each individual doing their part.
Which is why I choose to be an advocate for change. I can do my part and I can also educate others on why their small changes matter.
Really, seriously matter.
If we all take the time to get educated and then spread that knowledge to others we can, in fact, make some significantly big dents in some problems that can seem impossibly large.
Ways to be an advocate:
- Spread the word. Talk to your friends, tell them to talk to their friends, let a chain reaction of knowledge grow.
- Create a blog, use your written voice to reach a greater audience.
- Look into environmental volunteer opportunities. For inspiration check out GVI’s diverse range of conservation volunteer options.
There are many ways to contribute towards environmental change. What personal steps have you taken? What resolutions can you make this Earth Day to continue making a positive impact? What ways can you further educate yourself in order to increase informed decision making? It’s time to look critically at our planets reality in order to change the course of the future.
GVI is a multi-award winning Service Learning organization. Find out more about our international service learning programs and see how students from around the world are making a difference.
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