Most of us go about our daily lives not paying too much attention to the environment. It’s just there, around us. But if you take a moment to think about it, we humans have an incredible influence on the condition of our environment.
Our Environmental Impact
Compared to other living creatures, humans have had an outsized impact on the world. As our population has grown rapidly in the past 200 years (1.2 billion to almost 8 billion and counting!) and our technologies have quickly advanced to accommodate that growth, we’ve used the earth’s resources to make those changes happen.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of earth’s resources are finite, meaning they aren’t replaceable. Once we use them, they’re gone for good. Yet the human population continues to grow and technologies continue to advance, requiring even more resources.
Many of the technologies we’ve created also aren’t kind to our environment. Coal, gas, and methane from factories, cars, and livestock emit carbon dioxide into the air, which is changing how our climate functions by warming the earth. And a warming earth means that polar ice caps will melt and weather patterns will change, which will drastically affect our current way of life.
In addition, the materials that our technologies have created, such as plastics and similar composites, don’t break down in the environment. As a result, these items are tossed in landfills where they take up space and leech chemicals into our air, soil, and water.
Ultimately, all the changes to the earth that humans have created are affecting our environment—and not for the better.
All that said, you have two options. You can:
Accept these changes as they are and do nothing, or
Take action to limit your impact on the environment and prepare for the coming changes
If you’ve chosen option #2, you’re in the right spot.
Why Live a Sustainable Life?
The whole idea of sustainable living (which also includes green living, net-zero living, or zero-waste living) is to do your part as an individual to have less impact on the environment, or in sustainability terms, have a smaller carbon footprint.
What’s a carbon footprint? It’s essentially the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that you as an individual emit through your consumption habits like electricity use, transportation, and waste you create. If you’re curious about the size of your carbon footprint, check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) carbon footprint calculator.
You can choose to live sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint.
You just need to take that first step.