We have been asking - What are some simple changes we can all implement in day-to-day life that will genuinely make a positive difference in our earth's health?
Thanks to decades of excessive carbon emissions, greenhouse gases in our earth's atmosphere are at catastrophic levels. With a global temperature increase of around 0.6c so far, we have already started to see the effects of this rise. As ice caps melt, sea levels rise, and bushfires and floods increase, the time to act with urgency is now if we are to reverse the process.
While this is an enormous issue that will take government leaders making significant changes to legislation, there is actually a lot we can do independently to facilitate some pretty big changes ourselves.
We have a responsibility to do what we can for the future of our planet. And here we have some easy, everyday ways we can start:
Use sustainable toilet paper
Toilet paper eventually biodegrades, and even though almost everyone in the western world uses it every day, its use isn't a big problem. However, what we do see is the manufacturing of toilet paper contributing to the increase of carbon emissions.
Opting for a recycled toilet paper is one option. Products like Naturale (1) use recycled paper to make their toilet paper, and proceeds from their sales go to provide trees to the Daintree Forest and the conservation of the endangered Cassowary Corridor.
Who Gives a Crap (2) tackles world issues in another effective way. Their toilet paper is made from bamboo, a grass that grows quickly, making it a sustainable source. Not only are Who Gives a Crap a great environmental choice, they also donate half their profits to help build toilets for people in need.
Use reusable lunch wrapper or containers
Throw away wrappers and containers used for holding lunches or storing food in the fridge are often made from materials that either take a long time to degrade or don't decompose at all. Plastic Oceans (3) has estimated that around 50% of the 380 million tonnes of plastic waste produced globally every year is single-use. Not cool.
Suppose we use reusable lunch wrappers or containers like Wrappa (4) or U Konserve (5). In that case, we can effectively stop the need for these single-use versions to be made - cutting down on plastic production and slowing the carbon emissions.
Use reusable coffee cups
Grabbing a coffee while you are out or on a break is no longer a once-in-a-while treat. Now, 23% of coffees ordered in Australia are takeaways - meaning the use of takeaway cups has increased.
Although paper takeaway cups appear to be recyclable, most are lined with a plastic membrane to make them waterproof, meaning you are unable to add them to your recycling bin.
If enough of us opt for a reusable coffee cup like these from Fressko (6), we can cut out the single-use cups' mass production for good. It really is a no-brainer.
Use reusable shopping bags
The mass production of plastic shopping bags has a significant environmental impact on water pollution and our aquatic wildlife.
Many supermarkets and retailers have ceased the use of single-use plastic bags in their stores. However, many of these establishments still offer a 'reusable' plastic bag at a small cost, intended to be used repeatedly. We need to be mindful not to treat these reusable versions like the old single-use bags, which in turn makes the whole exercise a waste of time and money!
A safer option is to have your own reusable bags on hand, like these from Baggu (7) - trust us, these are so pretty and useful, you won't be tempted to add these to the old plastic bag collection drawer.
Make or use eco-friendly cleaning products
Chemicals used in many cleaning products have an extremely harmful effect on our indoor and outdoor environments. In large quantities, especially in commercial use, these chemicals can have a detrimental impact on air and water quality.
Even the transportation of large brand products adds to carbon emissions directly related to the rise in greenhouse gasses.
Selecting environmentally friendly home cleaning products like Koh (8) means less money is going to the production of their harmful equivalents, and your home will be a safer space for your family.
It will take a large percentage of the world to create real change in this desperate situation. It can be tempting to think that one person wouldn't make much of a difference - but if we all commit together to make sustainable, mindful choices and share our strategies with those around us, we could see dramatic improvements in the health of our vulnerable planet sooner than you think.
Sources:1. Naturale 100% recycled tissue products
2. Who Gives a Crap toilet tissue
4. Wrappa reusable essentials
5. U Konserve
6. made by Fressko reusable drinkware
7. Baggu reusable bags
8. Koh cleaning products