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3 Things I’ve Been Doing This Year to Benefit the Environment

In early 2016, I received a work assignment from a client. It was an article on how experts could better simplify environmental science to reach climate change deniers. Up until this point in my adult life, I had no idea that there were people anywhere in the world who believed climate change was debatable or not real. At first, I thought, surely the client must have made a mistake.

I started to research the percentage of Americans who denied the legitimacy of climate change. I remember staring at the number for a few minutes, trying to fathom the possibilities of how nearly 40% of people in a country that prided itself on having a stellar education system believed climate change is fake news.

A more recent estimate from Yale shows improvements at 69% of Americans believing in climate change. The Yale study also identified these as the most likely climate change believers:

In Jamaica, climate change is not a debatable topic. Despite being a measly little Sh!t Hole country, Jamaica’s approach to environmental preservation makes me proud. We’re not perfect, but the government has always had a strong green living focus.

From trying to ban smoking in public to successfully banning plastic bags and styrofoam cups, Jamaica is light years ahead of many other countries for just that alone. Here are three simple commitments I made this year to serve the environment.

1. No Plastic Bags

When I learned that the ban on plastic bans had gone into effect in Jamaica, I resolved to maintain that same ban in my household. I started to work my way through the plastic bags we already had by using them to dispose of Shadow’s poo. Unfortunately, I’ll always need bags for this, but I do purchase tiny ones for this purpose.

I also bought reusable shopping bags online. My parents have had these for years, as we love to shop at Aldi’s. But, I never had any of my own. Mom offered to share her own collection, but I wanted to have my own. I keep them in the trunk of my car. It took me months to remember to say, “No bags, please!” when I got to the cashier, but I’m a pro at it now.

I’m also a pro at ignoring the looks of utter bewilderment at the store when I turn down a bag or push out a cart full of bagless groceries because I left the bags in the car. I remember the first day I visited Joshua Tree. I stopped by the Dollar Store. When the woman said, “Do you want a bag?” I already knew I had found home. They never ask me in Atlanta.

2. More eBooks

One of the biggest problems I always have when moving is the question of what to do with my books. Like any bookworm, I hoard these things. When I gave up my apartment in Jamaica, I had to give them all away. Well, guess what? I now have two full bookcases. I can’t seem to help myself. Why not buy a book if it’s $1 and the cover matches the crimson and black decor in the bedroom? 😭

I have been better at resisting lately. Not only have I stopped buying paperbacks and hardcovers, but I also started selling and giving them away. I now read most of my books via my Kindles and my phone. I had been reading on devices for years anyway, so this isn’t nearly as bad as more old-fashioned book readers might think.

To ensure I’m never short of options, I have a Kindle Unlimited membership for $9.99 per month and I have a membership at the local library. That library membership gives me access to RB Digital, which is a collection of free audiobooks and eBooks.

3. Work From Home

As most of you know by now, I work from home. My business pays all my bills, funds my trips, and leaves me a little something to save. By American standards, I make a lower-middle-class salary, but that’s all I need. Sh!t-Hole-Country immigrants have a knack for living on less because, well … you know.

Working from home also means I rarely need to drive my car. I own a little hatchback that gets me as high as 37 miles to the gallon without turning on its ECO mode. It takes only $20 to fill it up and I probably drive it twice per week. This lowers my fossil fuel consumption, and thus, my carbon footprint.

In Jamaica, we learn about climate change and general environmental science from as early as third or fourth grade. It gets grouped into our social studies, geography, and general knowledge classes. We cover these topics again in high school. It is never taught as a debatable topic and we accept it as scientific fact. 

I’ve said this before a thousand times and I will say it again. There is a state and town and county for everyone in America. California and I stand heart to heart on matters related to environmentalism. This was one of the big reasons California made it onto my radar this year. It’s also the only state in the Blue Sunbelt that would allow me to build, buy and/or live in a tiny home.

I can’t wait to start that adventure next year. To the ladies and one gentleman I have reached out to throughout this year with questions — you know yourselves! — thank you so much for your inspiration, your knowledge, and the role you played in my decision to take my butt out to the desert for good. 

To everyone else, what have you guys done lately to help out Mother Nature before she boots us all off the planet with an asteroid the size of China?

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