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We have a moral obligation to take care of our planet. Many people shirk the responsibility, claiming that their influence, especially when compared to that of larger corporations and companies, is so minuscule as to be basically meaningless. However, that sort of lazy shifting of blame is exactly how the continuous degradation of our environment is perpetuated. By repetitively denying our own culpability and refusing to live with a more serious intention to protect our planet, we only feed the ongoing destruction of the environment.
While I don’t mean to lay the blame solely in the hands of consumers, we do have the power to change things by being more conscientious.
I understand how daunting the idea of changing your lifestyle in order to be more eco-friendly may seem. However, there are many simple, achievable and realistic ways in which we can all make small adjustments in order to live more sustainably.
The first step is to become aware of the impact you may be having on the environment. Consider what brands you’re giving your business to, what single-use products you use that you could replace with something more sustainable and what sort of non-biodegradable waste you create that could be eliminated.
The next step is a little more difficult. We need to actively work to make a change. Here are a few easy ways in which you can make a difference:
Recycle: It’s so easy to do if you live in town! Just bring your recyclable materials out with your trash on Tuesday mornings in an easily identifiable container and the waste management workers will take it from there. If you don’t live in town, it is $4 a carload to bring your recyclable materials in, so invite all your friends and make a weekly or monthly trip together.
Be more energy conscious: turn off all unnecessary appliances whenever possible. Not only will this help conserve energy, but it will also save you money!
Buy locally grown products: while this is very difficult to do in the winter up here, try checking out the farmer’s markets in downtown Houghton in the summer! They are held on Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. near the public library.
Invest in a few reusable shopping bags: over a million plastic bags are used every minute across the globe. Think of what an impact could be made on single-use plastic waste if even just a quarter of the global population made the choice to move to reusable bags.
Drive less, walk or bike more: again, while this can sometimes be less achievable in the winter, take advantage of the warmer summer months and reduce your carbon footprint.
There are many other realistic ways in which we can all make a positive change to become more eco-friendly. Everyone has the ability to live a more sustainable life. All we need to do is try.