Living Environmentally-Friendly

~All over the world, people are aspiring to live more sustainably. For the past year I’ve attempted to transition into a zero waste lifestyle. Simply put, it has been one of the most difficult, but also worthwhile adventures I have done.~

Lily Byer
Lily Byer

Environmentalist. Engineer. Animal Lover. Volunteer

Diet Transition:

Since birth I have always felt compassion and sympathy for mistreated animals. After watching Food, Inc when I was eight years old, my attachment to animals heightened. Only two minutes into the brutally honest documentary, my perspective on life began to shift. After the film, I decided I no longer wanted to eat meat. I made it my goal to become a vegetarian!

Back in the day, I was an avid meat lover; transitioning into a vegetarian diet was a rocky road. However, it was the road I wanted to take. After three years of going back and forth between meat and vegetables, I finally became a full-on vegetarian. At first, I was doing it for the animals, but I slowly came to realize how impactful my diet was for the environment and my health.

Agriculture plays a huge role in climate change. As the United Nations has said, livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined! (UN, 2006). 

According to Down To Earth’s Article “Top 10 Reasons To Go Veggie”, there are some major benefits for transitioning into a vegetarian diet (full list on their website): 

  1. Reduce risk of Heart Disease
  2. Lose excess weight
  3. Reduce global warming
  4. End world hunger
  5. Live longer!

Recently, in my sophomore year of college, I switched to a vegan diet. This was a brand new challenge because I now had to give up something I loved even more, eggs. For those who can relate, nothing compares to scrambled or fried eggs. So delicious! Even though I have struggled with being a vegan, I think it’s important to emphasize the benefits of transitioning into an environmentally friendly lifestyle. It definitely is hard to start in the beginning, but if you stick with it, you will be making the world a better place. 

Plastic Elimination:

It is so easy to get wrapped up in society and not even realize how impactful your everyday choices can be. Next time you are in a grocery store, take a look around… Practically everything is packaged in plastic! When people think of plastic, usually the words “recycle”, “easy”, and “cheap” come to mind. Two out of these three words are true, however the word “recycle” does not always apply. 

As some of you know, there are seven different types of plastics used in everyday essential products. I won’t go into great detail about it, but I would like to mention that there are very strict specifications for whether or not the plastic products you use are recyclable. Most of the time, people don’t give bottles or plastic bags a second thought after throwing them in the garbage or recycle. 

From recent studies, it is clear that only about 9% of the objects that are put into recycling actually get recycled, with only 14% of global plastic packaging actually being put in the recycling bin. That means that the rest ends up in our natural ecosystems and also our landfills.  It is so easy to forget and dispose of these plastics since it does not directly impact individuals in developed countries. However, the hidden effects are starting to rise.

It can take 450-1000 years for plastic to break down, but even in its smaller form, it is still present as a microplastic. These microplastics can be found practically everywhere. Microplastics are absorbed and eaten by fish and plankton in the ocean and then travel up the food chain and negatively affect the entire ecosystem. Also, the chemicals used to make most plastics can be absorbed into the soil, and later into our water sources! Imagine life with contaminated water… it just wouldn’t work!

I hope that this article has changed your outlook on vegetarianism, veganism, and a zero-waste lifestyle in a new way! I hope this will encourage you to take a few steps to reduce your carbon footprint! I’ve included some tips down below to help you out with your journey. 

Essential Tips:

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16 thoughts on “Living Environmentally-Friendly

  1. Thanks for these tips! I recently started my vegetarianism journey. You’re right, it’s tough but I’m getting there. Fish is the hardest for me to give up because I love love love sushi but I’m slowly getting there by going for the vegetarian options. You’re right about product packaging as well. It really makes me sad when I see so much plastic in grocery stores. Some products are just excessively packaged in plastic, it’s crazy! Thanks for the tip about lush, i’ll check them out! 😊

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