10 Simple Ways to Live Sustainably
There’s no denying that the environment is in crisis. The oceans are filled with over 150 million metric tons of plastic; dozens of species are going extinct every day; and hazardous toxins are saturating the planet (1, 2). World leaders and scientists alike are raising alarms about the major shift that is already underway.
“The environment will enter a new state,” explains Elizabeth Hadly, a professor at Stanford University, “and we don’t know exactly what that state will look like” (3). Similarly, the United Nations recently warned in a harrowing statement that the world’s environment is “nearing a critical point of no return” (4).
At this point, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of the planet. This doesn’t have to mean big changes to your lifestyle. Even small and simple changes can add up to produce profound results. Here are 10 simple ways you can live more sustainably and make a difference.
1. Ditch Plastic Water Bottles
Ditching plastic water bottles is perhaps one of the most impactful changes you can make to live more sustainably. As of 2016, nearly one million plastic water bottles are bought every minute, a number that keeps rising (5).
The problem is, most of these bottles end up in landfills or the ocean. From here the plastic breaks down into tiny particles which make their way into drinking water and the food chain. These microplastics expose you to compounds like BPA, which have numerous negative health effects and are obesogenic, adding to weight gain (6).
Instead of plastic water bottles, get a reusable glass or metal water canister. And with a good water filter, you can refill each time with clean water.
2. Boycott Palm Oil
Before you buy anything, read the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t contain palm oil. Unless labeled as sustainably sourced, farmers destroyed countless acres of precious rainforest land for its production.
Not only is this land vital to the earth’s oxygen production, but much of it is also inhabited by orangutans. As such, the palm oil industry has robbed orangutans of up to 90% of their habitat (7).
Keep an eye out for common items that contain palm oil: bread, vegan cheese, soap, skincare products, ice cream, processed snacks, chocolate, packaged cookies, and peanut butter.