Seemingly “harmless” things you do that are bad for the environment

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small harmful habits to the environment

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The global warming crisis is on the rise, and if we don’t meet the planet’s environmental demands right now, there might not be a tomorrow.

Indeed, some of the seemingly harmless activities you do daily can change the planet for good.

To stop the globe from warming up, nations and individuals need to make more concerted efforts.

On the surface, these seemingly small things are detrimental to the environment but pretty easy to do away with. Here are the most common:


1. Overeating beef

too much beef

Eating too much beef can damage the environment. Research indicates that 30% of all greenhouse gases come from the agricultural sector, and beef production ranks high.

While most people enjoy beef, beef production is one of the biggest culprits behind global warming.

The more meat people eat, the more the planet has to deal with many ruminant animals releasing tons of methane into the atmosphere, further accelerating climate change.

Ruminant animals such as cows release 250-500 liters of methane gas per day. The figure is set to increase influenced by the animal’s feed intake and feed processing.

Switching to plant-based meats and proteins can reduce reliance on beef, drive down demand, and hence, production. It further reduces greenhouse emissions and climate change.


2. Solo driving to malls and other places

We all know that driving alone causes environmental problems such as carbon dioxide, smog, and other such things. Carpooling has been suggested to reduce the number of vehicles travelers need, thus reducing energy consumption and emissions, congestion mitigation, and parking infrastructure demand.

There are also numerous societal benefits, such as reductions in car dependency, which means people will be more inclined to travel with others rather than driving by themselves.

Moreover, cycling is a mode of transport that does not use fuel; we can all do our bit for the environment and start cycling.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still spreading, carpooling might have to wait until it’s over to avoid new outbreaks of the disease.

However, it’s not too late to change. Indeed, walking can form part of your exercise routine. So, leave the car at home, park away further from where you’re going, and walk the rest of the way.


3. Chewing gum

chewing gum

Walk anywhere in cities, towns, sidewalks, and classrooms, and you’ll probably encounter stuck chewing gum – a common problem linked to environmental degradation.


Most chewing gum is non-biodegradable, and most of it is made of polymers, waxes, and softeners. Indeed, chewing gum is the second most common litter after cigarette butts, and it’s also unsightly and cumbersome to remove.

For instance, in preparing for the 2012 London Olympics, the city’s cleanup team spent at least three months scraping chewing gum from streets using steam.

However, there is a solution. If you don’t wish to give up gum-chewing but still want to protect the environment, switch to biodegradable gums. They use biodegradable ingredients such as Rev7, a biodegradable gum that is 100 percent biodegradable, dissolves in water and is 30 percent easier to remove from benches, sidewalks, and clothes.


Other small but harmful habits for the environment

plastic bags

They include:

  • Using paper napkins once and throwing them away – Instead of using paper napkins, use cloth napkins which you can easily fold up when not in use, or handkerchiefs.
  • Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth – Try turning off the tap while doing so instead of keeping it running. If you want water, fill the sink up before brushing your teeth.
  • Using plastic bags – Avoid using them as much as possible and try to use cheap reusable shopping bags instead. Never forget to bring yours or avoid buying something that can’t fit in your pockets, like fruits and vegetables, which you can easily carry around in your hands.
  • Going thirsty – Always carry a water bottle around with you and fill it up while you can instead of buying new ones every time they get empty.
  • Going hungry – If you’re really on the go, pack some snacks like fruits and vegetables for that hunger pang, especially when you know it’ll take more than an hour for you to get food.
  • Using paper cups/plates and throwing them away – If you’re hosting a party or having guests, avoid using disposable plates and just use your own.
  • Littering – The least you could do when you go out is take your trash with you when you leave. It’s just common courtesy to not litter and add to Mother Earth’s toxic state.



If everyone starts to do their small part individually, we can collectively make a difference and save Mother Earth from destruction.

Global warming is very real, and it’s high time we started doing something about it!

By not doing these things, you will be helping preserve the planet, which is the only home we have.

Which others do you think should be on this list, leave a comment below.

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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