Living sustainably and reducing one’s environmental impact have recently become hot topics amongst socially-conscious consumers and companies around the world. With rising temperatures only becoming more prevalent in the summer months, some consumers may be looking for ways to adjust their daily behaviors towards more environmentally friendly practices.
Calls for major corporations as well as individuals to make both minor and drastic changes in their consumption habits have produced a few success stories. Starbucks just announced that they will be eliminating plastic straws from their stores worldwide after statistics on just how many plastic straws go to waste each year came to light. This singular decision will save one billion non-recyclable plastic straws from going to waste each year. However, some question the efficacy and expediency of this change. Will removing plastic straws actually reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, or will it just shift to another type of harmful waste?
Some people may be looking for ways to minimize wasteful consumption by making changes in their lifestyle habits. If you are looking for a few easy ways to live a more sustainable life, here are a few ideas to try out this summer!
- Buy a reusable coffee mug.
Cooling off with a cup of iced coffee in the summer is a great way to beat the heat. But the plastic cup, lid, and straw do more harm to the environment than one might think. Even with Starbucks ridding themselves of the plastic straw, a lot of plastic still goes to waste to provide you with that cup of coffee. Bringing a reusable cup and straw with you to your favorite coffee shop is a great way to minimize the amount of single-use plastics you consume. Some coffee shops will even give you a few cents off your beverage for bringing your own cup!
- Go thrift shopping.
I never used to consider the environmental impact of purchasing new clothing, but textile production actually contributes to global warming in more ways than I had realized. It takes over 5,000 gallons of water to make one t-shirt, and much of the fabric we buy ends up being thrown out rather than recycled. But, according to a recent study, neaarly 95% of textiles that go into land-fills could be recycled or reused. Buying second-hand clothing reduces the amount of new materials needed to be produced to satisfy consumer culture. Not only is thrift-shopping a fun summer activity that’ll leave you with a unique new outfit, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint and water consumption.
- Change your transportation.
Taking a bike ride or a long walk in the beautiful summer sun (as opposed to driving) is another easy way to minimize your carbon footprint. Driving everywhere, particularly short distances, has become all too common as people want to get places quickly and easily. In the summer, however, going somewhere by foot is a great excuse to get some sun and exercise all while reducing your environmental impact. If you must drive, consider carpooling or using public transportation, as those are still ways to minimize the negative effects of automobile emissions.
These are just a couple of ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle while staying cool this summer. Hopefully you have an opportunity to try them out and adopt them into your daily life! Sustainability goes far beyond these simple solutions or just the summertime, but there’s never a bad time to start becoming more conscious of how your lifestyle choices impact the environment!
Annabelle Golden uses her love of exploring New Orleans to write for The Crescent. The Political Science and Environmental Studies major is from New York, and excels at geography games, so don’t challenge her.