Another year and another Earth Day has gone by. A day where, for 24 hours, people make slightly more of an effort to do their bit for the environment.
But what about the other 364 days of the year?
Is the impact of one day really going to make the change we need to save the planet?
Honestly, whilst it’s better than nothing, committing just one day a year to the changes we need to make won’t help all that much in the long run.
Craig Reucassel, who you may know from The Chaser’s War on Everything, spoke with us at length about Australia’s waste crisis, and you can check out what he had to say in the player above.
The good news is, people are starting to clue up – kind of.
Between Earth Day 2017 and the Earth Day 2018, the “plastic problem” has gained huge media and political attention, largely because of David Attenborough’s incredible doco-series, Blue Planet II.
There’s also been a 987% increase (yep, you read that right) in vegetarianism and veganism food demands, according to Just Eat.
This has a hugely positive impact on the environment, given over 51% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.
So if you’re feeling inspired and want to hop on the ‘save the planet’ train, we are here to help.
Here are five ways you can save the planet tomorrow:
1) Request a food compost bin
In the UK, houses have three bins – recycling, food waste and general waste – and we think it’s time Australia did the same.
In some postcodes, you can request a food waste bin. The benefits include reducing the quantity of what you’re sending off to landfills and also the very prominent realisation of how much food you’re wasting.
If people stopped throwing out edible food, the impact on the environment would be equal to removing one in every four vehicles from our roads.
Talk about food for thought.
2) Stop using plastic bags
We know, it’s so easy to put your milk in a plastic bag to carry home from the shops.
But with 8 million tonnes of plastic being dumped in the ocean every year, the life of that plastic bag is going to be detrimental to the environment.
Just take the extra 3.5 seconds to grab a reusable fabric bag. You could even grab one of these eco-bags from Cotton On – they’re only $2 and 100% of the profits go to charity.
3) Bring a reusable cup for your morning caffeine kick
We’d never say stop drinking coffee. After all, we Aussies have some of the best coffee going. But when you grab your morning fix on your way to work, put it in a reusable cup, rather than the cardboard ones coffee shops use.
They may be cardboard, but most coffee shop takeaway cups aren’t actually recyclable because of the plastic lining inside the cups which makes them liquid proof.
So even if it goes in the recycling, the chances are they’ll end up in landfill.
4) Reduce your meat intake
Please don’t stop reading, we’re not asking you to turn to a plant-based diet, promise.
You might be surprised to hear it, but Australians actually consume the most meat per capita of any country in the world.
Which means, by default, our carbon footprint is pretty huge.
For every pound of meat produced, it takes 2,500 gallons of water, as opposed to the 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.
Just go a couple of days a week without meat. Your body will thank you, and so will the environment.
5) Go out and buy some bee-friendly plants
They look pretty and they’re saving the environment. Double win.
It’s no secret honey bee numbers are declining. The honey bee is one of the most important players in our environment infrastructure and their dwindling numbers are having a big impact.
All you need to do is go out and buy some friendly flowers for your garden. They can even be potted if you live in an apartment.
We guarantee that once you start to incorporate these environmentally friendly lifestyle changes, it will just become default behaviour.
Don’t forget, it’s never too late to start saving the planet.
It’s the only one we have.