6 Ways New Yorkers Can Improve the Environment
It may be difficult to believe that a single individual’s actions can have such a tremendous impact on a planet that is so large. We think of ourselves as just a tiny aspect of a huge problem. This absolves us of responsibility, or at least we think so. But when one looks at the evidence, it is hard to deny that our actions make a difference, both positively and negatively. While you might be someone that remembers to shut the light off when you leave the room, you might not turn the water off while you brush your teeth. Everyone is guilty of something.
Here are six ways YOU can do your part to improve OUR environment:
Walk or Bike to Work: New Yorkers currently have the highest use of mass transit in the United States. One of the benefits of living in a city like New York is how easy it is to choose walking or public transportation over driving to work. Only about 30% of those living in Manhattan own a car and the other 70% either take public transportation or walk to work. In many cases, walking is faster than driving. It is also good for one’s health to get necessary exercise and soak up some Vitamin D.
NYC Water On The Go: Plastic water bottles produced for the United States use 1.5 million barrels of oil per year. New York City has started a program to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles by providing NYC Water On The Go, outdoor water fountains where people can refill their reusable water bottles. The fountains are conveniently located all around the city and aim to reduce the need to purchase a water bottle on hot summer days.
Vow to go Vegan: For those who love hamburgers and bacon, this one may prove to be the most difficult. Before ruling it out completely, one should understand just how big their carnivorous effect on the environment is. Scientists have found that the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock make up about 51% of all greenhouse gases emitted globally. Raising livestock is also the number one source of water pollution on the planet, due to runoff and other effects of raising animals. One of the most alarming facts is that producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuels to drive a small car for 20 miles. When one makes a pledge to go Vegan, they pledge to be a healthier individual and take a stand against pollution of our planet.
Elimate Use of Plastic Bags: According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. The thoughtless use of plastic bags has led to the pollution of oceans, contamination of soil and the poisoning of wildlife. While some nations have created a system to charge customers for each plastic bag, New York City has yet to enact any great change. Because of this, one must create a change for themselves. By bringing your own canvas bags when you go shopping, you can help to prevent some of the travesties that come with the use of plastic bags.
Bring Your Own Cup: Waking up early enough to make coffee at home is one thing but simply bringing your own cup to buy coffee is another. About 25 Billion cups are thrown away in a year. For every four cups made, one pound of CO2 emissions are released. Some places, like Starbucks, will even provide a discount to those who bring their own cup or mug.
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