Best Ways to Protect the Environment if you are a Teenager
When you are young and still living at home, you may feel that even if you want to go green and make sustainable efforts to help make the world a better place, you are powerless in the lack of an income or means of independent living. However, talking to your family about the best ways to protect the environment and the contribution (within your power) you can make are the first steps to voice your concerns and views on the issue. In fact, as a teenager, you do not need to have a job or live in your apartment to do your significant part in protecting the environment. Here are the things you and your eco-conscious family and friends can do!
1. Become Aware and Spread Awareness
If your family taught you the fundamentals of how to become more eco-aware and live a more sustainable life as a future adult, follow these teachings and gain more. In the age of the Internet (with social media’s power to connect people and causes all over the globe), all you have to do is access information and educate yourself.
Besides learning about the best ways to protect the environment and the worldwide efforts currently in place, you can do one or more of the following:
- Find groups and clubs actively debating environmental issues and engage in the finding of actionable solutions to make a change;
- Do your research and demonstrate a real concern about the things that matter to you; if your homework is solid and solutions handy, your parents will take you seriously and offer you their support;
- Talk to your friends and peers; we are sure the young generation shows a genuine preoccupation for environmental solutions, so brainstorm and work together towards sustainable change;
- Join clubs or school debates/workshops related to environmental protection and help other young people like yourself learn more and spread the word. Regarding organizations, you can join a local or a national one, as they are many: endangered species protection, greenhouse gas emissions-cutting, clean water supplies preservation, sustainable living life changes, and more.
- If joining an environmental group is out of hand, organize one! Round up your friends and colleagues and start doing some good things you can all achieve without money or efforts. Besides the fact that such initiatives do wonders to college applications, they can also put you in contact with the right people (press, influencers, your local officials, teachers, older students, parents, etc.) to support and further your cause.
Remember that environmentalism is still a sensitive topic in our society, so you should not preach, lecture people, or argue with them (unless such strategies work better with specific audiences). What you have to do, on the other hand, is gain knowledge about facts and figures, understand their meaning, and lead by the power of example.
Volunteer for causes you want to support. Plant trees, clean out the trash in some areas, join a recycling campaign, adopt an endangered animal, and so on. Sometimes, a few hours of your free time a week speak more volumes and have a greater impact than anything else.
2. Make a Small Difference Every Day
One of the most significant problems when it comes to making massive and impactful changes in the world is that we underestimate ourselves. “What can I alone do?” “What impact have the efforts of one person?” Historically speaking, all that was needed was a single person to be the spark of change, so reframe your thinking in this case as well. We will discuss below the things a single person can do to make a difference. Even it is small and seems of little significance; remember that all reasonable actions add up to a more significant and greater outcome.
Even if your family does not take an extra step in recycling, this does not mean that you can’t make an effort. Recycling is quite easy these days if you put your mind to it.
- Assume the job of sorting the family trash, separate items, and take each pile to its proper Find the recycling cans in your area and make sure you dispose of the house’s waist sustainably;
- Taking things a step further means collecting plastic bottles for instance from your neighbors, school mates, friends, and so on and making sure they reach a plastic recycling plant;
- Speaking of water bottles and all sorts of beverage containers, buy your water and sodas in bulk beverage containers and carry around smaller quantities in a reusable bottle (or thermal cup/bottle). It will save some of your pocket money, as bulk beverages are cheaper and you will limit the use of PET products as well. Some hypermarkets and chain stores even take back the bulk beverage containers to reuse them, while refunding some of your money as well.
- You can become the poster-child of sustainable battery disposal, as the young generation uses plenty of gadgets and devices. Offer to be the battery collector of your home (or classroom), pick them up and deliver them to the nearest battery collector (you can find such places even in grocery stores).
Recycling goes a long way, and you can become an essential part of this movement together with your family and friends!
Repurpose and Reuse
The first things coming to mind when talking about reusing and repurposing everyday items are plastic bags and grocery shopping bags. While the world invests time, effort, and money in the recycling of plastic bags, this does not mean you cannot make some critical and even stylish changes to your everyday life.
We have touched the topic of using canvas shopping bags as an alternative to the plastic overuse many times. As a teenager, the use of such items has never been more comfortable. Let’s see the best ways to protect the environment with the help of reusable bags:
- Go shopping with a cotton reusable shopping tote bag – in any color or size you desire! Carry it in your purse, school bag or casual backpack and never worry about plastic bags again! Purchase a few for your close ones as well! Surprising them with your determination to make a change in the world also means personalizing each tote bag with a message, logo, or monogram to offer them a cute and fun accessory.
- Do you want to set an example? Switch your regular school or day bag with an eco-friendly unisex canvas laptop backpack. For more casual outings and daily activities, you can also try canvas drawstring bags with zippered pocket.
- Young ladies can approach the eco-friendly path without missing a beat when it comes to style and fashion. Jute luxury handbags cover all your needs to match your modern outfits, achieve an elegant look and ride the latest trends in eco-conscious fabrics and materials, wood and cork included.
- Also, don’t forget you can offer such reusable shopping bags, drawstring backpacks, and even fashionable urban-chic shoulder bags and purses as gifts for your eco-aware friends and family members. Rising awareness towards the environment can take a laidback and appealing shape if you pick the right messages and the right gifts for the right people.
Cotton and canvas shopping bags, school bags, and other similar items have the significant advantage of reusability. Moreover, when they get “tired,” you can style them up and turn them into gorgeous DIY projects to breathe new life into them.
Use Products Made of Recycled Materials
Do you know how you can increase your positive impact on the environment by reusing and repurposing some items? By taking a reusable eco-friendly lunch bag to school instead of a plastic or paper bag. By using a lunch bag made of 100% post-consumer recycled PET materials, you will avoid using plastic and paper (and creating waste in the process).
Rethink Your Jewelry and Accessories
Teenage girls love their jewelry and accessories. Unfortunately, many such items come in plastic blends. One idea is to use sustainable watches or jewelry, made of wood or stainless steel. Besides offering you a more distinguished and neat look, they also take a smaller toll on the environment as a whole. You can show your appreciation towards sustainability and even set the trend by eliminating as much plastic as you can from your life, also if it comes in the shape of beads, statement necklaces, or bracelets.
Rethink Your Cosmetics
The cosmetic and personal care industry offers us products bottled in plastic, and we tend to take them at face value. However, if you are serious about your environmental efforts and sustainability support, try making some changes in this regard as well:
- You can opt for cosmetic and self-care products coming in glass jars and bottles; the world made impressive progress in recycling glass;
- Metal or glass nail files are also an improvement (even in quality) in comparison to their plastic counterparts;
- Your organic approaches should orient themselves towards natural cosmetic providers as well.
Environmentally conscious packaging and products in a bar shape instead of liquid make an easy and affordable choice if you pick the right providers. Moreover, products coming in a 100% compostable/recyclable packaging mean you will allow fewer bottles to hit the dump. Discarded eco-friendly packaging will break down easier or reach specialized recycling factories.
Rethink Your Eating and Drinking Habits
Plastic coffee cups, plastic straws, and single-use plastic cutlery make some of the most critical problems of this world. Together with supermarket plastic shopping bags, many countries around the world are also considering discontinuing and banning plastic cups, straws, and cutlery. Lifestyle changes mean fine-tuning your habits in this regard:
- Use stainless steel straws around the house if you need straws for your drinks; you can take one to school as well (in your lunch bag) to set an example; since such straw sets come with their cleaning and sanitation kits, you will have no problems with their maintenance and their reuse.
- When you order home delivery with your family or friends, insists that the restaurant does not send you plastic cutlery together with the food; after all, you can find forks and knives in any home, you do not need to throw away any more plastic, especially since single-use cutlery comes inside yet another plastic wrap.
- Avoid the use of plastic plates as much as you can also. If you organize a picnic or some event requiring tens of plastic plates, find a company able to provide you with reusable bamboo ones.
- Switch to washcloths and cloth napkins as an alternative to paper napkins.
Print as Little as Possible
We know that in school, some printing is necessary, but if you can avoid overusing paper at home, you should try it. If you must print papers or notes, documents, and another school/personal work, then print on both sides of the sheet. Luckily, we live in a pretty hi-tech world, and using online documents instead of printed ones is more frequent than a few years back.
At the end of the school year, do not throw away your amazing notes and written/printed papers. Surely you can find younger school mates who can use them. You can also donate them to NGOs involved in education and prevention of early school abandonment.
If you cannot find students to use your notes, notebooks, or printed essays, at least pack them up and take them to the paper-recycling unit in your area.
Use Resources with Care
Use sunlight as much as you can (as opposed to bulbs) and turn lights off when leaving, mind the water consumption when you brush your teeth or wash dishes, opt for gadgets that consume the smallest amount of electricity, and so on. Together with your family, you can discuss such changes and see if they are reasonable and easy to implement in your home. As an advocate for sustainability at home, you can talk to your family about:
- LED light bulbs;
- Shower timers;
- Energetic class A home appliances;
- Low-flow water fixtures;
- Reusable coffee filters and tea infusers, etc.
If everybody agrees on the changes, mainly since many also contribute to the family’s budget savings, implement them and explain their benefits to your friends, colleagues, and community.
Using a bicycle for your daily travels and commutes is one of the best environmental ideas you can have. When you cannot use the bike, the second best idea is carpooling – to lower your carbon footprint and save money. We all know teenagers love having their cars, but if you insist, do not buy an old shack on wheels.
3. Support others who know what they do
Before donating some of your pocket money to environmental or animal funding charities and NGOs, check them out carefully and then choose the ones advocating for causes that you find essential. You may want to offer your support to reforestation projects, recycling projects, or animal care.
Moreover, support your local “green” businesses and entrepreneurs in your area. If you like their products/services and you know their environmental concerns match yours, help them by becoming their customer.
As a student, you can do a lot to contribute to a better world. We mentioned just a few of the best ways to protect the environment, but we are sure you can find even more. Get as creative as you can, engage your friends and family in your projects, petition the authorities, donate, and volunteer. The change starts with you, no matter how small it seems in the beginning!