By Sica Schmitz
Founder of Bead & Reel, frequent speaker, writer, and sustainable stylist.
We at REV try to remain optimistic towards sustainability because being cool, calm and collected has been our approach towards the big ethical issues we aim to tackle. However, a recent article in New York Magazine has gotten us a bit riled up and it seemed timely to talk about climate change realistically.
The notion of climate change is something that we all tend to shy away from due to the anxiety it can cause-but if we are going to change the course of things to come we all need to start owning up to our personal responsibilities in tacking this problem. Some may still deny the science but they are few and far between and why should we risk them being wrong when it will be too late to act? We owe it to our children, our nieces and nephews, and even just Mother Earth to own up to the severity of this issue.
“If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today” – David Wallace Wells
“Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” says write David Wallace-Wells. If you choose to read the article yourself, I would highly recommend it because it outlines all the scenarios we truly want to avoid happening. Severe problems such as heat that quite literally kills, the end of food as we know it, and the outbreak of new and lethal diseases that are currently trapped in Arctic ice but stand to be unleashed when it melts.
Whilst it can seem like we as individuals have very little power to prevent this from happening, our everyday choices make a collective impact that will go not only towards combatting climate change but also towards fixing sea pollution or stopping deforestation. I really wanted to make this article not so doom and gloom, but rather strong enough to make people really want to make some changes. And do-able changes. So here we go, my top tips for going green this summer (and making a positive impact on this fight for nature as we know it)!
- Hydrate, responsibly. During these hot months, it’s important to drink water, obviously. But we are consuming more plastic than ever and water bottles are a huge culprit in this. Americans alone used about 50 billion plastic water bottles just last year. Invest in a couple of glass water bottles and always keep one in your bag, you will be shocked at how easy it is to find water fountains and clean taps. Our favorites are BKR bottles and memobottle.
- Sundry. Instead of running the dryer and wasting energy, take advantage of the warm weather, sunny skies and summer breeze by air drying your clothes outside on a line. Dryers use up a lot of electricity, almost more than any other household appliance, so discard them when possible. There are added benefits to this besides just saving money and the energy-the sun is a natural whitener, so when you put thoroughly wet whites out on the line, the stains fade naturally. Plus no need for harmful bleach.
About 100 Million Tons Of Carbon Dioxide Are Emitted Each Year Due To Air Conditioning Use Within The States Alone.
- Be very conscious of your A/C use. About 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year due to air conditioning use within the States alone – an average of about two tons for each home with an air conditioner. We know that during the summer you need to turn that A/C on in order to cool down, but make sure it is operating efficiently and minimizing energy consumption. Clean out your air filters, only cool the rooms that you are using, and if you have centrally controlled air, turn the temperature up (or turn the A/C off) during the day when you aren’t home.
- Become a vegetarian. This is an easy one as there is so much great, local produce that’s in season at the moment. Livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions with cattle-raising alone contributing 65 percent of the livestock sector’s GHGs. Our meat addiction also has environmental and social effects across borders as forests continue to be cleared to meet increasing demands. Of course, we all love BBQs, but it’s no secret that eating vegetables is better for the environment. Show salads and summer veggies some love as well.
- Hop on a bike. Instead of giving into our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, walk or bike to your destination when you can. Getting a little sunshine, exercise, and reducing your carbon footprint is a win-win personally and the overall carbon footprint of your ride the most minimal. Cases show that if cities like London were to follow the examples of the Netherlands or Denmark to make their cities better for cycling, we’d see huge benefits from lower carbon emissions, hugely reduced costs in transport infrastructure and potentially safer, healthier places.
- Get your iced latte in a reusable tumbler. I am a huge iced coffee drinker, it’s one of my favorite things about summer. However, the amount of plastic that is going to landfill because of our coffee habits is slightly staggering. Different kinds of plastic can degrade at different times, but the average time for a plastic cup to completely degrade is at least 450 years. It can even take some cups 1000 years to biodegrade! Suddenly the impact of our afternoon fix is mind-blowing. So I have gotten myself a Healthy Human reusable Tumbler that I love, plus it keeps the ice iced longer.
- While you’re at it, make sure to always refuse the straw. Over 550,000,000 straws are used on a daily basis in just the U.S. and the U.K. Those straws aren’t even getting recycled; they just end up in dumps or as trash in our oceans. I mean, just say no.