Do Your Part: 4 Simple Ways to Take Individual Responsibility for the Environment

Environmental responsibility has transitioned from merely something that people desire to achieve to something that the majority of people now understand is essential. Most people are generally aware that environmental responsibility breaks down to each of us taking personal responsibility. Taking individual responsibility to leave the environment a better place than how you found it can often seem like an overwhelming task. Below are four incredibly simple ways that you can start helping the environment by taking on individual responsibility.

Go out of Your Way to Do the “Little Things” Every Day

It’s pretty commonplace these days to have a working knowledge of the “little things” each of us should be doing to contribute to helping the environment and living a more eco-friendly life. However, when we hear the news of massive-scale issues like melting glaciers, sea levels rising, droughts and forest fires due to lack of rain, and increasing temperatures, it’s natural to wonder what something as simple as using less electric in one home can really accomplish.

Start Taking Responsibility in Your Own Home

The very best thing you can do to take personal environmental responsibility is to start with yourself and stop underestimating the benefit of lowering your personal eco-footprint. Taking shorter showers, not over-indulging in using your HVAC services or opting for a more energy-efficient system, bringing your own grocery bags, turning off lights and appliances that use energy when not in use, and borrowing instead of buying items you don’t really need are just a few of the many simple ways that you can lower your environmental footprint. Never underestimate the impact that these small actions can make. Imagine what would happen if every single person took small steps like these? We could make an extremely positive impact!

Take Environmental Responsibility When It Comes to Personal Transportation

Finding ways to decrease your environmental impact by modifying your transportation habits is another simple way to take individual responsibility. Instead of driving down to grab a cup of coffee or enjoy brunch at the café several blocks from your house, walk there instead. In fact, walk anywhere you can. It’s good for your health and the environment’s health.

Get Creative to Create Less Waste

There are small choices you can make every day that will allow you to create less waste, adding up over time to make an impact on the footprint you leave behind on the environment. For example, instead of getting your morning cup of coffee in a plastic/paper cup with a cardboard sleeve, simply bring your own travel mug. Invest in a great, durable water bottle instead of going through plastic bottles on a daily basis. Buy clothes and household items that are gently used rather than consistently demanding brand-new goods.

These steps above are small actions you can take that will allow you to take personal responsibility for your environmental impact. However, one of the best ways you can amplify this impact is by taking responsibility to help others do the same. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your afternoons on a street corner getting signatures. Instead, set an example and be appropriately vocal about the steps you are personally taking. If you make the extra effort to recycle at work, others will be encouraged to follow suit.

  • Emma Sturgis, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Boston, MA

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