Grocery bags, clothes, and even your produce can have an impact on climate change. Something as simple as the cotton shirt you’re wearing may be hurting the environment. According to the New York Times, making one shirt uses more water than a single person drinks in a year.
The effects can be felt worldwide. But the more evidence we see, the more we ignore.
“There’s even a term for it, ecological overload. Getting comfortably numb because we feel ineffective," said Leslie Poole, environmental professor.
So, what are ways you can help the environment?
Start small with grocery bags, but which is better for your household? Cotton bags need to be reused 131 times, paper bags three times, and plastic only once if they are properly recycled to reduce their emissions.
"Fast fashion" is mass-producing new items at rapid speed. By 2030, 134 million tons of textiles are expected to be thrown out per year.
“Another student quit buying clothes; she went to the thrift shop," Poole recommends.
And what about your food consumption? Forty percent of food produced in the U.S. is rejected by supermarkets annually. Companies like Misfit Market and Imperfect Foods are selling misshapen or bruised produce for up to a 40% off grocery store prices.
Travel is another leading contributor to carbon emissions. However, you can offset your carbon footprint by donating to programs that are focused on reducing emissions. Sites like The Gold Standard and Green-E calculate how much money each person needs to give to “pay back” the toll they take on the environment.