UNITED STATES—I like to think that I am someone who is environmentally conscious. Am I a global advocate to save the planet from wasteful resources? Not quite, but I do my part the best I can to ensure I’m not wasteful in the world’s natural resources. That is the one thing I learned in my environmental biology and geology courses as an undergraduate that I thought were useless: we won’t have these things forever. Carbon emissions are constantly impacting our atmosphere and impacting the greenhouse gas effect.

Some of you may have heard of it, some of you may not, but the greenhouse gas effect impacts carbon emissions and ultimately will impact our weather. If the greenhouse gas effect is too high we run into a situation where the planet becomes too hot for us to live on. The drawback is if the greenhouse gas effect is too low, the planet is too cold for us to live on. Right now, we have a balance where it’s not too hot or too cold. Yes, we can absolutely drive a bit less, or find a way to have alternatives for fuel. I mean coal is one, but we have electric vehicles that are becoming more and more popular by the minute, with the slight hiccup that not everyone can afford those pricey vehicles. With that being said, there are some things we can control, like water consumption.

I don’t know many people who brush their teeth without leaving the water on. However, I am one who does my best to not allow that to happen. How so? I wet the toothpaste on my toothbrush, turn the water off and brush my teeth for about 2-3 minutes. When I’m done, I briefly wash my mouth with water. Just think about the amount of water you could be wasting while letting it run, when you’re not even using it. We don’t think it matters, but if you’re paying a water bill, or you consider the various parts of the world where people do not have readily access to clean water, it might cause you to think twice about your actions.

The same applies to taking a shower. For the life of me, it boiled my skin when I learned my little brother was wasting water by the tons at my parent’s house because he doesn’t pay a bill. That was until he was told either change those habits or you’ll have to take over the bill. I mean if you’re planning to get in the shower, you should not be running water for 10-15 minutes before getting into that shower. Get in the shower or turn off the water people. In addition, the same applies for washing clothes, washing dishes and countless other things we utilize water for.

I’m also big on recycling plastic, cardboard and aluminum. The plastic and aluminum applies to bottles, for most Americans this allows you to save a few dollars along the way when making a trip to the grocery store. That is money you can use for food and other items you may need for your home. Not everyone recycles their bottle returns; some do, some do not, but by doing so you are helping the planet. If each American, just played a small part in helping others, it would make the planet a better place and resources that we assume are endless will be protected longer than we expect. Nothing is unlimited people; we might think that, but it’s not.