Peyton Lewis ’23, Feature Editor
The new year is often a time for new opportunities, new goals, and past reflections. Many like to make New Year’s resolutions with the promise of healthier eating, more exercise, better organization, or other various goals. However, in order to achieve the goal of becoming healthy, we have to start with making the environment a better place to do so. The start of 2021 brings the opportunity for everyone to take smaller steps in everyday life to achieve this goal.
Washing your clothes in cold water is one way everyone can help the environment. Boston University said, ”Most of the energy used to wash clothes, around 90 percent, comes from heating the water, which is why the US Department of Energy recommends that clothes be washed in cold water, using cold-water detergents when possible.” Washing clothes in cold water can help reduce the amount of energy used by the washing machine, and it can also save time because all the clothes, regardless of the color, can be washed in one load without the fear of the color bleeding.
Another way we can help the environment is riding a bike when possible to help reduce emissions put out by cars. While it’s a little more tiring than driving a car, it can help the environment in the long term, and help reserve it for years to come. If riding a bike is not possible, one could consider using public transportation. Public transportation reduces the amount of cars on the road therefore reducing car emissions and improving the air quality. Poor air quality can lead to negative health effects, making clean air vital. Carpooling is also a great option for when the world returns to normal, but it may not be practical during a pandemic.
Energy efficient light bulbs use less energy than a standard light bulb. The Department of Energy said, ”Compared to traditional incandescents, energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs)…Typically use about 25 percent-80 percent less energy than traditional incandescents, saving you money.” Not only do energy efficient light bulbs use less energy, they also last longer than a typical light bulb, resulting in less light bulbs ending up in landfills.
If none of these options work for you and your lifestyle, consider donating to charity. Donations can help charities have the money they need to continue working to improve the environment. A few charity options to donate to include One Tree Planted, which works to plant trees all over the world; Green America, which works to create a more sustainable way of living; or Rainforest Alliance, which works all around the world to protect forests and improve the livelihood of farmers and forest communities.These are only a handful of the charities that work to improve the environment. A quick search can provide many more options, although it’s important to research the credibility of any charity before donating.
With the new year starting now is the perfect time to make lifestyle changes to improve the environment and our quality of life. Even the smallest of changes help, and the environment will thank us for it. So do your best to make a change for the better.