How have environmentally friendly activities evolved over the past 10 years?

Like many aspects of society, activities that benefit the environment are constantly changing.

But compared to recent times, how exactly have things like recycling, dieting, or the use of electric vehicles changed or evolved?

We asked Dr. Jiaying Zhao, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

Zhao also co-leads the Happy Climate Project, which helps individuals and groups develop a plan to reduce their impact on climate change and increase happiness.

Over the past 10 years, Zhao said, there has been an evolution in each of the environmentally friendly activities below:

  • Recycling. People are always enthusiastic about recycling, although certain materials have become more important in recent years. “Single-use plastics (bottles, cups) are recycled more and more food waste is composted,” Zhao said.

  • Electric vehicles. Every year, the benefits offered by electric vehicles become more attractive to consumers. With gasoline prices at an all-time high these days, this is only going to intensify. “Their range has increased, charging stations have proliferated, prices have come down, and governments are offering more incentives, making them more attractive to consumers,” Zhao said.

  • Go on a diet. People are buying more plant-based foods and sustainably grown foods than ever before. “People buy popular brands like Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers,” Zhao said. “Milk alternatives (almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk) are (also) on the rise.”

  • Fashion. People are even changing the way they dress, Zhao said. “Fashion has changed, more and more people are buying clothes made from recycled materials,” she said.

  • Avoid car use. This could really intensify if gasoline prices continue to rise. “More people are cycling or carpooling, rather than driving alone,” Zhao said.

Zhao warned that some of the most popular actions to try to help the environment aren’t the most helpful.

“The most popular actions include recycling, turning off lights, and buying organic or non-GMO foods,” Zhao said. “These actions tend to have a small impact on the environment.”

A d


Do you do the things listed above? Let us know in the comments below.

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