I’m sure you’ve been reading a lot of posts in the last week talking about the environment and how you can live a more sustainable life in light of Earth Day. It makes me happy seeing others talk about the environment and what they’re doing in their own life to make conscious decisions to reduce their own impact. I go on about this a lot, it may seem “trendy”, but it’s not a trend. It’s a way of life. It makes my heart sing seeing things like The Ocean Cleanup, zero waste grocery stores and meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat (dying to try one of their burgers!)
It can seem overwhelming at times (I feel this regularly) thinking about all the ways I can/should change my lifestyle. It often feels like things will be “missing” from your life. It feels like a negative thing as opposed to thinking of it simply as a change that’s for the best and all the positives that come along with it. Remember as you begin to make changes in your own life, it’s okay to start small and you should! It has a snowball effect, as you start to make small changes here and there you begin to recognize other areas that you can make changes and it becomes easier over time. There are a lot of resources out there, the key is to have an open mind, educate yourself and do things slowly. Read on to learn about the keys to becoming more environmentally friendly.
*Soap refill station from New General.
PRODUCING LESS WASTE
Recently, I watched a video that followed a woman as she tried to create zero trash for 30 days. It really opened my eyes and made me realize how much trash is produced everyday. It didn’t occur to me how much all of that can add up through packaging, food waste and things that have just become “normal” to me. I realized that by making conscious choices I can alter my habits to produce less waste.
Here are some easy things I do on the day-to-day to produce less waste:
- Bring reusable water bottle/coffee cups with me anywhere I go.
- Have reusable bags in my car at all times incase I need to run to a store.
- Repair broken items.
- Recycle everything that can be recycled, so many things that you wouldn’t even think about can be recycled!
- Buy items from bulk stores that allow you to bring your own containers.
This goes hand in hand with producing less waste. It’s pretty easy to understand, if you’re consuming less, you’re ultimately producing less.
- Serve yourself smaller portions during meals.
- Think twice about buying that trendy item you feel you must have but may only wear a few times!
- Share books and other items with friends.
BUYING MORE ETHICALLY/ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS
When you take a step back and think about all that goes in to the production of goods it can be quite staggering. Not just the the chemicals and waste, but also the impact on those who produce the goods. More and more stores are popping up that sell environmentally sustainable and ethically made products. Just a few stores you can check out:
- Everlane (ethically-made)
- Thirft Shops! (eco-friendly)
- The Little Market (ethically-made and some eco-conscious products)
Learn more about some ethically-made clothing brands you need to check out.
LESS MEAT MORE PLANTS
I try to reduce the amount of meat I eat. The amount of resources that go in to producing meat is taxing on the environment. It’s been hard for me to give it up fully, so I in the very least try to reduce my consumption of red meat. …Burgers are so hard to give up! I typically don’t cook meat at home, but when I go out to eat I try to steer myself towards dishes that don’t have red meat.
I’ve learned that our planet can’t sustain the meat consumption in the US alone. That’s pretty astounding. Making this change in lifestyle takes time getting used to.
Along with consuming less meat, I try to consume less seafood. This is still a struggle for me. I learned that we were overfishing our oceans through a documentary. Basically, at the current rate that we are fishing our oceans, the populations of fish do not have time to reproduce at the rate that we are fishing them. This was pretty devastating to learn. Water accounts for 71% of our Earth. I’ve always found the ocean and all of its creatures rather mystical. One way to help our planet is by choosing to consume less or if any at all. It’s hard to get used to at first, but seeing what’s at stake makes this an easy decision for me.
Learn here about four documentaries to watch to be more environmentally conscious.
Have plants comprise more of your meals. This is an easy and nutritious way to help the environment. Only 9% of Americans eat the recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables daily according to the CDC. That’s pretty astounding! I know I’m not always the greatest about ensuring that I get my daily recommended value of veggies. Eating more salads and meals where the main component is veggies assures I’m getting the proper daily amount needed. There’s more than just salads that you can make. Pinterest is a great place for finding healthy delicious recipes! Check out my Pinterest board, More Greens Please to get some recipe ideas. Also, my board Been There. Done That. Made That. includes recipes I’ve tested out.
EDUCATING YOURSELF & OTHERS
To increase my knowledge and understanding, I like to watch documentaries, read books & articles, etc. If there’s ever information that I don’t understand, I like to take the time to do the research. It can be hard filtering through all of the information circulating the internet. Cross-referencing information and double checking sources can help filter out mis-information.
When I learn something new I try to share it with my others. Education is key in helping to create change. Spreading new information can create a ripple effect. When I learn something new, something I can change in my day to day life, I’ll share it with my friends, family, coworkers, whomever. When I do that, my family will share it with neighbors, my friends will share it with their family or coworkers etc. I can only hope that that information passes along further. After all, we see things go viral on the internet, there’s power in sharing things.
As much as it can feel overwhelming and scary in regards to the state of our planet, I do genuinely have hope. I see a lot of companies that are doing good, new technologies are being created and laws are being passed to create more protections. When I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself that step-by-step I’ll make changes in my life. It makes me happy to reflect on the things I’ve changed over time and it reminds me small changes over time add up.
What changes have you made in your own life to be environmentally conscious?