Here’s how to be climate conscious: 4 fun ways you can help the environment

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Josh Siatkowski Staff Writer

In an age of headlines about the carbon-intensive habits of the ultra-rich, it can feel like our own climate-conscious behavior will be eclipsed by a billionaire’s private jet. I tend to. But the average individual is more powerful than you think.

When Taylor Swift and Travis Kelsey’s star-studded relationship took social media, the NFL, and ultimately every news outlet by storm, I finally relented and decided to find out about America’s newest power couple. Ta.

As soon as I started my search, I found a not-so-flattering article in the Economic Times. The article stated that Swift’s use of private jets made her “the world’s biggest celebrity carbon polluter.”

Swift’s Elas Tour will see her perform 151 shows on five continents over 20 months, burning up a lot of the singer’s jet fuel. According to the article, this long trip, combined with frequent returns to Arrowhead Stadium, means Swift recorded an astonishing 8,293 tons of CO2 emissions in 2023.

According to data from Worldometers, per capita CO2 emissions in the United States are 15.32 tons. By this measure, the average American would need more than 500 people to match the pop star’s Goliath footprint.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, “What can the average person do when people like Taylor Swift emit more CO2 than 500 people?” .

There are more answers than you think. Let’s start with the fact that the Taylor Swifts of the world aren’t polluting the planet alone. In fact, according to Bitlux, the total usage of private jets around the world in 2019 was equivalent to 899,000 tons of CO2. According to Worldometers, in 2016 the United States alone emitted more than 5 billion tons of CO2.

With more than 99% of America’s carbon emissions still subject to removal, there is much more people can do besides political lobbying and becoming vegan. Here are some engaging yet equally effective ideas for college that you may not have thought of.

1. Go to a thrift store

Frugality is already a trend among the younger generation, and it’s great for the environment. The fashion industry accounts for around 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, so buying and donating used clothing can reduce the production of new clothing and have a positive impact on climate change. So the next time you’re happy to get a big harvest from Plato’s closet, remember that you’re also doing your part for the environment.

2. Visit a national park or forest

This may seem counterintuitive. How does packing up your car for a transcontinental road trip help the environment? Well, national forest and park lands are actually great for the atmosphere. According to Environmental Protection Agency data, trees in protected areas offset as much as 12% of America’s carbon emissions. To ensure the protection of these parks, it is important to maintain a healthy flow of visitors to these parks. So ask your friends about a spring break trip to Big His Bend or the Guadalupe Mountains.

3. Use leftovers

If you get inspired and start cooking a feast that night and end up with leftovers that don’t taste good in the morning, don’t add to your food waste by throwing them away. Instead, check out this website for some ideas on how to turn yesterday’s leftovers into tonight’s culinary exploration. Or, if you don’t feel like getting back into the kitchen, try some recipes that are even better with leftovers.

4. Study with natural light

OK, this may not be all that fun, but we all have to study, and we all want to do well in school (hopefully). Research shows that studying in natural light actually improves student performance. So turn off your energy-sapping fluorescent lights, open your windows, and watch your grades and weather improve.

There are more pollutants in the world than just the habits of glamorous celebrities, and there are more ways to reduce them than previously thought. Understand that almost every decision you make has some impact on the climate. But there’s no need to worry. Acting climate-consciously doesn’t have to be difficult and can even add some much-needed spice to our daily lives.

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