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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Ways everyone can live sustainably

By Sophia Pu | Staff Writer

Illustration by Isabelle Ortiz

When people think of a sustainable lifestyle, what often comes to mind is a world of green where no plastic or fuels are used; in other words, an unrealistic lifestyle. In actuality, a few new habits are all it takes to balance consumption with sustainability.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in America. Choices to go electric, carpool, walk, bike, and take public transportation help reduce this percentage.
Another major source of emissions is the energy used at home. Reduce energy and gas bills by bundling up instead of using the heater, hanging clothes dry instead of using a dryer, using cold water to wash clothes, switching to LED lights, and only using lights when in the room.
With its promotion of consumerism, the EPA and BBC report that the fashion industry wastes 16 million tons of textiles and 70 million barrels of oil every year, making up 10 percent of carbon emissions. A majority of this comes from big-name brands like Uniqlo, H&M, Shein, GAP, and Forever 21, which prioritize profit over workers and the environment. Get the same styles for a lower environmental and monetary cost at discount department stores like T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Burlington Coat Factory, and thrift stores like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers.
Alternatives to disposing of old and ill-fitting clothes include donating, repurposing, or altering them. Instead of buying petroleum-based fabrics like polyester, choose natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and wool.
Livestock emissions, unsustainable agriculture, and food waste amount to one-third of global emissions, according to the United Nations. Avoid contributing to that percentage by cutting down on red meat (especially beef and lamb), buying based on need instead of want, and choosing sustainable food sources.
Growing food and composting in a garden decreases dependence on unhealthy processing and soil practices. In addition, growing native, pollinator-friendly plants preserves local ecology. Some examples in California include poppies, phacelia, sage, lupine, and milkweed.
In search of palm oil and agricultural expansion, fast food chains and companies like Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, and Nestle contribute the most to deforestation. As much as possible, do not buy from these corporations and the businesses they own.
In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that wood products make up 10 percent of deforestation. Combat wastefulness by reducing paper use, reusing existing papers and notebooks, and recycling when finished.
The same three R’s apply to plastic products like utensils, containers, and water bottles. However, there is also a fourth, unlisted, but arguably most important R: rally. The truth is, 71 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from just 100 companies, and America is the second largest polluter in the world. As the generation that inherits this planet, we have the right to speak out, vote, and petition government officials to enact effective climate policies.
If everyone does their part to appreciate and preserve Earth’s resources, that world of green where humans live in harmony with nature will be within our reach.

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Ways everyone can live sustainably