At Cedarcide, we’re passionate about leading sustainable, environmentally responsible lives. To help share our enthusiasm for environmental education and awareness, we spoke with Earth Day Texas’ Michael Cain about everyday things we could all being doing to reduce our ecological footprint. Cain has been on the founding board of Earth Day Texas, the nation's largest Earth Day event, since its beginnings in 2010. From 2014 to 2015, Cain served as the organization's executive director, and is now the president of The Earth Day International Film and Media Festival, which is set to launch this coming April.
1. CONSIDER REDUCING YOUR BEEF CONSUMPTION
"One of the more obvious choices you can make is to reduce the amount of beef you eat. Many will say 'oh, I can't do that,’ but the idea is that everyone can reduce their intake even if they don't want to stop eating beef altogether. In an ideal world, if we were all vegetarians or vegans, we'd see an immediate reduction of about 17% in the amount of carbon dioxide that's being put out into the planet. Roughly 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions—more than all the exhaust from all the world's transportation—comes from agriculture. So you can imagine what a change it would make if we all just reduced the amount of beef we consumed daily."
2. BE MINDFUL OF THE CLOTHES YOU BUY
"A lot of people will be surprised to learn that fashion is the second largest source of pollution in the world. Clothing dyes eventually come out of clothes and often end up in rivers and oceans. Another problem is that many clothes are manufactured so cheaply they're essentially disposable, but if you buy clothes that are of higher quality—that last longer—you’re not only reducing waste but also reducing the amount of unethical labor used in the creation of clothing around the planet."
3. EAT ORGANIC
"Eating organic, eating locally and seasonally—that's a big thing that you can do. For example, something like eating sustainable seafood is a change that you could consider making. About 90% of all the world's fisheries are either fully fished or over-fished. So looking for sources of food that are working within a sustainable model is always the way to go."
4. DRINK FILTERED WATER
"This is an easy one: drink filtered tap water, don't buy plastic bottles. We've consumed forty-eight billion bottles of water since 2012. Nearly every piece of plastic that was ever created still exists today. So, even just bringing and reusing your own bottle can make a significant dent. All of those plastic bottles, even the recycled ones, have to be transported, and that's another source of exhaust. The reality is that we all feel good about recycling, but the majority of those bottles are not being recycled, so they end up in our landfills, rivers, and oceans."
5. MONITOR YOUR HOME ENERGY USAGE
"75% of the electricity that powers our home electronics is consumed while those electronics are turned off. Unplugging things like stereos, speakers, laptops, and televisions, certainly when you're not around, is a great way to conserve energy. I think an energy audit from a reputable source is a great way to understand how much energy you may be losing, especially from your roof, for example. That's one of the largest sources of wasted energy in the home."
BONUS TIP: THINK BEYOND YOURSELF!
"Ever since the birth of my first child, I find myself thinking about what kind of planet I'll be leaving for my two daughters. I feel that as a father I have a responsibility to lower my eco footprint and to educate my daughters about the need to live responsibly and sustainably. I look forward to leaving them clean beaches and beautiful forests, which I see as part of creating a better life for them. I encourage you to think beyond yourselves, to think about what life will look like after you’re gone, and to do what you can to make the future of our planet a better place."