The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


With the start of a new year, everyone is always focused on change they want in their lives. As people commit to New Year’s Resolutions, a trend that has been circulating the internet for a few weeks is the Ten Year Challenge, where someone posts a side by side comparison of them in 2009 and in 2019. These pictures can be funny, inspirational, relatable, and surprising. However, what seem to be the most dramatic changes in the past decade have been in the environment. Shocking images have surfaced, showing enormous icebergs melting, entire forests chopped down, and plastic filling every inch of a body of water.

Though these changes may directly be caused by issues such as climate change, deforestation, and more, the main root of the problem is our lack of awareness on our negative impact on the planet. An example of this is the immense amounts of wasted plastic. You’ve likely read the Washington Post article about WIS students Claire MacQueen, Sabine Thomas, and Ava Inskeep who are committed to ridding DC of plastic straws. However, these utensils are not our only challenge to overcome, because plastic waste is everywhere.

Take a look around you. You’ll likely spot at least ten plastic items in your line of sight. Plastics like the countless water bottles purchased each day and the hundreds of flimsy bags grocery shoppers opt for to carry their food are slowly worsening the world around us. So why doesn’t this pressing issue get as much attention as other global problems? 

For starters, we live in a country where trash seems to vanish as soon as we throw it away, rather than seeing it flowing onto the streets like in some other places. Since we aren’t seeing the negative impact of our actions, we forget about or ignore the problem. This is why littering and throwing away recyclable objects is so prevalent in our society. In addition to this, many Americans question the credibility of climate change and other issues because of their personal political views. With nobody paying attention to these increasingly more dangerous issues, they are greatly damaging the environment. 

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So what can we do to help? Well, the first big step is being aware about these problems and understanding how perilous they are. Next, trying to create a positive impact on the earth and helping others in your community to do the same. This can be done in a variety of ways, from installing solar panels on your roof for minimizing your carbon footprint to replacing all of the plastic straws and utensils in your house with metal, reusable equivalents. No change to help the environment is too small to minimize our negative impacts on the planet.

Here is a list of things you can do:

  1. Stop using plastic straws! Unless you absolutely have to use one, you can probably do without straws. A good investment would be in reusable metal straws, especially if you purchase plastic straws for your house (you’re saving money in the long run).
  2. Opt for reusable bags for supermarket shopping instead of plastic equivalents.
  3. Use razors with replaceable blades rather than cheaper one-time use razors.
  4. Purchase a sturdy reusable water bottle instead of wasting your money and hurting the environment by buying plastic ones.

By Maia Nehme

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