Six free things you can do to improve the world and feel more connected

almond1) Almond Milk

I’ll start with an easy one. If you’ve never had almond milk, you should try it just for the hell of it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Unlike soy milk, which tastes like milk with cardboard, almond milk is actually good. Switching to almond milk is good for you because, despite a very strong milk lobby, drinking cow’s milk is actually bad for you. The main argument made by milk propagandists is that it provides your body with calcium. What actually happens when you drink cow’s milk is that your body goes into acidosis in response to the milk. When this occurs, your body attempts to even out your pH by draining calcium from your bones. Hence, the countries that drink the most milk have the most cases of osteoporosis and hip fractures. Drinking almond milk is good for the environment for the simple reason that there is no cow involved.

We don’t need to expend energy growing plants to feed the cow to drink its milk. When accumulated, the loss of energy in terms of fossil fuels is huge, and so is the environmental impact. Instead, we grow the almonds and drink the milk.

plastic bag2) Stop using plastic bags

I remember being in high school biology and asking our teacher Ms. Glissman if it was better to choose paper or plastic. Weighing her words, at the time she had said that bringing your own bag was best, but considering the fact that plastic is recyclable and paper cuts down trees, it was about even. But now we know that it is not even, at all. Plastic is far worse for the environment. Yes, it’s true that plastic can be recycled. But, as someone who has worked for a recycling company, I can tell you that most of it is not recycled. Most of it ends up in landfills. Some of the “recycled” plastic is actually clumped together with a bunch of other materials, shredded, and burned as fuel. Not really what most were expecting when thinking of recycling. But, what is worse is that tons of these bags end up flying away into oceans and waterways. They then degrade into tiny little pieces over time. There are vast places in the deep sea in which the ratio of plastic to plankton is 500 to 1. The plastic is consumed by fish, causing genetic mutations. The fish are consumed by us. We literally have plastic inside our bodies. Our bodies interpret the plastic as something similar to estrogen, causing neurological quirks, mutations, and other potential harms.

The argument that I hear from my girlfriend is that she needs the plastic bags to pick up dog poop. I always tell her and anyone within earshot that it makes no sense to take something that is biodegradable and to put it into a plastic bag for all of eternity in the name of the environment.

water3) Stop drinking bottled water

In the past people used to be so wasteful as to buy water in plastic bottles and then throw them away, oh wait, that’s the present. I used to love bottled water, Aquafina being my brand of choice. In a rough estimation, I have saved about fifty bucks a month since giving it up and buying a Brita faucet filter and a stainless steel water bottle. People think that bottled water is more pure than tap water, when in most cases it simply is not. Consider the fact that the water is contained in a cheap plastic bottle that is made of petrochemicals. The plastic bottled water and other drinks in plastic containers are bad for the same reasons that plastic bags are bad, both physically and environmentally. Buying bottled water also leads to another problem: the monetization of water. By supporting corporations that make money off of water, according to some, one is headed down a slippery slope.

The more of the natural resource is owned by corporations, the more control corporations have over the commodity, and one can see where this leads.

fish eye shot of cow 4550104) Eat less meat

Before you get mad, as Kanye would say, “let me finish.” I’m not asking you to stop eating meat altogether or to give up your beloved bacon, just asking you to eat less of it. Technically, of course, this is not “free,” because it’s asking you to make a change in your daily routine. Consider, however, that it is good for you. In the China Study, the largest study of diet and mortality ever conducted, Dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell University found that eating large amounts of animal protein was the strongest correlator with mortality from cancers and heart disease. In Campbell’s words, the correlation is as strong as that between cigarette smoking and cancer. In the lab, rats that eat a diet of greater than 20 percent animal protein die from an induced liver cancer, and those that eat less do not. A U.N. study found that the meat and dairy industries are responsible for more greenhouse gasses than the transportation industry, and this makes sense because of the huge loss of energy involved in the production of meat. Again, we grow grains to feed cows so that we can eat the cows and drink their milk. The growing of the grains takes energy in the form of burning fossil fuels for machinery and leads to deforestation. The grains are transported to the cows, which also burns energy. The cows are then transported to be slaughtered, and so on. The industrial farming that takes place to support this scenario leads to deforestation. The only solution is for people to eat less meat. If there is less demand, then there will be less a need of a supply. Less need of a supply equals less environmental impact.

But, what about the protein? It’s a true fact that if you only ate whole foods, you would still be fine protein-wise, because veggies contain all of the protein a person would need to survive. The only time that a person might have a protein deficiency is if that person stopped eating meat altogether and instead ate processed foods and few whole foods.

Still, if a person simply cut back on eating meat, that person would be fine protein-wise. You mad, bro?

bank5) Transfer your money to a credit union

Are big banks the problem? Are their usurious practices strangling the middle class and causing an ever greater rift between rich and poor?

Are they responsible for the financial crisis of 2008? Are they pulling the strings of government and causing political corruption? Then take your money out of the bank and put it in a credit union.

6) Share this

It is not essential that you share this via social media, but every time you share a factoid, it has the potential to make a difference in the grand scheme. Some problems cannot be solved by an individual. It takes a collective effort. Small changes when accumulated can yield big results. OK, I’m finished.


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