The Importance of Sustainability
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
By Kian Etemadi
Image via Entrepreneur.
There’s no doubt about it, climate change is hitting the Earth hard, and without any action from governments or even individuals, it may be the end of humanity as we know it. We can see the effects of climate change everyday, whether it is the looming smog in our own cities or melting ice caps thousands of miles away. According to the professor of conservation biology at Leeds University, Chris Thomas, one in ten of all plants and animals will go extinct by 2050. CO₂ emissions are expected to double by the year 2075, according to TIME, and the last time it was that hot — Antarctica did not have ice. That was 35 million years ago. The same article said that if carbon emissions were to quadruple, the Earth would be stuck in a Jurassic era hothouse. Even with all the horrible things that climate change threatens to bring, there are still solutions. What are these solutions? One of the best ways to start is with sustainability — saving energy, resources, money, and inevitably, the future.
There are many ways to be sustainable. It may seem impossible to the ordinary person that their backyard garden is doing much for the climate, but it is a big step towards a brighter future. The reality is that major corporations and companies that profit off of meat, oil, and fossil fuels are the biggest polluters and will have to make the biggest changes to be sustainable, but you can easily help out in your own home. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at televisions, printers, computers, and other technologies in your home. These devices drain heinous amounts of energy. Even if you turn off the device, as long as it’s plugged in to the wall, it will drain energy. For example, according to ‘Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have’ by Tatiana Schlossberg, a cable box could use 28 watts of energy when on and use 26 watts when off. The average American household uses about 10,339 watts of energy per year just from these technologies. The solution? A power strip. When you are done with your work, save it, turn off the computer, and then turn off the power strip. This can save lots of energy from being wasted. Another easy way to be sustainable is through backyard gardens and composting. If you don’t have the time or means to take care of a whole garden, you could plant a couple pots of basil or mint or other herbs and keep them on the windowsill. This prevents unnecessary trips to the market for small ingredients. In fact, keeping most ingredients in the refrigerator as organic and local as possible is best. Switching from dairy, which produces tons of CO₂ emissions each year, to oat or soy supplements can be beneficial to the environment — oat milk is the most sustainable of all the milk alternatives. Nuts and oats produce the least CO₂ emissions because they’re relatively easy to grow and harvest. They reduce the health risks from eating red meat and are viewed as the best protein alternative to reduce carbon emissions. For those of you who are pescatarian, seafood such as oysters and clams are the most sustainable seafood. Mollusks do not require fish oil or fish meal, and they even clean the water they are raised in.
In a dying world, sustainability is the key to returning it to its former state, or at least a healthier version. It’s clear that planting a pot of basil or unplugging all your devices from the wall would not make as much of an impact as removing every piece of plastic from the Pacific Ocean, but it is one step closer to a bigger change. In fact, this change could be way bigger than anyone ever imagined. According to an article in ‘TIME: Sustainability’ by Jamie Ducharme, “If people all over the planet made one change — switching from beef to other sources of protein — global food-related greenhouse-gas emissions would fall by 25%.” In addition, we have already seen the impact quarantining has had on carbon emissions in the United States and China. Returning the Earth to a healthier state is not impossible, and the key to a hopeful future is through sustainability.
Written by Kian Etemadi