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In today’s culture, we are seeing more and more people becoming concerned about the planet. And rightfully so. According to the Global Environment Outlook: Environment for the future we want (GEO-5)—a publication done every few years from the United Nations Environment Program—we are at a level of unprecedented consumption and production. According to the report, “we are collectively exploiting the Earth’s resources at accelerating rates and intensities that surpass the capacity of its systems to absorb wastes and neutralise the adverse affects on the environment.”

The numbers and statistics are grim, and often the problems feel too big for any individual to make a difference. But great change often begins on a small scale. While having a close eye and heart to our global environmental crisis, let’s focus on a few, small things we can do to become more green.

1. Eat more vegetables.

You may be surprised to hear this, but according to some research livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet. Giving up meat can even be more “green” than giving up your car. Here are some interesting facts: cows emit huge amounts of methane, which contributes to the warming of the planet at a staggering 21 times that of carbon dioxide. Because of meat consumption, we breed way too many cows. The consequence of this: more and more forests are being cleared for pastures to feed all of these animals. “As trees disappear, so does the Earth’s natural method of storing carbon.”

2. Skip shopping, every once in a while, and plan a clothing swap with friends.

Not only is it the green option, but clothing swaps can make an amazingly fun girls’ night. Ask each friend to bring at least five items of clothing, and watch the magic happen. Here are some interesting facts: The average Westerner throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles a year. It takes 10,000 litres of water to produce just 1kg of cotton. Save some H20 by adopting a pair of jeans from a friend.

3. Green your household products

Did you know that baking soda and vinegar can clean and deodorise your home as well as conventional cleaners? Switching to green detergents helps to reduce the toxic, noxious, and dangerous chemicals used in home cleaning products. And don’t forget to re-use the containers. According to Stephanie Wear, at The Nature Conservancy, “by committing to reuse containers in combination with using multi-purpose cleaners, you can reduce the packaging waste by 108 pounds and eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas initially.” It’s an easy switch, and one that has great impact not only on the planet, but your personal environment as well.

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