10 Low-Cost and No-Cost Ways to Help the Planet in 2022
The planet needs our help like never before. We're at a critical turning point, not only with regard to the impacts of climate change, but also pollution from plastic waste, environmental destruction, and wildlife extinction.
Here are just a few of the most recent and startling developments:
- Last year was the warmest on record for the heat content of the world's oceans and it was the warmest year on record in 25 countries, and in areas where 1.8 billion people live, according to CarbonBrief. The Arctic, in particular, is warming almost three times faster than the rest of the planet.
- 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution enters the ocean every year, and by 2030, the plastic pollution in rivers, lakes, and the ocean could increase to as much as 53 million metric tons.
- Earth's creatures are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. We have already wiped out hundreds of species, and many more are nearing extinction due in large part to such human-driven activities as wildlife trade, pollution, habitat loss, and more.
These types of headlines can indeed be discouraging. And it's easy to give up hope and believe there's little to nothing you as an individual can do—that these issues are beyond your control or ability to impact. But that couldn't be further from the truth. As legendary primatologist Jane Goodall famously said, "The greatest danger to our planet is that we lose hope...Because, if we have no hope, we give up and stop trying to do our bit to make a difference."
In fact, borrowing words from Goodall again, the small changes we make each day can lead to the kind of world we want in the future.
As each of us goes about our routines, from the moment we wake up until day's end, we make innumerable decisions that have ripple effects. And we engage in actions and behaviors we have long since ceased thinking about, which impact the world around us. From the toothpaste and shampoos we use to how we buy food and the modes of transportation we rely upon; we all can have a positive or negative impact on the planet.
The good news is that it's far easier than you think to help the planet, and it doesn't have to cost a great deal of money to take action or make a difference. In fact, some of the most significant steps we can take this year to help the planet are also among the easiest, and least costly. (Many are even free or will save you money over the long run.)
"It's a total misconception that acting for the planet has to be expensive," says Sheila Bonini, senior vice president for private sector engagement at the World Wildlife Fund. "In fact, being environmentally responsible will often save you money."
Here are 10 low- and no-cost ways to help the planet in 2022, courtesy of three global organizations working to address the most pressing challenges of our time: Ocean Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Earth Action Network.