Simple ways to give back to nature


John Ferebee

Photo of the Arroyo Grande Creek courtesy of John Ferebee photos

Tatyana Salem, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With stressful topics such as worldwide pandemics and the global warming crisis filling headlines as often as they do, it’s hard not to feel helpless in the face of such large problems, but there are always ways to help. Whether you’re an environmental enthusiast or just someone who wants to give back a little, here are a few things you can do to help our planet right now.

If your goal is to give back to nature with as little effort as possible, then donating to organizations that dedicate their time to helping the environment is the way to go. Ocean Conservancy, the Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, and 5 GYRES are all organizations that accept donations and clean the environment and ocean for you so that you don’t have to. 

Other ways to give back to the environment that require no physical effort include emailing members of Congress and asking them to enact more nature-friendly initiatives, as well as simply educating people around you about how littering is bad for the environment. When people understand the damage that they are doing to our environment, they’ll be less inclined to litter. Littering is less fun when you have a guilty conscience anyway.

When it comes to clothing, consider shopping at thrift stores and second-hand shops. Reusing materials prolongs the life of an item, giving the clothes a chance to be reused rather than going straight to a landfill. Donating old clothes, bags, phone cases, and household items to local thrift stores is very beneficial as well, and doing so gives each item a second chance at life.

Try investing in eco-friendly items, such as plant-based dish soap, hand soap, and laundry detergent. Not only are these items better for your health and skin, but they usually don’t contain the unnecessary and harmful chemicals that mainstream brands like Tide, Dawn, and Gain add to their products.

For those who are dedicated to helping the environment, consider using reusable water bottles, reusable grocery bags, reusable sandwich bags, and beeswax cloths. Plastic waste is very harmful to the environment so making these small shifts away from single-use plastics is a great way to help out. 

Carpooling to reduce carbon emissions, walking or bike riding, when possible, is also helpful.

While grocery shopping, try to avoid buying fruits and vegetables that are unnecessarily wrapped in plastic. Consider finding natural foods that are not packaged at all. These single-use plastic wraps are terrible for the environment and could very easily end up in the ocean. 

Aside from making a conscious effort to avoid buying products that harm the environment, picking up litter is very beneficial as well. The San Luis Obispo Creek and Arroyo Grande Creek have pieces of trash littering the water and edges of the creek; making an effort to pick up the litter anytime you visit local bodies of water helps the environment in our community greatly.

Giving back to nature does not have to be complicated, as long as you choose to make the effort towards helping the environment, you can make a difference.