3 Small Ways To Fight Climate Change That You Can Be Doing Right From Your Desk
Taking a stand to fight climate change from the comfort of your desk can be as easy as one simple thing: reducing waste. There are many of us who care about the environment and want to have a hand in preserving it, but don't have the free time to become as directly and actively involved as we would like. Good news — in the fight against climate change, every action, no matter how small, makes a difference. The average American is expected to generate 102 tons of trash in a lifetime. That's 204,000 pounds. Remember that Earth Day mantra from grade school, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?" It still applies.
World leaders gathered in Paris on Monday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally. At the World Climate Summit on Dec. 6, a world agreement will be reached. We may not have control over the agreement, but we are always accountable for the amount of waste we produce. The thousands of pounds of waste compounded in a lifetime, combined with that of millions of other humans around you, will excrete chemicals that pollute both land and water as they trickle down the landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfills produce 18 percent of the United States' methane emissions, which ultimately contribute to the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Here are a few simple ways you can reduce your waste just while sitting at your desk (or really, wherever you are).
Bring A Reusable Water Bottle
Nalgene 32 ounce bottles are my personal favorite, but any type of plastic or stainless steel reusable bottle without BPA is a great choice. You'll drink more water and you'll do it in style without throwing away plastic bottles or cups each day. A plastic bottle takes at least 450 years to decompose, according to the National Park Service, and the biodegradation process can take up to 1,000 years. On top of this, over a million barrels of oil are burned to produce that plastic, contributing to both methane and more dangerously, carbon dioxide emissions. Many public spaces, especially on college campuses, have installed water refill stations that make refilling your bottle quite simple. If your workplace doesn't have one, encourage your manager to make an inquiry about having one installed.
Bring A Coffee Thermos
The amount of money Americans are willing to spend on lattes is insane. A large cinnamon dolce latte is going to cost you an extra $4 every morning. According to a report from the Alliance for Environmental Innovation, the production and shipping of a single paper cup with its sleeve emits about 0.11 kilograms of carbon dioxide alone. You can save a couple dozen cents — most coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup — and reduce your waste by bringing your own refillable thermos into your coffee shop. I personally like to bring a small 10-ounce thermos so that I limit my caffeine intake.
Bring Your Own Reusable Utensils
This one might be the most fun. Most grocery stores carry small little containers that include a fork, spoon, and knife. Oftentimes, the stems snap on and off for the sake of being compact. If you want a more heavy duty all-in-one utensil, outdoors or camping retailers will be your best bet. The novelty of pulling camping items out of your purse before your afternoon lunch is much more satisfying than plucking another boring white plastic fork out of the condiments stand.
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