Rising sea level is one of the many threats posed by climate change. As the planet’s temperature gets warmer due to harmful human activities such as the continuous burning of fossil fuels, glaciers melt, which triggers an increase in the volume of the earth’s seas.
According to research published in 2019, by 2050, more coastal cities worldwide will be affected by rising sea level than previously thought. Based on the new projection, about 150 million people currently live on land that is expected to go underwater in the coming 30 years, if coastal defense measures are not implemented early.
As a response to this alarming forecast, massive awareness campaigns have been launched, encouraging people to make adjustments to their lifestyle, such as switching to the use of sustainable products. If you would like to know more about actions you can take to protect the environment, take a look at the tips listed below:
Be mindful of the packaging
A beloved product plagued with plastic woes is coffee. Plastic is traditionally used because coffee needs tight sealable packaging to shield it from oxygen and moisture. But caffeine junkies need not worry. Sustainable or compostable coffee packaging options are available in Scotland and other parts of the UK. The available options include compostable coffee pods, plant-based or reusable coffee capsules, and plantable coffee containers.
Other products that also tend to be packaged in plastic are food and bath products. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly alternatives. You can switch to using a shampoo bar instead of the usual liquid version to do away with pump bottles. Another option is to bring your shampoo and conditioner containers to refilling stations.
When it comes to food, you can use reusable silicone food bags as an alternative to resealable plastic bags. If you are going on a picnic or bringing packed lunch to school or work, consider using a stainless steel or glass lunch box instead of a plastic food container.
Lessen your meat intake
According to the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the production of “1 kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 liters of water, [while the production of] 1 kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 liters of water.” Since more water is used in the food processing and preparation of meat and less for vegetables, reducing your meat consumption is one way of lessening your water footprint.
This could be difficult for people who have not been raised on a vegetarian lifestyle. But it is possible to make this happen by beginning with small steps such as eating meat three to five times a week instead of every day. What’s important is to keep going at it until the meat in your diet has been significantly reduced.
Reduce your plastic use
Yearly, about 8 million metric tons of plastic trash washes up in the ocean. Each piece of trash is slowly sucked into one of the five garbage-filled gyres in the seas. Since most plastic is non-biodegradable, the trash breaks down into tiny pieces called microplastics, which are sometimes mistaken for food by marine animals. Some of these animals die. Those that live pass the toxins from plastic up the food chain until the toxin-carrying animal eventually ends up on our plates.
To help alleviate this problem, here’s what you can do:
- Get yourself a tumbler so that you can do away with plastic bottles. Take note that some cafes and bubble tea shops offer a discount for bringing your own tumbler or cup. You have helped the environment and also saved some money along the way. A win-win situation!
- When you have plans of getting food to go, bring cutlery and reusable straws with you.
- Ditch the microbeads. These tiny pieces of plastic are usually found in bath products such as body wash and face scrubs. Replacing them with sugar, salt, or oatmeal will help you achieve the same results. You can even make your own scrub or mask.
- Switch to bamboo toothbrushes. According to an estimate, 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are annually used worldwide, and about 80% of these end up in the ocean.
- Bring reusable shopping bags when you go grocery shopping.
Undergoing a lifestyle change can be tough, especially if one is trying to undo practices that have been done for years. But if you start with something small and steadily work your way up from there, you will soon notice that there has been an improvement.
As more people join in the quest for sustainable living, eco-friendlier alternatives to existing products will be accessible to a wider range of people. Until then, one must continue doing their part in the hope of influencing other people to do the same.