Guest Post by Callum Dawson*
We all have our little bad habits, but how often do we consider whether they could be causing damage to the environment? Following the findings from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change and global warming it’s clear that we need to do a lot more, collectively, to help remedy the damage that has been inflicted on Planet Earth.
And where better to start than in our own home!
Boiling the kettle for too long or too full
One of the most common environmental crimes is boiling the kettle for too long or too full.
Kettles actually use a lot of energy – enough to light a whole household – so the best thing to do is measure how much you’re going to need in your cup and then pour that cold water straight into the kettle for boiling. This way, you’ll stop second-guessing how much you’ll need.
You could also look into some energy-efficient kettles!
Eating farmed meat
We’re not telling you to convert to a life of strict veganism, but just be mindful about your diet’s consequences on the planet. A diet that is based heavily on farmed meat – as opposed to the organic equivalents of the same meats – is one that props up a damaging industry.
In terms of environmental crimes, agribusiness has a lot to answer for – like hacking down countless acres of rainforest to make way for cattle farming (which then contributes to global soil depletion, not to mention the release of methane gases).
By going meat-free a few days a week, or just as much as you can, you and your home will make a monumental contribution to the cause.
Leaving the tap running
Remember to turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and while you’re scrubbing washing-up liquid into any pots and pans. The average European wastes around 250 litres of water a day. In America, it’s as much as 575 litres a day per household. (Now, if you have a dishwasher, that’s a great start – they use far less water than you’d use if you washed everything by hand in the sink.)
Buying and using single-use plastic bag
You might not see the connection between those plastic bags you use at the supermarket and the great, big, dangerously growing heap of plastic that is part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it’s highly likely that the plastic bags you use will eventually end up in the sea.
Bear that in mind when you’re out food-shopping, and invest in a couple of reusable bags.
Many of us aren’t aware of the chain of events that paper-waste initiates. 14% of all global wood-harvest is used to make paper, so when you consider the scale of an operation which works to give you that piece of paper you just threw away, it really is eye-opening.
Remember recycling uses energy too! Be mindful of the amount of paper that goes into the recycling bin and go paperless where you can.
Smoking is not only harmful to your personal health, but the process by which cigarettes are produced is also harmful to the environment. The environmental cost of tobacco production.
In fact, smoking is an all-round no-no for the eco-conscious individual. The actual act of smoking releases pollutants like ammonia, nicotine, carbon dioxide, and other harmful compounds into the atmosphere. You shouldn’t need much persuading on this one.
Eating lots of fast food
The fast-food industry is a major drag on environmental health, with a massive chunk of street garbage and waste being attributed to fast-food vendors. The transportation of fast food also contributes to the negative impact, and believe it or not, the process of making just one Big Mac results in anywhere between 1-3.5kg of CO2 emissions.
Change starts at home
Whether you live with a full family or by yourself, it’s vital that you do what you can to help the environment. The individual efforts all count for a collective impression, so every little really does help.
*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.
Callum Dawson is a writer for Project Air Source, one of the UK’s air source heating technology providers.