You want to save the planet? Start here!

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“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull”.

― George Orwell, 1984

“Planet Earth, 2052

“Who knows how the world still exists today, but now that we no longer go to rivers to bathe or drink, nor do we source our water from glaciers (which do not even exist); now that we bathe once a year and ration water by the drop. We once even had great big supermarkets and sold water by the gallon in big plastic bottles. There are no bottles now, no supermarkets, no factories to produce things in. We only eat what we sow in our nutrient-poor soil or what we manage to find along the road (most of it is poison). We no longer transport ourselves by car –let alone by plane- because that consumes gasoline and gasoline is no longer something, it was long depleted and nobody ever thought of finding a more efficient way to make a motor run. That is probably why we you can’t buy shoes anymore, or clothing…”

If Orwell were still alive, thee’s no doubt that he would have written this exact novel, detailing the horrific regression of a society that blindly took progress and development to its final demise.

Harrison Ford said it well recently: “nature doesn’t need people… people need nature!” It’s time we adapted our way of life in order to protect the privilege of living on a planet as wonderful and unique as ours!

Its “Earth Day” once again. It’s a time of hope, but also a time of fear. Its a time to get involved and bring more people into the habit of caring for the environment.

It is important to inform yourself, commit and spread the word. More people have to start seeking sustainable lifestyles that are respectful of nature and the environment.

There are many things we all can do to make a difference. Check out our eco-tips:

Create eco-home and offices.

Buy environmentally-friendly products.

Products free of chemicals reduce pollution generated in their production. They are also created in a conscientious way… reduce waste, seek to contribute to fair trade, aren’t massed produced…

Get rid of technological products in specialized collection centers.

Find the collection centers in your city and dispose of your batteries, cell phones and laptops that no longer work. These places recycle them correctly, reducing environmental pollution.

Recycle paper.

Whenever you can, print on both sides of your sheet of paper. And print only the information that is absolutely necessary.

Separate your trash and recycle.

A no brainer nowadays, though many places lack public policies that enable effective recycling. Ecuador is one such place, but we must begin pushing for across-the-board recycling to become a reality everywhere in the world.

Recycling 101

  • Five “categories” for separating your trash: cans, plastic, paper and cardboard, organic material and non-organic material
  • Glass is glass, that does not include metal or plastic bottle caps. Separate them.
  • Note if the carton or paper you’re throwing out has plastic… this, unfortunately, goes as non-organic material (you could even decide to avoid buying products with packaging that is not recycling-friendly!)
  • Wash plastic containers and cans before discarding.
  • Collect organic waste, especially if you have a garden, it is good for your plants and flowers. And if you don’t have a garden, organic waste is biodegradable and when not mixed with non-organic material, it is good for the ecosystem. Dump it your nearest forest!

Avoid aerosols.

These products are very toxic to the environment (they are a major reason for the famous holes in the ozone layer). Many countries have already banned their use (Sweden was the first to do so).

Avoid plastic… at all costs.

Change your plastic items for wood, bamboo, metal, glass or ceramic (even yout toothbrush, head brush, kitchen ítems, containers). You don’t want a turtle looking like an hour glass because it got stuck in a plastic ring when it was a baby. And say no to plastic straws (if you really can’t live without them, find yourself a metallic version). Plastic bags are also being banned in many countries. Take a stash of cloth bags the next time you visit your supermarket.

The plastic takes around 500 years to disappear. Yes: 500 years

Control your use of water.

Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth; don’t open the faucet completely when washing your hands or washing the dishes; use a bucket of water to soak your dishes before washing them. A (somewhat extreme) hack to XXX water: you can bathe every other day, but you can also shower with a bucket! When the bucket is full, you can maybe start finishing up and the water in the bucket you can use to flush the toilet. This is already being done in places where water shortage is a real problem!

Eat less beef.

As carnivorous as you may be, you can start altering your beef intake. No need to become a vegetarian. It is one of the most energy-consuming meats in terms of its production in the world.

Be energy-conscious.

Turn off the lights in the rooms you are not in. Watch less television and do not leave it on if you’re not watching. Disconnect appliances from the wall when you are not using them (not only is it a good environmental practice, if there are blackouts or voltage changes, you are reducing the risk of breaking them).

In the city, sustainable transportation is key.

Walk.

It’s really good for you (30 minutes a day will make your body very happy) and produce zero pollution! You can also use public transportation, an excellent option to reduce energy consumption and pollution.

And bike, of course!

Car-pool.

If more people use the same car, you reduce carbon emissions. If you can pick someone up who is going to the same place you are going, now that’s a good eco-thing to do.

Throw trash where it belongs

Sounds self-evident, but it isn’t. It is very important that you throw garbage in garbage cans. This way you avoid diseases, even pollution out at sea thousands of miles away (you have no idea how far trash travels). It’s also the very first step you could take to truly start respecting the environment.

Day to day sustainable routines.

Delete your emails and chats.

It may sound crazy, but the fact you let digital information accumulate (gigas and gigas of information you do not need) creates a great unnecessary waste of energy. This is because servers stay connected 24/7 and, with more information, more servers must be connected. This translates into “digital “pollution (in the last decade energy consumption rose 10% every year because of this…)

In a few words: produce less waste and seek balance in your life and in your actions.

If you smoke (you still smoke?), discard your filters accordingly.

Cigarette butts take up to 10 years to decompose and the vast majority end up at sea. If you smoke, be sure to throw your filters in a trash can and if there is none available… have your own container to keep them until you find one.

Do not charge your electronic devices all night.

As with emails, this wastes great amounts of energy; you can actually end up overloading your batteries and damaging them. Do not leave chargers connected if you are not going to use them, because they generate waves while they are connected, which can even be a health risk.

Take care of your cell phone (and electronic equipment).

That way you won’t have to replace them every couple of years (or months). Also, keep apps you don’t use disabled (check for brightness of screen, turn off your bluetooth if you aren’t using it and use energy-saving settings).

Changing habits is not so much about doing big things, but about doing small things… and being constant.

Buy conscientiously

Buy less and buy quality things. To avoid high prices, we sometimes buy things that damage quickly -some made, precisely, so that you have to buy them again in a short period of time. Mass production is a terrible problem for the planet, so anything we can do to reduce consumption is positive for the environment!

Plant one or more native trees.

Several years ago, the Swiss ecologist Tom Crowther argued that planting a trillion trees could help reverse the effects of climate change. This may be wishful thinking, though his statements were backed by scientific research. Planting trees is undoubtedly the best way to counteract the carbon emissions in the air. And please, make them native trees!

Take advantage of technology and use applications that give you ideas for healthy, eco and creative living.

It doesn’t matter if you adopt one or all of these steps: what matters is that we all do something in a sustained manner over time. It is the best way to thank, care and celebrate the only thing in life that is really ours: our planet.

Salving the planet 2.0

To really take environmental commitment to another level, there are many important social and political actions the world as a whole could engage in to really help counteract human impact on nature and the planet. Spread the voice, get involved, ask your local representatives: what are they doing for our planet.

· Respect places officially designated for habitat conservation (do not impact them in any way)

· Create and enforce environmental protection policies

· Support organic agriculture and permaculture.

· Create native-tree reforestation campaigns at state and national levels.

· Identify and create campaigns to protect endangered species.

· Create buffer zones to protect precarious habitats.

· Encourage communities to protect their natural environments and keep their ecosystems clean.

· Promote eco-tourism so communities can reap the benefits of the conservation of their ecosystems.

· Invest in renewable energy research and development (perform ecological assessments of these and respect these assessments).

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is always something we all can do to defend our natural world!

Happy Day, Earth!

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