It’s up to each of us
So often I hear people say that they continue doing the things they do because “it doesn’t make a difference anyway”. I have to say I disagree with this. Who would you say is responsible for making a difference to the way we live our lives? You got it – we are! Each and every one of us is responsible for the choices he/she makes and the consequences of those choices. And all of our individual choices impact each other in one way or another. Which therefore means that what we do or do not do certainly does make a difference.
How can I make a difference?
One of the reasons we feel we have no power to influence change might be because so many of us think we have to do great things in order to bring about any degree of change. I also disagree with this. Change can come about from the small steps we take in our everyday life as well, which can in fact turn out to be very effective. By taking small steps and being an example to others we are able to effect great changes in the long run which definitely will make a difference to many of us.
So what are some of the things we could do in our daily lives to make our world a better place? Here are some examples. As always I would be very happy to hear from you if you have any other suggestions you might like to share.
Making a difference
1. Number one on my list is to reduce the amount of “Styrofoam” we use. Styrofoam, Dow Chemical’s brand name for the polystyrene foam it produces for thermal insulation uses, is actually usually incorrectly used. This material has some good uses like when it is used in the construction of roads to counteract effects of adverse weather conditions like freezing. On the hand polystyrene is made from styrene. And expanded polystyrene foam, which is used to make the disposable cups, plates etc is made from polystyrene.
We mostly use the term styrofoam though to refer to expanded polystyrene foam and this is what I am referring to here. In my opinion the negative effects of this petroleum-based plastic ought to give us cause to rethink how and how much we use it. Styrene has long been suspected to be a carcinogen and in fact in 2014 styrene was reportedly “officially linked to cancer”.
Toxins and Pollutants
Furthermore Benzene, one of the “ingredients” used to produce styrene is a known toxin. It can cause an a whole list of health issues. WE the consumers are cautioned against the use of styrene containers for hot foods and drinks because the chemical may leach into the foods and beverages. This must surely be taken as an indication of the inherent dangers of using these items.
But there are other reasons for not using polystyrene. It poses a grave danger to our waters and the fish in them; Styrene does not disintegrate, it is light and floats easily. In recent years massive amounts of products made from styrene have been found washed up on shores all over the world, but even worse in the bellies of fish and large sea mammals. Besides this, prolonged exposure to styrene, from which polystyrene is made, can cause depression, irritations and other illnesses.
2. What about getting into the habit of substituting plastic bags for reusable linen bags when you go shopping? It does not take much to develop a habit of having a small foldaway bag in your handbag or in your car, so that even when you shop spontaneously you can still avoid accepting or buying a plastic bag. More and more countries are banning the use of plastic bags altogether but we don’t have to wait until this becomes a reality in our area – you can start tomorrow by reducing the amount of plastic bags you use.
3. Reducing/readjusting the brightness of your pc or laptop screen can help to reduce the amount of energy you use and by so doing you reduce your carbon footprint. You can calculate your own personal “footprint” here. This link leads to some interesting and useful facts from University of Cambridge on saving energy.
4.This one is likely to get lot of shouts from those who say they need to eat meat everyday or at least very often. I am not here to convert, but cutting down on the amount of meat each person consumes would make a big difference to the health of our planet. I would not want to even attempt to convince you to stop eating meat. However, I do believe we can only make wise and informed decisions if we know both sides of the story. What do you think about the fact that around 1,800 – 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef? Imagine how much water could be saved by reducing your meat intake just by one day a week. This film is one I strongly recommend if want to know more.
5. You could start composting. First you get rid of the smelly bin in your kitchen as foods rot away. Plus you can use the compost to fertilise your garden or vegetable patch. You can then start growing your own veggies, herbs or more depending on the space you have available.
6. Similar to composting is recycling. Separate your glass, plastics and paper wherever possible. Recycling also gives you an idea of what packaging materials you are using and how much of it you really need.
Also rather than putting waste in recycling bins, look at ways to recycle products at home or in the office. This guide will provide you with many ideas.
7. Turning off lights when you leave a room will save you more than money. Remember this especially if you are going to be away for a while. You will be adding a positive contribution to making the world a better place and taking care of our planet. The same applies to turning off switches when not needed. Leaving lights on and devices plugged in (even when they are not charging or being used) consumes electricity unnecessarily. It also increases your bills and is a waste of energy.
8. Turning off the tap while you are brushing your teeth could apparently save up to 5 gallons of water. Getting your car washed at the car wash can also save you water. That makes a difference of about 50% of what you would use at home on average. And it does not take much effort to adopt this new habit either.
9. When you are eating out or buying a snack the next time, see if you can only use one napkin;Annually around 34 million trees are destroyed to cater for our excessive use of napkins.
10. Avoid using bleach and other chemical cleaning materials. Vinegar, baking soda and essential oils are great for cleaning so many areas in and around the home.
What ideas do you have which you would like to share? We can all do something, no matter how small. Don’t be deluded into thinking your contribution is not significant – it definitely is!
Looking forward to hearing from you
“the three poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance. Do not deny their existence but turn them around and you have generosity, compassion, and wisdom. ” ~Clifton Bradley