“I’m in my late 60s; too old to make a difference!” I hear this all the time from friends as the reason for ignoring the changes taking place in our evolving world. “The media is full of climate change news, green-house gases, and how our garbage footprint is ruining the planet. The news gets too complicated. Best to let the younger ones handle it.”
Such a load of crap! For the past few centuries, the natural resources on our precious planet have been pillaged, without thought to how it can replenish itself. Now the planet is in jeopardy.
Fish can’t live and prosper in water contaminated from garbage, chemicals and plastic. Crops can’t grow if the land is barren from chemical sprays. People can’t be healthy eating foods infested with bug sprays, chemical fertilizers, and sulfites, the taste enhancer chemical additive found in a lot of foods. Many common diseases are caused by what we eat, drink and smoke, as well as the environment we live in.
I haven’t even mentioned the rapid escalation of forest fires and the severe weather storms that just seem to happen without warning. They leave communities totally wiped out, with nothing left standing.
All this is scary, absolutely. But we, us older folks, can make a difference.
Here are 5 easy and simple ways we can make a positive impact on the planet:
Reducing our garbage footprint is so much easier than we think. By now, most of us have two garbage bins, one for recycling and another for all the rest. Did you consider how you can use some of the recycling? Maybe try making plastic bricks to line a walkway or recycle plastic for shelving instead of bricks. These are easy to do by stuffing plastic bags into plastic bottles. Use a stick to push in and compress the plastic.
Instead of tossing old clothes, you can donate them to charity, make a bit of money by selling them on consignment at secondhand shops or by reusing them as household articles. The internet is full of ideas on how to reuse t-shirts, jeans and linens.
When we think of repurposing, we can’t forget composting. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can have a container for your food waste. Use it for your window or balcony plants, or give it to a nursery, a local gardener or find a compost collection pick-up.
Just about all our garbage can be used somehow. If you think something you are tossing has no further use, search the internet to see if there is a use for it. You’ll be surprised at the creativity surrounding garbage. Not only can we easily reduce our garbage footprint, we can provide work to others who have found ways to make a living from our garbage.
Consider shopping at secondhand clothing shops and used household item stores. The costs will be considerably less than the cost of the same thing bought new. These shops clean and repair the items. Not only will you be saving money, you’ll be helping reduce the landfills and the gases emitted from re-fabricating the items.
Community projects are popping up all over to repair and sell used items. The repair provides training and employment opportunities to those in need of a skill and others in need of a job. You’ll be surprised at the great things you find in these shops, as you help the planet.
To help reduce the plastic and glass waste, think about packaging when you shop. Bring your own bags, and consider making these bags out of your unwanted clothing. There are lots of videos on YouTube for how to make tote bags out of clothing, so these totes won’t cost you anything.
Look for liquid and powder products in bags and other creative packaging, instead of the traditional plastic and glass jars. When you get home, you can put them in bottles and jars from your recycling bins.
Get your dry goods from bulk bins and shops that sell by weight and volume. You can bring your own containers and get as much, or as little, as you like. This will totally eliminate the packaging and reduce the items in your recycling bin.
This sounds complicated and difficult. It refers to the amount of fuel used when we move around in vehicles. Reducing this is as simple as walking, biking or taking public transport when you are heading out.
You can also consider sharing a ride, whether it be with friends or a taxi. If someone is going to the market on Friday and you are going Thursday, why not go together on one of those days. There are many local and community van and bus services available for short and long distances. Check them out, you’ll be surprised by what you find.
There is a wealth of ideas and articles on the things we can do to reduce the negative impact on our planet. Simple searches online are easy to do anytime. Use DIY (do it yourself) in the search to find ideas for just about anything and everything you could do with your trash. Let your imagination soar as you google, it’s loads of fun and definitely time well spent.
Give this list some serious consideration and try a few of the suggestions. Even though each of us can only make a tiny wee difference, the more of us that do something, the bigger that positive difference becomes!
What daily habits have you adopted for reducing your garbage? When did you decide it was time to do something about your carbon footprint? What caused you to make that decision? Have you tried making garbage art or repurposing old clothing or household items?