It’s summer, and you’re stuck at home. With everything you may be dealing with, the environment may not be the first thing on your mind right now. But as you settle in to your new mode of living, take a second to think about the little things you can change in your daily routine.
There are ways you can help save the planet this summer without even leaving your home. For instance, you can use a fan instead of air conditioning in your home, or open the windows in your car rather than turn on the AC. If you are hot, take advantage of that and take colder showers. You’ll be using less energy, which can also have the positive effect of lowering your utility bill.
If you’re ordering takeout, specify not to include paper napkins or disposable utensils. Many restaurants include them automatically, and you may not need them if you’re eating at home. On the topic of food, try going vegan or vegetarian a few days a week. Animal agriculture produces a large percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and guzzles freshwater resources. Plant-based diets are better for the planet — and just as tasty.
While you’re thinking about food, check out your city’s guidelines for composting. If you don’t already, start separating your food waste and disposing of it properly. If you have a garden, you may be able to use some of your food waste for garden compost.
You can also take this time to reflect on how much waste your household produces. Are there single-use items you consistently use and throw away? For example, if you have been using disposable surgical masks when you go out, consider sewing your own washable, reusable masks instead. Make as many as you’re able to, and you won’t have to do laundry as frequently. Doing laundry less frequently is a great way to save water. Make sure to clean the lint filter if you have a dryer, too — your clothes will dry faster and less energy will be used.
And don’t forget the little things your parents always got on your case about: Turn off lights when you leave a room, turn off the water when you brush your teeth and don’t leave every device plugged in all the time.
Remember, it’s going to take more than individual actions to save the earth. But in addition to voting and organizing for real structural change, these tips are a good place to start this summer.