Small steps to save the Earth


Photo courtesy of Maeve Hennessy

A group of reusable water bottles shuns the plastic bottle. With the growing concern for the change in our climate, the use of reusable water bottles has increased drastically.


Using reusable water bottles? Turning the lights off when you leave a room? Walking, instead of driving a mile or two? Many people believe the little things hardly make a difference, but the fact of the matter is, every effort counts when it comes to the environment.

Countries around the world have dealt with a growing risk of droughts, extreme weather, and most recently, wildfires. Regardless of whether recent climate change is caused by human activity, it can not be refuted that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased dramatically since industrialization. Our reliance on fossil fuels, and petroleum derived products, is undoubtedly to blame for that rise. 

Some may choose to place the blame on corporations and governments who are slow to act, but even individuals can take little action every day which eventually could make significant impact in fighting climate change. 

Reusable water bottles may be the easiest step one can take to help the environment. Not only do they help reduce pollution in our oceans and landfills, but they are also cost-effective, saving consumers hundreds of dollars by switching over.  Bottled water takes nearly 2000 times the amount of energy to produce than tap water of the same amount, and over 30 million barrels of oil are used per year just in the production and transportation of water bottles throughout the United States.

Air travel is one of the most dramatically impactful activities that we can take steps at the individual level to reduce. While flying is certainly the most time efficient method of travel, it also has by far the greatest impact on the environment. Because takeoff uses the most fuel, short distance flights are particularly egregious; flying from, for example New York to Philadelphia, produces 2.2 pounds of CO2 per passenger, per mile. If everyone stays conscious of their travel habits as individuals, they gain a significant degree of control over their carbon footprint.

One of the biggest obstacles to tackling climate change is a lack of understanding, which only becomes more of a problem as the discussion becomes more divisive, even toxic. In today’s political climate, it is easy for discourse to become gridlocked by condescending rhetoric and rigid worldviews held by both sides. It is everyone’s responsibility to collaborate for a resolution and search for solutions to the global issue of climate change that address it in a timely fashion.

Since the beginning of the industrial age, the amount of carbon produced has nearly doubled as the current level of CO2 exceeds 400ppm, an increase of 3 from last year. The amount of carbon in the air is a problem that will only continue to grow; each individual can, and will, need to play a role in finding solutions.