As 2017 inches closer and closer, we’re planning for the future: how we’re going to improve ourselves, what goals we want to achieve, and what new donut places we absolutely have to try. Just us? Oh, never mind then.
All jokes aside, the common thread that ties together everyone on the planet is our environment. We can plan for our individual futures all we want, but if we neglect to take care of our environment, well, it could be grim.
In 2017, we’re resolving to pay special attention to these environmental issues — and we think they deserve your attention too.
Around 7 million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution. What does that mean, exactly? Well, research shows a strong link between air pollution (both indoors and outdoors) and cardiovascular diseases and cancers —things that kill people earlier than old age. By reducing air pollution, we could save literally millions of lives each year.
What you can do: Limit your driving by carpooling, taking public transit, walking, or biking. If you absolutely have to drive, keep your car tuned up and frequently maintained to cut down on emissions.
The indicators of climate change are all around us: heavy rainstorms, high temperatures, increased wildfires, and more. Human activities have caused an increase of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, and how we regulate those emissions is going to be a hot political topic during this coming year.
What you can do: Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures or the lightbulbs in them with energy-efficient products; not only will you help the environment, but you’ll also save money on energy bills.
We’ve covered this topic a little bit already, but plastic pollution is slowly taking over the ocean, congealing in ocean currents called gyres and remaining in our environment for hundreds of years. Plastic pollution harms animals and can contribute to human health issues by absorbing and then releasing toxic chemicals.
What you can do: Refuse to use one or all the top five sources of single use plastic: plastic bags, single use bottled water, to go containers, takeaway cups, and straws. An easy way to start? Use a reusable BPA-free glass water bottle.
Accessible Drinking Water
663 million people on the planet don’t have access to clean water — twice the number of people who live in the United States. And speaking of the United States, the city of Flint, Michigan has been dealing with a water crisis and a contaminated water supply since 2014. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faced the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would threaten their water supply. Companies like charity: water have made it their mission to improve the accessibility of safe drinking water . You can help too.
What you can do: Start a fundraising campaign with charity: water in lieu of a birthday party this year. You’ll be helping potentially hundreds of people get access to clean drinking water, and really, who needs another hand-knitted birthday sweater from Aunt Eunice, anyway?
What environmental issues are you watching in 2017? How will you help? Let us know in the comments!