"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead, Scientist
Being environmentally-friendly (also referred to as environment-friendly, eco-friendly, green or nature-friendly) can be defined as a behavior which is driven by the will to save our environmental system.
Behaving in an eco-friendly way is crucial since our planet faces many problems which can only be solved if humanity works together and if everyone makes his or her contribution.
In the following, the most important reasons for why it is important to be environmentally-friendly are examined. Moreover, many ways how you can make your contribution to save our planet on a daily basis are suggested.
Since we only have one planet that is really suitable for populating purposes, it is crucial to keep our earth intact and to protect our environment. There is no second chance if we fail. Our technology is not advanced enough yet to populate other planets.
Even if some companies have the goal to do so, it will take many decades or even centuries until we would be able to settle on Mars or other nearby planets. Even if we were able to do so, it can be doubted that those planets are of similar living quality like our earth.
People evolved over a quite long period of time and have been adapting to the circumstances on our planet. Therefore, it is likely that it would take many thousands or even millions of years until humanity would be comfortable living on other planets.
Thus, it is crucial to save our earth, since from a realistic standpoint, there is no better alternative in the near future.
Since the worldwide income is quite unequally distributed, the rich countries have a great responsibility to behave in an environmentally-friendly way since the poor countries are likely to suffer most from the destruction of our planet.
According to studies, the richest one percent of the world population owns 45% of all wealth on earth while the poorest 64% of the world population hold less than 2% of global wealth.
Since money is power in our nowadays society, the richest among us can avoid the adverse effects of global warming and other environmental problems since they will be able to relocate to the remaining nice areas on our planet while the poorest among us will not be able to do so.
For example, when sea levels rise, poor people living on many islands will lose their entire livelihood, while rich people can simply move to other locations. Making things even more unfair, the richest among have by far the highest consumption levels and therefore also make the most adverse effect on our planet.
Summing up, the richest among us impose the highest adverse effects on our planet, while they will not suffer at all from their environmentally-damaging behavior.
As a species, we have a vast responsibility to protect the people who will not be able to help themselves when the impact of global warming hits at scale.
We also have an enormous responsibility to preserve the variety of animals and plants for future generations. Imagine a world in which many species became extinct. Already at this point in time, there are many endangered species on our planet. It would be quite sad if you have to tell your children about all the animals that were still alive when you were a child.
You would also be in charge to explain to your children why those animals do not exist on our planet anymore. Saving the variety of our earth can be regarded as one of the great tasks humanity should strive for, since it took millions of years to develop variety in species and losing them in just a small time horizon would be outrageous.
It should also be clear to you that our current lifestyles and consumption levels are not sustainable. If we continue to live like that, we will exploit our planet to a point where there is no going back.
Our natural resources will be depleted at some point, which would lead to a huge decline in living standards and would also reduce our technological progress significantly.
Therefore, we have to change our consumption behavior in order to ensure a livable future for the next generations.
Even if companies act just profit-maximizing, they can still have an incentive to behave environmentally-friendly if it is important enough for customers. For example, if customers only want to buy from companies that behave in an eco-friendly manner, companies will have to change their production behavior and will therefore have the incentive to contribute to the protection of our environmental system.
Thus, we have to change the value system in our society in a way that people strive to consume products from companies that behave ecologically-friendly and stop consuming products from companies that do not care about the environment at all. By doing so, firms will have an incentive to adjust their behavior in an eco-friendly way.
You should also save our environmental system since you will feel better by doing so. Over the course of your life, you will come to a point where you realize what is really important to you. You will likely realize that a significant portion of happiness will come over you when you start making people happy.
You can also make people happy by saving our environmental system and can even protect the livelihood of many people. Therefore, an eco-friendly behavior is likely to increase your level of happiness since you are aware that you made your contribution and didn’t just destroy our planet.
Regret is a horrible feeling. If you can’t change things, this can really break you. Imagine you do not care about the environment at all, consuming all kinds of useless stuff, driving the fastest cars and so on.
At one point in your life, probably when you are retired, you will realize on how miserable your contribution to our environmental system really was and you will likely regret your behavior. However, it is often too late at this point to make significant changes in a positive way.
If you want to avoid this ugly feeling of regret at the end of your life, you should really change your mind and behave environmentally-friendly from now on.
The use of disposable plastic cups is a big environmental problem. Every year, around 500 billion plastic cups are used worldwide. This amounts to an enormous amount of trash. By avoiding the use of plastic cups and bringing your own mug instead, you can use it several times instead of just throwing plastic cups into the garbage after single use.
Delivering food pollutes the environment since the transportation often implies the use of fossil fuels which in turn contribute to global warming. Cooking your own food instead of using food delivery companies improve your ecological footprint.
Many products are wrapped into plastic. This leads to an enormous amount of plastic waste each year. This plastic waste ends up on landfills where it can lead to soil pollution or is burned and therefore contributes to global warming. Thus, by avoiding buying items with plastic packaging, you can behave more ecological friendly.
Many people are quite pessimistic when it comes to saving our environment. They just say that it is no longer possible to save our planet since our problems are overwhelming. However, this is not true at all! Our decisions determine the faith of our environmental system. Therefore, go out there and spread positivity! We are not lost yet, but we may end up lost if we do not change our behavior!
Buying local food instead of food that is grown in remote parts of our world can help you being more environmentally-friendly since the large transportation distances can be avoided. By buying local food, you can mitigate several kinds of pollution and also slow down global warming.
Instead of watching TV or doing other stuff, you can improve your ecological footprint further by collecting waste on the streets. Not only will this lead to a cleaner environment, you can also inspire others to follow you and therefore make a significant positive impact.
Many people just dispose their used cigarettes right where they stand and do not care at all about the adverse environmental consequences. However, the disposal of cigarettes can lead to significant soil pollution and may also hurt animals and plants. By disposing your cigarettes appropriately, you can make a positive impact on our environment.
Littering is a serious problem in many areas. People often dispose their old items in forests or just next to the streets. This leads to several kinds of pollution. By stopping littering, you can improve your environmental impact.
Taxis are a convenient method to get around. However, they are quite inefficient since the amount of harmful gases emitted per person is much higher compared to the use of public transport or other means of transportation. Keep that in mind when it comes to the decision if you want to use a taxi or not the next time!
People, especially in our Western world, usually have plenty of material belongings. If you are honest with yourself, do you really need even more material things? If not, you can donate your birthday and support charity organizations instead of getting useless presents. Therefore, you can get a good feeling, which may be more valuable to you than material stuff.
Eating vegan is not always easy, but it would be quite beneficial for our planet. At least try it for a certain amount of time. Maybe you get used to it and want to continue after the trial period. Eating vegan is good for our planet since our natural resources are used in a quite efficient way. We would be able to feed much more people on our planet if everyone went vegan.
Education is key! This is also true when it comes to environmental-friendly behavior. If children learn from an early age on how important it is to save our environment, they are much more likely to care about our planet when they turn into grownups and therefore can make a significant positive impact on their own.
Native plants are crucial for sustaining the natural ecosystems. However, the populations of many native plants decrease significantly due to the excessive use of pesticides. If you have a garden, you can grow native plant to support the local ecosystem.
With our nowadays technology, working at home instead of working in an office is quite easy to manage in many jobs. This would reduce the emissions resulting from commuting and therefore also slow down global warming. Therefore, just ask your boss if you can work at home, even if it is for just a few days a week.
In our nowadays society, people treat water as if it was an infinite resource. However, water will become quite precious when global warming really hits our planet. You can save water by wearing your clothes longer and not washing it after single use.
If you have a garden or a balcony, you can grow your own vegetables and fruits instead of buying them in the store. By doing so, you can reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides and also reduce the transportation distances of food.
You can also pick your food from forest or other natural areas. For example, you can pick mushrooms or berries instead of buying them in the store. You not only support our environmental system since you don’t have to buy stuff that has been produced and transported by industries, you can also increase the awareness of your children if you take them with you and educate them on the origins of our food.
Even unconventional, planting trees would also be a good measure to mitigate several kinds of adverse environmental effects. Since our trees are natural storage spaces for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, you can mitigate the global warming problem by planting trees. Moreover, you can improve the living quality of many animals and plants since you contribute to a restoration of their natural habitats.
You should also raise the awareness on the topic of environment protection whenever possible. For example, if you hang out with your family and friends and this topic comes up, you should state your opinion on the importance of saving our planet. By doing so, you can convince other people and change their behavior as well.
Detergents are quite useful when it comes to washing our clothes. However, there are many harmful ingredients contained in detergents which can hurt our environmental system. You can make a positive contribution by reducing the amount of detergents you use. You will see that you can reduce the amount of detergents significantly and still get your clothes clean.
Many people heat their houses and flats in an excessive manner, especially in winter. Did you know that the optimal sleeping temperature is around 18 degree Celsius? In fact, turning down your heating not only makes a positive impact on our environment since you can save fossil fuels, you can also improve your living quality by doing so.
There is also an excessive use of deodorant in our society. Deodorants are a convenient way to mask body smell, however, they also contain several harmful substances that contribute to global warming and also to ozone depletion. You can reduce the use of deodorant and therefore improve your ecological footprint.
You can also reduce the use of sun cream. Sunscreen is important to protect your skin against sunrays and against resulting diseases like skin cancer. However, you can also protect your skin by wearing caps and hats instead of using sun cream. By doing so, you can prevent the use of environmentally-harmful substances contained in many sun cream products.
You should always be aware that all the waste you produce has to be processed somehow. A significant portion of this waste is simply burned. However, in the combustion process, many harmful substances are released into the air which in turn contributes to global warming and other adverse effects on our environment. Therefore, you should reduce your waste production whenever possible!
Our excessive consumption levels play a big role regarding many kinds of environmental problems. Excessive consumption leads to excessive waste which in turn leads to several kinds of pollution and also contributes to the global warming problem.
If you are honest with yourself, a significant portion of your consumption just comes from your insecurity. In fact, by reducing your consumption significantly, you will recognize that you actually do not need many things.
Therefore, you can mitigate several ecological issues and at the same time improve your level of happiness.
Meat consumption is harmful to the environmental system since it contributes to global warming. Moreover, meat consumption leads to a waste of energy since for every calorie of meat, multiple calories of plant material have to be used. Therefore, we would be able to feed much more people on our planet if everyone reduced his or her meat consumption.
There are several organizations which strive to protect our ecosystems. You can join them and restore biotopes and other habitats in order to improve the living conditions for many animals and plants.
Wrappings and packaging materials are a big source of waste. By reusing part of this material, you can mitigate the waste production problem and its adverse consequences for our environmental system.
In our daily life, we consume large amounts of metals, often without even recognizing it. For example, in many takeaway restaurants, your food is packed into aluminum or other material which partly contains metals. By avoiding this packaging method, you can improve your ecological footprint.
In many companies, plenty of paper is used every day. However, most of the printouts would not be necessary at all. Therefore, the next time before you print stuff, make sure that printouts are really necessary. You will notice that most of the time, you can use electronic media instead.
Water will become a quite scarce and precious resource in the future when the effects of global warming become apparent. Therefore, you can start making a contribution to saving water now since we will urgently need it in future periods.
A significant fraction of our waste is suitable for recycling purposes. However, efficient recycling is only possible if you separate your waste properly. By doing so, you can contribute to an efficient use of our natural resources and therefore also to reduce the waste problem.
Social media has become an important channel of communication. You can leverage social media in order to spread awareness on the importance of saving our environment. By doing so, you can multiply your positive impact.
Many people seem to be intimidated when it comes to speaking up and stating their opinion. However, this is crucial in order to save our planet. We have to get to a state where saving the environment is socially recognized more important than wearing trendy clothes or other useless stuff. Therefore, speak up and convince people!
The excessive use of drugs usually makes people tired and exhausted. By avoiding the use of drugs, you have more energy when it comes to saving our planet. You will likely be more willing to take environmental actions if you refrain from drinking alcohol or using other drugs since you will be in better shape, physically and also mentally.
You can also buy from local farmers in order to act more environmentally-friendly instead of buying in conventional stores. By doing so, you can avoid large transportation distances and therefore mitigate many kinds of pollution and also slow down global warming.
Your TV needs significant amounts of energy. By switching it off and playing parlor games or reading books instead, you can improve your ecological footprint and may also be able to improve your mental health state.
Air conditioning is quite convenient for hot summer days. However, it also consumes plenty of energy which hurts our planet in many ways. By turning off air conditioning, you can make a positive contribution. If you can’t work without air conditioning, you can also make a positive impact by decreasing the level of air conditioning to a certain level instead to using it at full power.
Many people turn on all the lights in their homes, even if they actually would not need them. Therefore, ask yourself if you really need your lights. If not, just turn them off and reduce your energy consumption.
Car devices like the radio and air conditioning also consume significant amounts of energy. By turning off those devices, you can improve your ecological impact.
Instead of using your car, you can switch to alternative transportation methods, especially for short distances. For example, try to walk short distances or use your bicycle instead of your car. By doing so, you can save fossil fuels and therefore slow down global warming and also mitigate the air pollution issue.
Using carpools instead of using your car could also reduce the amount of harmful gases emitted into the air since it reduces the carbon footprint for each individual. Thus, consider switching to carpools whenever possible instead of using your car.
Electronic tickets are a convenient substitute compared to paper tickets. Moreover, you can also save paper by using electronic tickets in many cases.
Energy-efficient household device have become quite cheap over the last decades so that almost everyone can afford to buy energy-efficient instead of energy-intensive devices. Therefore, when it comes to buying decisions regarding household devices, make sure you buy energy-efficient ones!
Buying from organic food stores can also improve your ecological footprint since for the production of this food, a lower amount of fertilizer and pesticides have been used. Moreover, you are often able to buy food that is not wrapped in plastic, so you can also save plastic waste compared to buying in conventional stores.
Using your bicycle more frequently instead of using your car would also make your behavior more environmentally-friendly. In many cases, especially for short distances, replacing your car and using your bicycle should not be a big deal at all. It will even improve your health since sport is a good measure to prevent all kinds of diseases.
In our current society, many people just wear their clothes a few times or even just for a single time before they dispose them into the garbage. This behavior implies a huge waste of resources. Try to use your clothes as often as possible in order to reduce resource depletion, even if this not fits in current trends.
People buy plenty of food, however, a significant fraction of this food ends up in the trash bin since people are often are just not be able to consume their food in time. Try to buy less food so you are able to consume all of it and therefore to reduce food waste.
Vaccinations are crucial in order to prevent the spread of diseases. By getting your vaccinations, especially for diseases that are highly contagious, you can contribute to a decrease in public health issues.
You can also volunteer in non-profit organizations which strive to improve environmental conditions. By doing so, you can improve your knowledge regarding the topic of environmental awareness and can at the same time help to improve our environmental conditions.
Try to walk short distances instead of using your car! By doing so, you can behave more ecologically-friendly since you slow down global warming and also mitigate several kinds of pollution.
Many people spend their weekends for short trips in other cities. In some cases, they even use planes to get around for just a few days.
This behavior implies significant adverse effects to our environmental system since this weekend trips lead to high levels of pollution and also contribute to global warming.
Therefore, try to spend your weekends at home or at nearby locations instead of travelling long distances in order to behave more environmentally-friendly.
Our planet currently faces serious problems. We have to try our best to mitigate these problems.
Otherwise, we would be responsible for the destruction of many habitats and for the extinction of many animals and plants.
Everyone of us can make his or her contribution on a daily basis. Together, we can solve our environmental problems and secure a livable future for the next generations!
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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