If you’ve ever been to Santa Cruz, it’s easy to say that it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the Pacific Ocean to the redwood forests, our city has outstanding landscapes that define the area.
In order to preserve the beauty of our city—and to sustain the earth in general—we need to become more conscious about how our habits affect the environment.
Currently, there’s a whopping 5,25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans and every year we dump in another 8-million tons.
Statistics like these show the importance of living a green lifestyle.
Luckily, there are tons of easy ways to be more eco-friendly. Here are some tips on how to live green in Santa Cruz:
Use Less Single-Use Plastics
Millions of tons of single-use plastics, like plastic bags, straws, and water bottles, are produced every year. After they’re used, they’re typically thrown out to end up in our landfills and oceans.
The City of Santa Cruz recognized this issue back in 2017 and made adjustments to the Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging and Products Ordinance. They soon banned all to-go packages from food services. Instead, all packaging must be made of biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials.
This is a positive step forward for the City of Santa Cruz, but it’s just the beginning.
You can perpetuate this eco-friendly concept by reducing single-use plastics in your own life. We can do this by substituting plastics for sustainable, eco-friendly options.
Instead of getting plastic bags for your groceries, use cloth bags. Keep some in your car and near your front door so you never forget them when you go to the store.
Another way to live a green lifestyle in Santa Cruz is to use reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones. The same can be done with straws. Rather than using plastic, use biodegradable or metal straws.
You can buy waste-free products from businesses like No Trace. This is a Santa Cruz company that helps facilitate green living.
Carpool, Bus, and Bike
Collectively, motor vehicles cause 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the United States.
So, one way to live a green life in Santa Cruz is to reduce the amount you drive. Although it’s difficult to avoid it altogether, making conscious decisions about how you get around the city can have a big impact on the environment.
Some of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint are to carpool, bus, or bike.
Santa Cruz has a great public transportation system that lets you get around the city and adjacent neighborhoods by bus.
There are also plenty of bike lanes around town that make bicycling simple and safe.
To help you get around the city, there are tons of apps and websites, like BikeMap, that map out bike lanes and trails around Santa Cruz.
Buy Organic Foods
Not only is buying organic good for your health, it’s good for the environment.
Non-organic products are sprayed with pesticides and chemicals which end up in our earth and our water systems. Non-organic farming also produces a large amount of carbon that negatively affects global warming.
It’s said that if 10,000 medium-sized farms in the States change to organic production, they would keep so much carbon in the soil, it would be like taking 1,174,400 cars off the road.
In addition to all of this, organic farming encourages biodiversity, animal health, and water conservation.
When you buy organic foods, you support an industry that’s making a positive change on our environment.
There are plenty of places to buy organic foods around Santa Cruz, including Whole Foods Market, Staff of Life, and Trader Joe’s.
Eat Less Meat
Many people believe that motor vehicles have the biggest impact on the environment, but the truth is that the global livestock industry does.
In fact, this industry produces more greenhouse gasses than all cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. This is partly because the storage of manure produces methane and nitrous oxide—which, in large quantities, is bad for the environment.
One of the best ways to be more eco-friendly is to reduce the amount of meat you consume.
Some may feel that one person doesn’t have a large enough impact on the environment for anything to change, but this isn’t the case.
After only a month of being vegan, one person avoids the use of 33,000 gallons of water, the destruction of 900 square feet of forest, and the production of 600 pounds of CO2 gas.
Cutting out meat altogether may not be possible for everyone, but by simply reducing the amount of meat you eat, you’ll make a positive difference for the environment.