When we hear about becoming eco friendly, most of us start coming up with solutions such as installing solar panels, start choosing biodegradable products, reducing the wastage of water in our homes, etc. But the real question is, how does sustainability help the environment? If we know how becoming sustainable is going to impact nature, we would stop considering being environmentally friendly a choice, but rather a necessity. Here are a number of ways how sustainability helps the environment around us.
As we begin to use more environmentally friendly alternatives such as eco friendly toilet paper and sustainable garbage bags, most of the trash filling up landfills starts to gradually decrease. This is because the eco friendly products we use either end up being recycled into more useful products or biodegrades in your backyard compost. A lower amount of trash in landfills means a lower carbon footprint on the planet.
You can find sustainable alternatives for almost anything you regularly use at home and often end up throwing away. An average US citizen generates about 5 pounds of trash every day, only of which a little over 1 pound is recyclable. Imagine what difference it could make if we can simply transfer one more pound of trash into the recyclable category; it could save about an extra 365 pounds, per year, per person!
Lowers air pollution
Another way how sustainability helps the environment is by reducing the polluted air around us. Out of all the damage caused to nature by man-made processes, air pollution is one of the most underestimated ones. Every year, thousands of people die after developing illnesses from exposed air polluted with sulfides, mercury, and dioxides. Plastic is a petroleum-based product and is the most widely used material on the planet. Every day, tons of plastic is burned to produce a number of harmful gases that not only affect humans and wildlife but destabilizes the entire ecosystem.
Although eco friendly cars have become much more stylish and affordable, we can’t just stroll and buy an electric car or a hybrid straightaway; most of us can’t afford them! But reducing the use of plastic and other non-recyclable waste in our homes will also reduce the amount of trash being incinerated to produce these harmful gases. The decrease in the release of toxic chemicals will help improve the air quality, which is beneficial for humans as well as the environment.
The amount of usable water on Earth is growing scarce, and sustainably using water can definitely help with conserving it. Water is a largely wasted resource, with much of it being dumped into the oceans without being treated. This causes the marine life to suffer, and the streams through which the contaminated water has traveled to become unusable as well. In our homes as well, we often overlook our usage by unnecessarily leaving the taps open and not having our plumbing checked, leaving room for leakages which wastes water and ruins the house as well.
Being responsible with water consumption will not only help conserve water for ourselves but will also feed more usable water to the environment, allowing the vegetation and the marine life to thrive and carry out tasks that are vital to the stability of the ecosystem. Crops that are contaminated with chemicals will no longer be harmful for consumption, and hundreds of species of marine life that are endangered will have a chance to thrive instead of being forced towards extinction due to suffering from toxic water. Streams that were once contaminated will also be no longer a threat to the life around them, allowing nature to restore its beauty as well as attract the wildlife that had once gone astray.
Millions of trees are cut every year to yield a number of items such as lumber and pulp which helps us create the products we need every day, but what we often overlook is that by continuing to cut down trees, we are removing natural resources that clean the air and supply oxygen to the entire planet. Trees not only play a vital role in supplying oxygen but are also a natural habitat for hundreds of species, as well as a food source for much of the wildlife around.
Sustainability helps the environment by allowing the reuse of products that would otherwise require additional trees to be cut down. It will also help explore other alternatives that can offer the same yield as a normal tree but don’t harm the environment when cut down. An example is bamboo, which can regrow from the same sprout from where it was cut, that too in a matter of a few weeks. Today, bamboo is widely used as an alternative to trees, producing everything from furniture to even environmentally friendly toilet paper, helping reduce deforestation and keeping the atmosphere healthy.
Conserves fossil fuels
Wait… how does sustainability help the environment if it conserves fossil fuels? Aren’t fossil fuels the opposite of sustainability? It’s true, fossil fuels are one of the most harmful substances on Earth, damaging our planet in a number of ways when consumed, but if you think about it, conserving fossil fuels means that you’re using a lesser amount of them. If you’re consuming a lower amount of fossil fuels, that means you’re lowering the damage that they bring along! Fossil fuels, regardless of the damage that they cause, are a scarce resource and also vital to some of the most common items we use today.
Although the goal should be to cut out fossil fuels completely from our lives, we must realize it’s not a one day process. Fossil fuels have become an integral part of our daily lives; from plastic, to fuel, to electricity generation, and much more. We can’t stop the consumption of fossil fuels entirely for now, but we should look to reduce their use as much as possible so that this scarce resource can only be used for processes that are absolutely necessary. Over time, the world will hopefully cut out fossil fuels entirely, but for now, the best we can do is to reduce it as much as possible.