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Here’s How You Can Easily Be More Green And Save Big

Climate change is hurting us all. With frequent massive floods, landslides and overflowing rivers, Honduras has been named the country “most affected by extreme weather events” in the world by Germanwatch, an international environmental organization. Mexico is facing a water crisis, with its capital — Mexico City — literally sinking as its drinking water wastes away. Most recently, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico in what was the deadliest natural disaster in modern US history.

These extreme events, which have led to massive displacement, food insecurity and increased violence, are directly linked to climate change. While green politicians, like the recently sworn-in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, push for environmentally responsible policies in government, we, everyday people, also play a major part in preventing climate dooms. By changing small habits and buying more environmentally-friendly alternatives to the products we need and love, we can reduce our own personal impact on the environment and, as a whole, have a larger positive impact on our planet.

With that, here are 8 easy and effective ways to decrease your carbon footprint right now.

1. Recycle Everything

If you’re interested in being more eco-friendly, then chances are that you’re already recycling your water bottles, beer cans and newspapers. But just about any item in your home could be recycled. For instance, all types of batteries can be recycled, with stores like Whole Foods, Ikea and Best Buy accepting these items. Don’t have a local drop-off? Battery Solutions accepts them through the mail. You can also recycle books, electronics, clothes, furniture, eyewear, cars and just about anything else by donating them to your local thrift shop, shelter or charity or selling them on Amazon, eBay, consignment shops or junk yards. Before you toss something in the trash, take a moment to think if you could recycle it instead.

2. Cut Back on Disposable Items

Take a glance around your home and workspace and note how many disposable items you have. Let me guess: a lot. Without realizing, we collect, almost daily, a ton of plastic items, but we don’t have to. There are SO many options for reusable necessities. Rack up on tote bags to use when shopping instead of plastic and paper store bags. Try menstruation cups, period underwear or washable period pads rather than tampons. Start using shampoo and conditioner bars instead of accumulating countless plastic hair care bottles. Purchase washable produce bags, or ditch the bags entirely, rather than using those difficult-to-open, throw-out-instantly grocery produce bags. At work, take your daily coffee in a ceramic mug, drink out of a working glass or reusable bottle, sip your mid-day smoothie or Frappe through a metal straw, say no to the takeout plastic forks and spoons and use reusable utensils instead. Just like that, you’ve reduced your plastic waste.

3. Opt for Paperless

This is one of the easiest, and most cost-effective, changes you can make. We live in an electronic world, so take advantage of that. Opt for paperless billing and pay your bills online. Jot down notes on your cell phone, not a Post-it. Keep a digital journal, planner and calendar. Save on rolls of paper and clean with cloth, cutting up old t-shirts to create a rag. Remember: The less paper you use, the less demand there will be to produce paper and the more trees we’ll have in our forests.

4. Eat Less Meat

Eating less, or no, meat isn’t just good for your body — it’s also very good for the environment. That’s because 60 percent of agriculture’s massive and harmful greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy. Currently, more than 30 percent of our planet’s surface is being used to raise and support livestock. Cutting back on meat can reduce the overall emission of Global Warming Potential (GWP) gases of CO2. According to the Washington Post, if you just opted for beans instead of steak for a meal once a week for a year, you’d get 331 kilograms of CO2 out of the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to avoiding the burning of 38 gallons of gas.

5. Reduce Your Food Waste

Talking about food, we can all be less wasteful. Did you know that 38 million tons of food is wasted in the US every year? That’s more than the weight of 104 Empire State Buildings. Not only is this expensive — about $165 billion worth of waste annually — but it’s horrible for our environment. It takes a lot of resources to grow and produce food, and it’s almost impossible to recover that once the food ends up in landfills. Farmers and producers use around 25 percent of all of our country’s fresh water just to produce goods that are going to go in the trash. When this wasted food makes it to landfills, it emits carbon dioxide — and big numbers, too. According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, the US’ total carbon footprint of food wastage is about 4.4. billion tons. To put that into perspective: that’s more greenhouse gas than any one country, except the US and China, emits — just on food waste. You can help reduce this by shopping smarter, freezing foods before they go bad and making meals using leftovers.

6. Cut Down On Energy

Energy conservation is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint — and it’s not that hard and could save you some money. Turn off the light switch and open the blinds. Unplug appliances and electronics when they aren’t being used. Limit your AC use and open a window. Wash clothes on cold. Use a drying rack. Run the dishwasher or washing machine only when there is a full load. When you can, use your microwave more than your oven, because it requires about half of the energy than an oven. When your light bulb is dead, replace it with compact fluorescent light bulbs, an inexpensive and eco-friendly solution.

7. Buy Local

Supporting local small businesses not only helps your economy and fosters community, it also reduces your carbon foot. That’s because there is less carbon created for these goods than there are for items that need to be transported to you or to a larger corporation near you.

8. Travel Different

Talking about traveling, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every single year. To minimize car use, take public transportation, have your groceries delivered through van services in your area, which takes goods to multiple homes at a time, and, if you’re physically able, walk or bike to your destination.

9. Use Indoor Houseplants

Did you know that plants are the best natural regulators of carbon dioxide? Not only will a houseplant make your home more aesthetically pleasing but it will also absorb carbon dioxide — and other harmful toxins — and replace them with clean oxygen, decreasing your carbon footprint while simultaneously improving the air quality in your home.

Read: How Taking Care Of My Houseplants Taught Me To Take Better Care Of Myself

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Delivered an Impassioned Speech After the ‘Green New Deal’ Failed to Pass in the House

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Delivered an Impassioned Speech After the ‘Green New Deal’ Failed to Pass in the House

Those of you who have been following Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s career closely know that the “Green New Deal” has been a cornerstone of her platform since taking office in January. The “Green New Deal” is, according to the Sierra Club, a piece of legislation that aims to “mobilize vast public resources to help [the US] transition from an economy built on exploitation and fossil fuels to one driven by dignified work and clean energy.” On Tuesday, the Senate voted against passing the legislation by a margin of 0-57–an outcome that was largely expected.

What was unexpected, however, was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction to a fellow House member who dismissed the trailblazing bill as one that would only benefit “rich liberals.”

“If you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California [the Green New Deal] sounds great,” Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin (R) stated. “Because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has a zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe.”

Needless to say, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did not view the goal of reducing carbon emissions as a liberal fantasy in the same way Rep. Duffy did.

When it was her turn to speak at the committee hearing, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t mince words in her rebuttal.

“When we talk about the concern for the environment as an elitist concern, one year ago I was waitressing in a taco shop in downtown Manhattan,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “This is not an elitist issue. This is a quality of life issue. You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint…Call them elitist…People are dying!”

After the journalist and liberal media personality Brian Tyler Cohen Tweeted out the video to his 43,000 followers, the video quickly went viral–garnering more than 8 million views and 64,000 retweets in less than 24 hours.

Latinas, as usual, took to Twitter to support Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…

The reaction on Twitter proves that combating climate change is not an issue that only effects elite liberals.

In fact, many Latinas view climate change as one of the most pressing issues in politics today.

@AOC Thank you for being a voice of reason. Your words come from the heart of many Americans who believe in helping our fellow man; who believe that clean water and air for ALL is top of the list of Congressional concerns. We MUST save the planet.— Janet (@SurruscoJanet) March 27, 2019

According to environmental scientists, the clock is ticking when it comes to both reducing and preventing humanity’s negative environmental impact.

Many Latinas experience first hand that negative consequences of the climate change crisis.

We, the people of communities like the Bronx where @AOC represents and the 7th where @AyannaPressley represents and the 5th Suffolk, where I represent are the original EJ warriors. We have been poisoned 4 generations w/ bad air, water & land. It’s not elitist, its righteous.— Rep. Liz Miranda (@lizforma) March 27, 2019

In fact, the affects of climate change disproportionately impact low-income Americans who are often displaced due to the destruction of unusual environmental occurrences.

Of course, there were those Latinas who were just ecstatic that they finally felt truly represented by a Representative.

All. Of. This! #AOC is my voice! @AOC represents my voice and my concerns for this country!!!! https://t.co/Ek8q3O36Q6— Alicia Figliuolo / adotfig on ig (@AliciaFigliuolo) March 27, 2019

It’s not every day that Latinas feel that their voices are being heard by politicians.

Some Twitter users reminded everyone that the devastating effects of climate change should not tainted by partisan politics.

The real question should be how ignorant are those old white men who don’t understand that #climatechange is real and will destroy humanity. #ScienceisReal We know the answer, they are driven by #Greed #GreenNewDeal— Michele Garron (@bassm67) March 27, 2019

Facts should not be made into a Republican vs. Democratic issue. The negative impacts of climate change are widely accepted by the scientific community.

Although the Green New Deal didn’t pass in the Senate, we’re very sure that this isn’t the end of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fight against climate change.

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You Can Thank Machismo For Our Dying Planet, Here’s Why

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You Can Thank Machismo For Our Dying Planet, Here’s Why

Machismo isn’t just bad for society — apparently, it’s also hurting our planet.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, environmentally-friendly practices like recycling and using reusable canvas bags are considered “feminine,” so men aren’t that interested in doing it even if that means ruining our earth.

In their research, which included conducting various experiments, the authors of the study found that people who are green are thought to be more feminine.

One survey asked participants to describe a shopper with masculine, feminine and gender-neutral terms based on their shopping behaviors, like carrying either a plastic bag or a reusable canvas bag. On average, men and women saw consumers who engaged in green shopping practices as more feminine than those who did not.

Even more, the study found that men will intentionally avoid green products and practices if their gender identity is questioned.

“[Men] might be more attuned to this and try to make sure that they are projecting their masculine identity,” Mathew Isaac, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University, told Broadly.

According to his research, men are more likely to adopt green behaviors when they consider them “masculine.”

When branding for green practices refer to it as doing it “like a man” or if logos for green products are visually darker and bolder, they are more inclined to purchase it or get behind it. For example, in one survey, researchers learned that men were more likely to donate to a nonprofit called Wilderness Rangers, which had a howling wolf as its logo, than an organization called Friends of Nature, which had a green and light tan logo.

“These findings identify masculine branding as a managerially-relevant boundary condition and complement prior research in suggesting that perhaps men would be more willing to make environmentally-friendly choices if the feminine association attached to green products and actions was altered,” the researchers write.

While the study could help green brands better market to men, it spotlights an unceasing problem: even as women advance in the workplace, academia and politics, even as gender roles begin to shift at home, even as we have become more financially independent, women are still considered inferior to men, so much so that associating themselves with something feminine, even if it means creating a better future for themselves and their offspring, feels dehumanizing for men.

“That says what’s feminine is bad, is lesser, is second class,” Carrie Preston, associate professor of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University, told the Washington Post about the study’s results.

She continued: “Although men’s and women’s roles have changed significantly, masculinity hasn’t changed as much.”

Read: Here’s How You Can Easily Be More Green And Save Big

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