10 Local Ways to Better the EnvironmentWe’ve all read about what we can do to help conserve and recycle to better the world for future generations, but what can you start doing right now, today? Below are ten ways New Orleanians can do their part. Buy local. There are numerous farmer’s and flea markets in Louisiana that offer fresh local food and more. By buying locally, it not only boosts the local economy but also lessens the negative environmental impact that transporting goods long distances creates. Scale back on your car usage. With the recent addition of the Blue Bike rentals in the New Orleans area, there are more options to reduce one’s carbon footprint now. Take the bus, streetcar, or carpool in order to decrease emitting more toxic pollution in the air. Donate to your local food kitchen. Instead of throwing your food away, donate it to your local food pantry. There are plenty of people in need and it reduces food waste, which contributes to 21 percent of landfill volume. Find a food kitchen and see what kind of food donations they accept. Be conscious of what you eat while out. Seaworthy, Willa Jean, Seed, and Cochon are just a few of the restaurants you can go for sustainable and/or vegan food options. Beef and dairy cattle contribute to a large portion of the methane emitted, which adds to global warming. By giving up meat and cheese at least one day a week, you can help decrease methane emissions in a big way. Participate in eco-friendly fashion. Americans throw out 10.5 million tons of clothes annually and only donate or recycle 15 percent. Even though Louisiana is not the most eco-friendly state there are some options available to reduce your textile waste. There are two ways to help: Donate or recycle your old clothes to your local textile recycler, charity, or thrift store and shop at stores that make sustainable clothing.Sign up for our newsletter today!Grow your own food. Join a local community garden or start a garden in your backyard. Growing your own food reduces plastic use (grocery bags), decreases environmental effect on goods transportation, and helps put healthy nutrients into the soil. Just don’t forget to incorporate environment-friendly gardening practices. Buy used. The Green Project salvage store helps divert two million pounds of usable materials from landfills annually. You can donate or purchase building materials or furniture for 30-50 percent less than the retail price. The Green Project also offers a paint recycling program that helps divert 40,000 gallons of paint from being improperly disposed of in local ecosystems. So instead of throwing away your half used can of paint, donate to a great cause.Conserve electricity. Green Light New Orleans assists New Orleans residents by installing free, energy efficient light bulbs, rain barrels, and backyard vegetable gardens to help the environment and community. By using more energy efficient materials you can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. By recycling half of your household waste can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. To register for the curbside recycling program, Orleans Parish residents can call 311. Minimize single-use. Plastic is a harsh material that takes 450 years to biodegrade. To help lessen the amount of plastic in landfills, use reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles. Use reusable bags when shopping, don’t use disposable cutlery and plates, or simply refuse plastic straws when eating out. Chapelle Johnson is an Editorial Intern at Nola Family & Nola Boomers.