by Erin Lawless
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the many problems of this world: global warming, poverty, and war are just a few. Stepping back and looking at the vastness of these issues can be daunting and leave us feeling like we can't make a difference. However, it's the little things that make the greatest impact! The impact made isn't always obvious but it’s these actions that can help change the world.
What can we do?
1. Think Before You Throw
When I am cleaning out my house, I usually divide my stuff into piles of things I want to keep, things I want to give away, and things that are in such bad shape that they need to be thrown away. Did you know that most of the stuff we put in our "throw-away pile" can actually be recycled? I’m talking about clothes with holes in them, socks with too many stains, ripped sheets, and overly loved teddy bears. The materials in these items are valuable, useful and should not be thrown away! Instead, they can be donated to one of the many textile-recycling centers around the United States. Your efforts will not be in vain!
Fact: According to the EPA, 2 million tons of textiles are currently recycled annually. This is the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from America’s highways. However, it is estimated that only 15.3% of clothing and textiles are being diverted from the waste stream for recycling purposes.
2. Be Aware Of Events Happening Around The World
I have a hard time keeping up with world events. I know it is important to be informed but it is hard to devote enough effort to looking up current events . Luckily, a friend told me about The Skimm, an awesome website that does all the work for you. You get daily emails with all the major events going on in the world and it only takes 5 minutes to read. The emails are short, sweet, and to the point -- exactly what I need with my busy life and short attention span. Check out The Skimm to start getting your own daily emails: http://www.theskimm.com/
3. Shop With A Purpose
While it may be hard to find ways in our daily lives to make a significant difference for others, there are plenty of companies who make it their business to do just that. All they need is your support! Next time you are in the mood to do some online shopping, check out these great companies or find companies that support the initiatives that you are most passionate about!
4. Reuse & Repurpose: Give Your Stuff An Extra Life!
Instead of adding to the landfill or buying new, consider ways to lengthen the life of your stuff while saving money. The resources below can help you find the best “new to you” stuff. They will also help you find many people that would love to take that treasure-in-disguise off your hands. Have fun embarking on your own treasure hunt!
5. Understand Your Impact
The best thing we can do to be better humans is to inform ourselves about how our actions and decisions impact our world. It’s the little things that add up to make the most impact. Let’s make sure we are all doing our best to sustain the world we all share.
Here are some helpful links:
http://www.globalissues.org/ - Global Issues - Social, political, economical, and environmental issues that impact us all.
http://www.cleanclothes.org/ - Clean Clothes Campaign - Working conditions in the global garment industry.
http://www.humanimpactsinstitute.org - The Human Impacts Institute - Human impact on the ecosystem.
http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com - Sustainable Baby Steps - Easy steps to take towards sustainable living.