Ten Small Ways You Can Help The Environment Right Now

June 21, 2022


“The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves.” -Wangari Maathai. 

As humans, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. 

We have the duty to protect it—not only for ourselves, but to preserve the planet for our children and future generations. Unfortunately, we have been overlooking this responsibility over the years. As it is, most of the damage done to our environment stems from massive consumption, including what we consume, how much we consume, and how often we consume. 

However, humans are consumers. Whether it is food, gas, clothing, furniture, toys, electronics, water, knick-knacks, and other goods, consuming resources is essential and innate to our existence. To save the planet, we do not need to stop consumption entirely. Instead, we need to be a little mindful of our consumption habits and how each purchase or action we do impacts the ecosystem. Luckily, effecting a change in our consumption habits is not too complicated, nor is it expensive and inconvenient to do. More importantly, there are a myriad of practical ways you can become more environmentally friendly. While you may opt to sign up as a volunteer in an environmental NGO in the Philippines, you can still effect positive ecological change by incorporating green practices into your daily habits. 

At the outset, it may seem that small changes at the individual level may seem trivial, but if these practices are done as a collective endeavor, you will see the positive outcome it will have on the environment. Keep in mind that becoming a steward or environmental warrior for the earth does not require a herculean effort. Something as simple as using ceramic baking pans or consuming less can already make a big difference. Perhaps the most obvious way to help the environment is to conserve energy and use less water. But there are practices beyond those two that would bring about a positive outcome. So, let us put our green thinking caps on and come up with less obvious but no less important green and earth-friendly habits. 

If you are having difficulty in thinking of some, take a look at the list below to learn a few straightforward everyday strategies you can do to help the environment.

1.) Consume less 

As said above, our consuming habits significantly impact the planet. That said, curbing consumption can go a long way in helping the earth rest and heal itself. With that in mind, you may want to revisit your three “R’s,” which are reduce, reuse, and recycle, respectively. Sure, it may seem like an overused and hackneyed phrase that pushes for environmental change, but it works. However, there is a fourth “R” in that phrase that often gets overlooked: refuse. It may be the most underrepresented R in the phrase, but it is the most important. 

When you refuse, you are essentially saying “no,” which may not always be easy. However, by learning to say no to freebies at events, cheap goods on clearance, and the latest gadgets, you can help the world a lot. Keep in mind that none of the aforementioned items are essential, and yet there always seems to be a ready demand for them. So, the next time you are tempted to purchase non-essential items, just think about whether it would indeed serve to improve your life. If not, you can simply refuse it. 

2.) Compost 

While “rot” does not form part of the environmental phrase said above, it should be as it has significant environmental implications. Yes, you should let your food and yard waste rot naturally in the soil instead of sending it to the landfill. In clearer words: compost them. 

Start composting your food scraps as it doubles the rewards: keeping a significant amount of trash out of the waste stream and producing rich soil for your garden. 

3.) Opt for reusable items in lieu of single-use 

A pressing environmental problem is the sheer scale of waste humans produce on a daily basis. Just think about how many people you can see drinking from disposable cups or bottles every single day. Apart from that, people are constantly carrying disposable grocery bags and eating from disposable utensils, containers, and plates—all of which can quickly add up. Keep in mind that the waste we produce needs to go somewhere, and it has a devastating effect on our oceans, soil, and marine life. 

So, instead of utilizing single-use items, opt for their environmentally responsible counterparts and commit to using them as often as possible. You will have less trash piling up in your waste bins, and you will be helping the planet in a significant way. 

4.) Start upcycling 

If you have not practiced the movement yet, start upcycling your useless and unwanted items. Essentially, upcycling is when you turn trash into treasure. The broken vase you once had can be transformed into something new such as artwork, toys, or jewelry. Apart from protecting the environment, it also allows you to explore your creative side. More than that, it prevents you from having to purchase new items. 

Kids, in particular, love making new things. Allow them to unleash their creativity by looking for useless items around your home instead of heading to the craft store. 

5.) Recycle properly 

If you cannot refuse or reduce waste, then you can turn to the final “R” and recycle it. However, do not be arbitrary about the items you can recycle. Educate yourself by researching which items can and cannot be recycled in waste bins at home. 

It may be easy to overlook this part of the process, but throwing the wrong items into the waste bin can result in an entire load being rejected. As a result, it goes back to the landfill. All it takes is simple research to find out how to recycle special items such as electronics, batteries, and appliances. 

6.) As much as possible, shop secondhand 

We all need new clothes from time to time. But instead of making a beeline to the clothing store, consider shopping for new apparel at thrift shops or vintage shirts first. Alternatively, you may want to trade clothes with friends before you even think of shopping for new clothes just yet. 

In this way, you can still give your wardrobes that much-needed update without having to waste the precious resources needed to produce new clothing. More importantly, you will be saving money. Keep in mind that shopping secondhand also applies to other categories of consumer goods such as appliances, shoes, furniture, cars, children’s games and toys, and the like. 

7.) Buy local 

Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for goods is to note the path your stuff takes just to get to you. The packaging combined with the fuel needed for delivery consumes resources, and it can take a toll on the environment. 

So, before you head out to a major grocery chain, check your local farmer’s market for fresh, package-free food. Similarly, you may want to try dining at farm-to-table restaurants. The change may be small, but buying from local farmers, artists, clothing makers, and retailers can contribute to a positive outcome for the environment. 

8.) Use fewer chemicals 

It can be pretty difficult to determine the long-term adverse effects chemicals can have on both our bodies and the planet. That said, it is best to avoid them altogether. 

With that in mind, opt for chemical-free products and all-natural beauty and hygiene items. As much as possible, go for natural household cleaners and organic food as well. 

9.) Walk, bike or carpool 

Cut back on carbon emissions by opting to walk or take the bike for short trips. Apart from helping the planet, you are getting your daily dose of exercise as well. 

However, if traveling on foot or biking to your destination is not feasible, try carpooling with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker to a mutual destination. Make sure that you use your car only as a last resort. Also, if you need to drive your car, be sure to line up your errands in the most efficient route to save time and miles driven. 

10.) Use less water 

One of the easiest ways to help the planet and protect the environment is to conserve water. Just think of the times you consume water—both inside and outside your home—and make adjustments wherever possible. A few scenarios where conserving water can come in are: 

  • Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth
  • Making water use more efficient by aerating faucets, low-flow toilets, and efficient showerheads. 
  • Fix leaky faucets 
  • Shorten showers by a few minutes 
  • Running dishwasher or washing machine only when it is full 
  • Collecting and using rainwater for watering plants. 

The things stated above are just the basics, but there are plenty of ways you can conserve water.