We all want to make a difference. We get worried with what the news had for us the past months – dry spells, snows in midsummer, ravaging hurricanes, vicious tsunamis and destructive earthquakes. Floods and unpredictable weather. But no matter how much we care, our concern tends to be fleeting. Yes, fleeting. We can be so fired-up with the idea of helping out right now – recycling, tree-planting, active go green campaigns, but tomorrow, or in the coming days, the fire slowly dies, put out by our many other concerns in life. There are just numerous other things to be concerned about; many of us can’t really find time to help deal with global warming and climate change.
But then, is it really that hard to help? Everything around us is trying to be sustainable nowadays, it’s not that complicated for us to get involved anymore. Big and small businesses that surround our daily lives have already gone out of their way to do their share. All we need to do as consumers is care enough to support what they’re doing. Supermarkets make an effort to come up with recycling programs — asking customers to bring their used plastic bags, or selling re-usable tote bags for customers to use. Pharmacies promote pill-bottle recycling. Shipping companies eliminated the use of cardboard boxes, wooden pallets and shrink wraps in their shipments and replaced it with reusable containers. Beauty salon and spas have reduced the use of chemicals in their treatments and materials. All we need to do is back-up and patronize their efforts.
Take restaurants, for example. Studies show that 48% of our budget goes to dining-out at restaurants, and dining places all over the country have been intensifying their efforts to go green. By helping out these establishments become more sustainable, we can do our share.
One way to help is not to waste the drinking water that apron-clad restaurant servers automatically give us once we take a seat at any one of their dining chairs. If you don’t plan to drink it, tell your server right away. That way, you’ll be helping the world conserve the gazillion of gallons of water that we use up and waste everyday.
Another way is to reduce the use of plastics, knowing that they seriously damage our environment. If you can make do without the use of straw or plastic utensils in your meal, then try doing so.
Many people now prefer to use ceramic mugs for their coffee and tea rather than cups made of polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam or Styropor). When you order to-go food, you can request that they be placed in paper products rather than in Styrofoam or plastic take-out boxes. Polystyrene is a material that is immensely hard to break down, while paper products are easier to recycle, and contain lesser destructive chemicals.
This one might really take an effort on your part, but start appreciating sustainable food. Organic foods can be any of the food you currently love to eat, but they must be free of any artificial food additives, and should have been processed with lesser artificial methods. Start getting into the habit of checking out menu definitions in those elaborate restaurant menus in elegant menu covers, and look out for organic food offerings. These kinds of food reduce the use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and thus reduce water pollution.
Another way of supporting sustainable food is by making an effort to buy dishes on the menu that has locally-grown ingredients. The use of locally grown products has been heavily promoted since 2005, as buying local strongly reduce our use of fossil fuel, which is one significant contributor to climate change. Fossil fuels are used in industrial food production–involving transport, processing and packaging of the food–and buying local greatly lessens our use of this gas.
There are a variety of other ways to support restaurants in their endeavor to help look after our environment. You’ll be surprised that once you get all these into your system and make all these an enduring habit, you can easily proceed and look up for more. And before you know it, you are already making a difference.