As concerns over the environment and economy soar, it is time to start making some important decisions. Thankfully, these decisions don't have to be huge to change society, but each small choice does matter.
According to Stacker, the roots of the environment and sustainability movements began as far back as the 1800s. Since then, it's taken on many iterations, including the current climate change-focused one that's permeated our current discourse.
Sustainability has moved well past being a fad, or a trendy Instagram hashtag, to a necessary lifestyle choice. Policy-makers have long seen the impact that small efforts can create — the rest is up to you.
Still not convinced? Let’s try to change your mind.
It helps the environment
Perhaps the most obvious reason to go sustainable is the fact that the Earth’s resources are limited. Sustainability movements are conscious of this fact and place huge focus on environmental protection. We know that plastic bags are convenient, but convenience isn't worth the breakdown of our ecosystem.
There are plenty of alternatives out there, and these alternatives aren’t too bad either. For example, with some plastic-free options you can still drink your coffee with a straw… and even eat the straw after!
A European Commission report on plastic straws notes that the combined consumption of plastic straws by the EU and the United States alone amounts to over 200 billion annually. If left unchecked, studies show that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. Every individual thus needs to switch to alternatives to lessen the demand for plastic.
It helps the economy
Our economy is tied together with the environment. When an ecosystem breaks down, the balance collapses, and prices increase to compensate for the sudden shift in supply and demand.
The Balance details the cost of pollution and highlights the role of non-sustainable options. Just the production of plastic alone costs $13 billion annually in economic damage to marine ecosystems, including the fishing and tourist industry. Furthermore, plastic doesn't biodegrade — fish eat the microparticles which humans consume when eating seafood. The health industry is thus also affected, and the cycle continues.
It saves you more in the long run
Perhaps you don’t care about the environment, or even the economy. Perhaps you think that none of this will really end up affecting you. What if we told you that sustainability can actually benefit you in your lifetime?
A common misconception about sustainability is that it's expensive. Who can forget the craze of solar panels in the early 2010s, only for buyers to be discouraged at the cost of just one panel? Fortunately, thanks to advancements in renewable energy tech, you can now actually save up to $35,000 a year on electricity. And governments are also running schemes to help homeowners install solar panels.
A post about how much solar panels cost in 2022 by Hoymiles, the size, location, and manufacturer factor into the initial expense of solar panels. However, they do note that there are nifty incentives such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which allows for a 26% dollar-for-dollar reduction in your income tax when you invest in solar power generation. Residential properties can pay off the costs within 8 to 11 years of installation, and then it’s hello free energy!
No wonder more are shifting to sustainable living. At least one in seven homes are projected to have rooftop solar panels by 2030 in the US, and we're seeing the market launch other sustainable energy options such as water filters and electric cars.
It’s easier than it looks
That said, you don’t need to run off and buy a Tesla to be sustainable. Chances are, you already are implementing sustainable practices in your lifestyle. The real key is consistency.
Our previous article on ‘Eco-friendly Resolutions’ discusses how simple tasks such as taking public transportation to work, or even remembering to turn off the lights that are not in use, can make a massive difference.
Otherwise, shopping locally saves huge bucks while also reducing carbon emissions. It’s a win-win situation — for you, the environment, and the economy.
These are merely small steps, but when implemented by multiple individuals, can make a large collective difference. It’s not too late to start, but don’t start too late either. Our choices matter and we need to realize that investing in a sustainable future has to be one of them, lest we risk having no future at all.
Article written by Rose Johns