By Sophie James
Did you know over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year?
Taking care of the environment doesn’t have to include Jurassic changes, there are an abundance of small changes you can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Implementing small changes you will stick to will have a more considerable effect than more enthusiastic changes that you can’t keep up with (or don’t fit with your lifestyle).
By being more conscious of our impact on the environment, we allow a longer, healthier life for each other and the planet!
Donating your old clothes and thrifting are two ways to help your positive impact on the world.
Making clothing with synthetic materials and fibers requires a lot of energy from petroleum and natural gases, which pollute the environment. By buying secondhand items and donating your old clothing, you are reducing how many new garments are produced and bought.
Even nonsynthetic garments like those made of cotton can have a bad impact on wildlife. Many plants get covered in pesticides to protect from insects. These chemicals are harmful to some wildlife, so reducing how much new clothing you buy can really help out.
Unsubscribe from magazines and catalogs you get in the mail and don’t ever read.
All of the junk mail and old catalogs for places you don’t like anymore really adds up to create a lot of wasted paper.
Taking just a few minutes to call and get off the mailing list for all the magazines you throw away anyway can save some trees.
And for the magazines you do still enjoy, recycle them when you’re done!
Choose reusable products over single-use.
Using items such as cloth napkins, glass bottles or even multi-use plastic can reduce how much plastic ends up in oceans every day.
Try out public transportation!
Using public transportation can help lessen the amount of air pollution being put out daily.
If public transportation is not easily accessible in your area, carpooling is another great way to help out the environment.
Make your own coffee.
Simple things such as making your own coffee can get rid of some of the waste created by using paper/plastic cups and straws in the morning.
If you prefer going to a cafe for coffee or other drinks, bringing your own reusable cup is a better alternative.
Use your local library!
Going to a library to get books instead of constantly buying new ones can help save paper and money!
Go meatless every once in a while.
If it fits your lifestyle, eating vegetarian sometimes can help lower the amount of pollution produced by meat-processing plants and can help protect some animals.
Agricultural activity is one of the main causes of air and water pollution.
Make your own cleaning products!
Harmful chemicals are often found in cleaning products, such as phosphorus, ammonia and an unhealthy amount of nitrogen.
When your dish soap goes down the drain, it filters into a water treatment factory that does its best to rid the liquid of any harmful chemicals.
However, these are not always 100% effective. You can make your own dish soap out of coconut oil, essential oils, water and lye.
Being mindful about the ingredients in your sunscreen can save some marine life from taking in harmful chemicals.
A good eco-friendly sunscreen (check out a list here) is the Reef Repair or the Blue Lizard sunscreen. The ingredients you want to avoid are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
Plant a tree!
According to the New York Times calculation, one acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people for an entire year.
Trees lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by producing oxygen!
Sophie, 15, is a sophomore at Decatur High School.
This story was published at VOXATL.org, Atlanta’s home for uncensored teen publishing and self-expression. For more about the nonprofit VOX, visit www.voxatl.org.