Why everyone should try to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Stephanie Suarez, Contributing Writer

Every year, it seems as if people evolve and discover new things. There are certain species that are going extinct, scientists are making medical discoveries and the planet is continuing to deteriorate at a rapid rate. According to NASA, carbon dioxide is at its highest level it has ever been in the past 615,000 years, and the arctic ice minimum has gone down to the lowest levels ever recorded by scientists since 2012. Before we know it, the movie “2012” will go from being a Hollywood fantasy to our devastating reality. Fortunately, there is a remedy for the damage done by the general and manufacturing society: being more eco-friendly and moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

Graphic by Connor Lawless

Of course, it’s easier said than done. People may believe that they couldn’t possibly have the funds to live this way. Unfortunately, this is the kind of mentality that will result in our beloved natural resources being diminished to nothing and a variety of species going extinct because their habitat is disappearing right underneath their feet or fins.

It may feel like it’s utterly hopeless, but there was a moment in time when the sky was shining a little bluer, the beaches weren’t covered with trash, animals could travel in their habitats freely and the air quality was not contaminated with a cloud of gray, and it happened while we were all trapped inside our houses due to COVID-19. This allowed our planet to take some self-care time for itself.

According to The Atlantic, studies were conducted during the COVID-19 lockdowns and Earth-observing satellites detected there was a decline in nitrogen dioxide that’s caused by cars, buses and power plants. NASA is learning that the Earth’s temperature has decreased because cars cause a reflection of sunlight. Since there wasn’t a pileup of cars sitting in parking lots, it allowed for the Earth’s core temperature to decrease. NASA is preparing to conduct research on how impactful COVID-19 was on marine life because many endangered species and the coral reef are showing new signs of life.

Now, before everyone just runs to Google and types “eco-friendly versions” of everyday products, it’s important to know what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle and the brands that go the extra mile to help heal our planet.

Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle represents reducing a person’s or society’s usage of Earth’s natural and personal resources. This can be done by amending means of transportation, energy, consumer consumption and diet.

Major companies and brands have been undergoing changes behind the scenes to help reduce their carbon footprint. Apple is committing to clean energy by 2030 and is investing back into the planet’s natural carbon removers (forests, wetlands and grasslands). The popular phone case brands, Pela and Casetify, are adopting a new strategy to create their cases. Both companies have 100% compostable cases, and Casetify makes the majority of their cases with over 50% recycled plastic.

Some brands are founded with the sole purpose of giving back to the planet. The apparel company 4ocean takes out up to one pound of garbage from the oceans with every purchase of their bracelets and plastic alternatives.

Some eco-friendly alternatives include using recyclable bags when going grocery shopping, investing in non-plastic straws or using recyclable containers. For people who want a good substitute to makeup wipes, the most eco-friendly option is reusable cotton pads. But for people who want to remove stubborn build-up on your face after a long day, cleansing balms and oils can be incorporated right into skincare routines.

These minor changes in your lifestyle will lead to future generations enjoying our natural resources and will leave a planet in a better state than we found it. It’s also essential to remember that the mentality of “I don’t need to live more eco-friendly because there’s already enough people doing it” is not a positive mindset. Rather, it should be shifted toward “although these changes are minor, I know they’ll make a long-lasting impact.” In the end, if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for future generations and our beloved planet.