Feel like you’re doing your bit for the environment by recycling your newspapers and using a Keep Cup for your daily cappuccino?
The question is: could you be doing more?
World Environment Day on June 5 gives us all a chance to think about how else we can protect this beautiful planet of ours. The theme for 2021 is ‘ecosystem restoration’ and it will mark the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. From growing trees to cleaning up the coastline there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Plant a tree
Trees absorb odours and pollutant gases and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Plus, when they are planted strategically around a single-family home they can reduce summer air-conditioning needs by up to 50 per cent.
Of course, you don’t just have to plant a tree on your own property. Last year Conservation Volunteers Australia ran a one-day corporate planting challenge that saw 16,000 natives planted across Australia and New Zealand. It will repeat the challenge this year on June 4.
Planting native flora – such as bottlebrushes and honey myrtle - in your garden can encourage bees, butterflies, and birds. You can also look at switching to organic methods for dealing with pests; create a water source for visiting birdlife and wildlife; and nourish your soil to help create a biodiverse garden.
Rethink your diet
Moving to a meat-free diet is better for the health of the planet. Eating that steak at the pub has a carbon footprint that’s double that of a plant-based product. It’s responsible for 10-40 times as many greenhouse emissions as vegetables and grains.
Shopping at places such as farmers’ markets where packaging and food miles are minimised is another way to support the environment.
Australia’s beaches and rivers are part of what makes our country special. Help keep them beautiful by joining a community group or environmental organisation committed to cleaning up a local creek, river, beach, or waterway.
Build your knowledge
Increasing our understanding can inspire us to change our way of living. Volunteering on a conservation project is a great way to learn about our precious wildlife and unique natural environment.
Or you could upgrade your skills by learning about growing your own food; adding bird boxes or bee hotels to your garden; or composting food scraps.
Recycling isn’t just for bottles and tin cans. There are ways to dispose thoughtfully of electronic and chemical waste too. So rather than adding that old mobile phone to landfill check for an e-waste program in your local area.
Before you throw something away see if you can repurpose it, sell it, swap it, or give it away. Your trash could be someone else’s treasure.
Ditch the car
Perhaps you can’t contemplate living without your wheels. But could you reduce your reliance on a vehicle by walking, using a bike, taking public transport, or carpooling some of the time?
Remember, while we may not be able to change everything we do, all the small things we can change or improve add up too.