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Shifting Expectations: Responsibility for Environmental Footprints in a Global World


environmental footprint: Being responsible

It's easy to talk about making changes to save the environment, but it's much harder to actually implement these changes. We may recycle when we can, turn off the lights, and walk or bike instead of driving, but what about the other ways we impact our environment that often get overlooked? Climate change is just one part of the equation; we also need to address food waste, material waste, and our everyday consumption habits. Self-awareness and personal responsibility are critical when it comes to environmental impact—and this starts with knowing how the little things each of us do add up to making a BIG impact!


Food waste.

The United Nations estimates that one-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted each year, which equates to 1.3 billion tons of food going to waste. This is a problem not only because it's a waste of resources, including water, labor, and energy, but also because it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Decomposing food in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that's 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. So, what can we do? Plan our meals more carefully and only buy what we know we'll eat, make sure to properly store and preserve food, and consider composting instead of throwing away food scraps.


Material waste.

How many times have you thrown away something that's perfectly usable just because you:

  • Wanted something new or upgraded.

  • It had a small hole that you simply didn’t want to mend.

  • A simple break that you didn’t care to fix.

  • Or maybe you’ve bought and returned online clothes or goods, which often get sent to a landfill instead of being restocked.


The more we throw away, the more resources we're using to produce new items. Plus, consider the environmental impact of shipping and disposing of these items as well. Instead of buying new things, try repairing or repurposing items or buying secondhand. It's not only better for the environment but also for your wallet.


Finally, let's talk about our overall consumption habits. We live in a world that encourages constant consumption, often at the expense of the environment. Fast fashion and single-use plastics are just a couple of examples. While it's important for companies to be held accountable for their environmental impact, we as individuals also need to recognize the power of our choices. When we buy cheap clothing made in unethical and unsustainable conditions, we're supporting a harmful industry. When we use single-use plastic straws or utensils, we're contributing to the plastic pollution problem. It's time to reassess our values and priorities and make choices that align with them. The small inconvenience of washing a utensil, etc., makes a big impact on the environment.


In an interconnected world, personal responsibility is key to making a positive impact on the environment. It's important to remember that small changes add up – reducing food waste, reusing and repairing instead of buying new, and making conscious choices about consumption all make a difference. As individuals, we have the power to shift our expectations and reassess what's truly important to us. It's time to take action and hold ourselves accountable for our environmental footprints.


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