Easy Ways to Help The Environment



Rayner Reinhardt, Staff

Climate change and environmental concerns are continuing to grow as a social discussion, and as they do, people are questioning how their individual actions can make a difference. The average person may not seem capable of solving rising sea levels, mountains of plastic in the ocean, or the vacillating weather—but easy contributions made by each of us can change the current lifestyle, where damaging the Earth seems to be the norm. Here’s a list of ways to easily help the environment; try to keep these in mind and encourage your friends to do so as well!  

1.Pick up a piece of trash. Picking up litter that you see outside can help the environment for many different reasons. Taking it off the ground and putting it in either trash or recycling will guarantee that it won’t become dangerous animal food; a litter-free environment is aesthetically pleasing and will foster the love of nature; keeping trash out of storm drains can prevent flooding and water pollution. “Picking up trash and throwing your own away is probably the easiest thing you can do to help out the environment. It shouldn’t be so hard to take responsibility for your waste,” sophomore Nathan Frenkel said. It’s not too hard to pick up trash when you see it lying around; encourage your friends to do the same. It can make a difference in the long run.  

2. Carpool. Cars release carbon and other greenhouse gases that contribute to air pollution and global warming. Carpooling to school or other activities with friends can cut down the number of cars being used, which means less harmful emissions. Electric or hybrid cars automatically cut down emissions because they rely less on gasoline. A future transition to these types of cars can help preserve and clean our air. According to the EPA, other easy ways to reduce harmful auto emissions is to walk, bike, or use public transportation when you can.  

3. Bring your own bags grocery shopping. Plastic bags that grocery stores use aren’t biodegradable. This means they will sit in a landfill for years or even enter the natural environment. Bringing your own reusable or cloth bags can cut out the need for so much plastic, and they can usually hold more, too. 

4. Ditch the plastic water bottleThis is another easy way to reduce our plastic consumption. More than 60 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills per day. Again, plastic isn’t biodegradable and will continue to pollute the Earth through our lifetime. Swapping your one-use plastic bottle for a reusable metal or ceramic bottle can ensure your get plenty of uses out of your purchase—it can be cheaper in the long-run as well. Reusable bottles or mugs can be used for any drink, including tea or coffee. Most coffee shops will even fill up your reusable cups in place of their plastic or foam cups. 

5. Buy in bulk. Senior Katie thor Straten says she “goes to Costco or other stores that sell in bulk with [her] mom to reduce the amount of packaging.” When you buy items like food, drinks, or household supplies in bulk, the amount of plastic and cardboard packaging is less than buying multiple smaller packages. Also, buying bulk is usually cheaper than making several trips. Less packaging waste reduces the trash filling our landfills and threatening the environment

6. Plant a garden. Maintaining your own garden can have multiple benefits. Senior Ashleigh Jankowski says that her family uses their garden “for homegrown vegetables and a family activity during the nice weather.” Growing your own vegetables not only lets you control the amount of harmful fertilizers used in the production of the food, but also cuts out the need for mass crop transportation. Transporting food takes hundreds of miles by car or truck, adding even more auto emissions to the air we breathe. Commercial farming is also known to add harmful nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers to land and water, which can be virtually eliminated in a personal garden.  

7. Take shorter showers. The average person uses 80-100 whole gallons of water per day. Cutting your showers down to five minutes or less can greatly reduce the amount of wasted water than we use today. This not only saves energy and money, but also preserves our water supply—something that continues to be threatened all over the world. Try timing your shower for 5 minutes and leave the singing for the mirror—after the water stops running.  

8. Turn off the lights. Junior Nic Brouse says, “my parents used to always tell me to turn off the lights when I left the room. It’s honestly one of the easiest ways to make a difference.” Turning off any lights or lamps when you’re not using them reduces your energy usage. Most energy in the United States is produced by power plant emissions, which release harmful greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide or methane. This effect contributes to global warming and rising sea levels. Lessening our dependence on energy can lessen the negative impact humans have on the environment.