13 Daily Habits of Human Beings That are Slowly Killing the Environment
It is postulated that it takes only 3 weeks for a human being to form a habit. However, one major concern about daily human habits is how it is slowly destroying the environment. Interestingly, most of it is due ignorance. While some may seem innocuous at first, reading into them shows how bad some can be damaging to the environment.
From driving to brushing teeth to wasting food, each of our habit is affecting environment in some or the other way. All we need is small changes in our daily lifestyle to reduce our carbon impact on the environment. Here are 13 daily habits of human beings that are slowly killing the environment:
Driving is one of the chief means people prefer to go about their daily activities. However, with as many as 235 million cars in the United States alone, the environment pays the price in the cost of fumes produced by the cars when burning gasoline. With so many people owning cars in other parts of the worlds, the effect on the environment is gigantic. People should opt for car-pooling or be more willing to use public transportation as a means of travel to reduce the carbon footprint.
2. Improper disposal of batteries and ink
Household batteries contain traces of mercury and other toxic chemicals that damage wildlife and sea life when they accumulate and leak into ecosystems around the world due to improper disposal. Ink cartridges, on the other hand, have a more toxic effect to the environment when not disposed correctly.
Approximately 10 million cartridges end up in the landfills every single year which poisons the soil and further degrades the environment. These chemicals have the added ability to accumulate within the animals (termed as biomagnification) – meaning that they are passed along the animal life cycle and food chains harming even more and more animals.
3. Excessive use of plastic
Items on sale in shops are mostly packaged in plastic containers. On top of this, most carrying bags offered at the cashier’s register are also plastic in nature. Statistically, the food packaging accounts for nearly 70% of all household trash and waste that eventually end up in the landfills.
The problem is that plastics are a major pollutant to the environment due to their inability to degrade naturally having a life cycle that can extend to millennia. This means that as more and more plastics end up being dumped in landfills, decomposition does not take place thus adding no value on earth.
4. Throwing food as waste
Many people think that it is a formal courtesy not to completely empty a plate during a meal. But, throwing food is bad in the sense that it is a basic necessity which more unfortunate people can’t access. Throwing food is even worse for the environment because forests are cleared and emissions are made in the process of cultivation, transportation and processing.
Besides, if the waste food is not disposed of properly, it can lead to an increase in the organic matter in waterways and other aquatic environments that can augments the growth of algal blooms.
5. Using paper
Paper is used on a daily basis by human beings in different forms. Examples include the use of paper towels in the kitchen, tissues in the toilet, and in the print media for our daily reads. Regardless our daily use of paper, what we as humans overlook, is that, it is made from trees.
Since it has a steady increase in demand due to our lifestyle and the altered definition of hygiene, we are constantly cutting down trees to fulfil market demands. It has therefore increased the number of trees to cut down every year persistently contributing to deforestation.
6. Boiling water using electricity
Boiling water for use in the shower or kitchen for your morning cup of coffee is extremely inefficient. The amount of energy used to boil water using electricity makes it one of the most expensive methods as compared to gas. The large amounts of energy required translate into problems on the production end of things. As a lot of electricity is generated via coal and diesel engines, increasing the power load by using the boiler or coffee maker has a big toll on the environment.
7. Washing one’s face
People are using face washes that mostly contain plastic exfoliating micro-beads, which are being termed by researchers as a serious environmental problem. The beads are not filtered during sewage treatment due to their small size. When released into water bodies, they are swallowed by fish and other marine animals which harm their health and could poison their organs or damage their gills.
The beads also destroy the animal’s internal systems as they are made with the purpose of scrubbing during use by humans. It is the beads abrasive nature that is damaging to aquatic animals.
8. Eating meat
One of the most widely produced greenhouse gases in the world is methane. This gas traps heat within the atmosphere. As research postulates, the biggest producer of methane gas is farmed livestock. In this sense, the production of animal products is a large contributor of methane, a greenhouse gas mostly from animal manure and enteric fermentation.
By continuing to demand meat products, the farmers continue to increase the supply of the goods by keeping more animals and in turn leading to more greenhouse gases. This cycle breeds more problems for the environment. Alternative protein sources should be pursued to provide food for people without the environmental cost that farmed food entails.
9. Flushing the toilet
Flushing the toilet uses about a bucket of water for every cycle. What’s even more devastating is that once you flush the toilet, the water immediately turns into black water and will serve no other purpose until it is processed at the sewage plant. Accordingly, the use of water in this manner is very inefficient as it only uses water singly after which it will require fresh processing.
The better alternative would be to use compost toilets. The use of this option instead of water is a good alternative since the waste can be used for projects such as manufacture of manure. However, this leap can be too large for some and may not be feasible in some regions. So, the alternative could be to reduce the number of times one flushes the toilet or the installation of low-flush toilets.
10. Brushing teeth
Brushing teeth is another bad human habit because it contributes to water wastage. Brushing techniques are especially inefficient at conserving water due to people letting the water run as they brush their teeth. This can use up a lot of water in the long run.
While closing the tap during the brush is one option, the other is to use brushing techniques that do not require one to use water. Several herb shoots and leaves have been used over the centuries to offset the stale breathe of individuals and provide dental hygiene and protection against germs that cause cavities.
A prime example is among the Maasai of Tanzania and Kenya. They use a shrub colloquially known as the toothbrush tree (Salvadorapersica). The stem of the shrub is used to clean the teeth and also serves to provide additional health benefits as it is associated with remedies from complications borne from rheumatism and coughs.
11. Spending time in front of a screen (TV, mobile, computer)
Spending most of our time in front of the TV or any other screen for that matter is a daily human habit that drains energy out of device or requires the use of electricity. With almost 11 hours of the day spent before some sort of screen, it increases electricity load. The remedy for this is to reduce the amount of time spent using electronic devices in order to reduce the electricity load that is placed on the power grid.
12. Habitual spending
Consumerism is the constant and excessive purchase of consumer goods. It comes after basic needs have been met allowing individuals to buy items for leisure or some other purpose. This habit increases demand for consumer products thus making the market to produce more by constantly running production factories.
As a result, there is constant energy consumption that takes its toll on the environment as it involves the burning of fossil fuels and the production of associated greenhouse gases thereafter. In a bid to avoid habitual spending, we should reduce the number of goods we purchase for us to reduce the demand and therefore the supply and production of those goods. Ultimately, it will reduce industrial processing and conserve the environment.
13. Not recycling
The last of the habits that devastate the environment is not recycling. By not recycling, we send too many resources to the landfills such as plastics and glass. Recycling conserves energy and resources by repurposing already produced goods. This means that the energy that should have gone into the production of wholly new goods can be repurposed or conserved.