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How Consumers Can Decrease Their Impact on the Environment - Sophia Belnap - Blog

How Consumers Can Decrease Their Impact on the Environment

With the current state of the environment, it’s easy to feel like there’s more you could be doing to change things for the better. It’s important to keep things in perspective; the most effective change has to come with policy change and the cooperation of governments and corporations. However, there are still things you can do personally to shift things ever so slightly in the right direction, and you can vote for change with your wallet. Here’s what you need to know.

Solar Energy

The primary cause of climate change is the excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, namely carbon dioxide and methane. CO2 in particular is emitted by a number of industries, from the automotive industry to the production of electricity. The common thread between these many instances of CO2 emissions is the use of fossil fuels for energy. That’s why clean energy has been a major part of the discussion when it comes to global warming. This problem can be tackled from multiple angles. First and foremost, there’s solar energy. Solar panels have been around for ages, but they have always suffered from a substantially lower efficiency than other forms of energy, even other renewable forms of energy.

However, they have always been the most user friendly source of clean energy, and they have more recently become more viable in terms of efficiency, as well. While they still fall behind other energy sources, they can at least hold their own, and thanks to solar batteries, they can provide around the clock power when used correctly. Switching to solar entails an initial investment, but it’s well worth it to create positive change for the environment while also saving you money in the long run. Solar financing can make panels more accessible, as well, and solar is leading the charge for clean energy for consumers.

Electric Cars

The other primary way to address the problem of CO2 emissions from the consumer perspective is making the switch to an electric car. This entails a problem not unlike that of solar panels, namely that of efficiency. Electric engines are not only less powerful than combustion engines, but that’s not even the main problem, considering that traditional cars are typically capable of going much faster than most speed limits. The major issue is that electric engine batteries don’t have an incredibly long battery life, and chargers are too few and far between in many places. Without better infrastructure and better battery life, many have opted to use hybrid cars instead of fully electric cars. This is still a step in the right direction, and supporting even hybrid cars can put more money into the development of better technology moving forward.

Plastic Waste

While carbon emissions are the primary force behind climate change, there are other areas in which the actions of consumers can impact the health of the environment. One of the most impactful things consumers can do is to minimize the amount of plastic waste products that they buy. Plastic notoriously is projected to take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and that presents a major hurdle for humanity and the planet when you consider how much of today’s commercial products include disposable, plastic components, such as wrappers and shopping bags. Avoiding these products is essential, because not all plastics can be recycled, and even those that can can only be recycled a few times before the material becomes unusable. You can take things a step further by embracing the zero waste lifestyle and eliminating as much waste as possible, which can address a variety of societal problems all at once.

While the state of things may seem dire, and sweeping changes are required to fix the problem, there is still plenty for the individual to do in the interim to at least minimize their own carbon footprint. While it’s most important to affect change via the democratic system, these tips can help you feel better about your own actions while you wait.

Publish Date: June 10, 2021 6:54 PM

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