This is our home, and it’s the only one we’ve got. So we need to treat it better than we are.
Some of it we can see, like oceans full of plastic, and some of it we can’t, like rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Luckily, there are solutions. They start with little things we can do in and around our own homes and communities, chipping in on a very local level for a global benefit.
Here are seven of them:
1. BYO wherever you can.
We have to consider the whole life cycle of disposable serviceware, like plastic cutlery and takeaway coffee cups. Not just the waste itself, but the energy and logistics required to move it all around.
Carrying your own water bottle, your own coffee cup, a straw if you need one, even your own cutlery, is a great way to take responsibility for our footprint.
Some restaurants let you bring in your own containers for them to fill up (Trashless Takeaway has a list of BYO container restaurants, which is setting a great example for other restaurants to follow),
Using a reusable coffee cup gets you a discount at a network of Responsible Cafes. Their website even has a bunch of resources for how you as a consumer can encourage your local café to be more sustainable.
We can also choose not to buy stuff with excessive packaging. This is more powerful than it seems, because these companies respond to market pressure. If they know you’ll buy stuff with less packaging, that’s what they’ll sell, and those are the changes we need.
2. Get involved in community tree-planting initiatives.
We need trees desperately. They clean the air, they store carbon, they’re homes for animals, they prevent erosion, they enrich the soil, they’re great for climbing, and they’re very pretty.
We’ve cut down half of them, so we need as many as we can get. It’s a good thing we have initiatives like National Tree Day, being held this year on Friday, July 26 for Schools Tree Day, and National Tree Day on Sunday, July 28.
Launched in 1996 by Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John, National Tree Day has brought friends, families, schools, businesses and communities together to roll up their sleeves and plant more than 25 million trees.
This year also marks Toyota’s 20th anniversary as the partner for National Tree Day, showing how larger businesses can also play a role in making our environments better on a community level.
Planet Ark’s Deputy CEO, Rebecca Gilling, adds that “National Tree Day wouldn’t be Australia’s biggest tree-planting and nature care event without Toyota and their dealers’ support, as well as the hard work of volunteers around the country.”
Environmental responsibility is not just a one-day thing, though. Toyota Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Wayne Gabriel, adds that “Toyota Australia’s long-standing involvement in National Tree Day demonstrates our commitment to achieving zero environmental impact by the year 2050, and Toyota’s support for the long-term sustainability of our natural environment.”