Happy Earth Day! I’m so grateful our planet is getting a chance to breathe during all of this chaos. After the dust settles I hope we can all slow down a bit and be more mindful of how we treat each other, our beautiful wildlife and this amazing environment we all call home.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by things like climate change, pollution and even sustainability. Where do we start? Is all this even worth it? It’s difficult to feel like your efforts make a difference since you’re only one person.
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. This quote by Howard Zinn sums it up so well. We all hold the power to be better humans for each other
and our planet. To use less plastics, consume less animal products, recycle as best we can and shop sustainably.
In light of Earth Day, I’m sharing 5 ways you can lead a more sustainable lifestyle and be a kinder human to our planet. These are just a few of the ways I try to be more sustainable, but there are hundreds of ways to live a more earth-friendly life. I encourage you to do some research and figure out what practices best suit you.
Pay attention to how your clothes are made.
Fast fashion is incredibly harmful to the environment. It’s one of the largest polluters in the world, following closely behind oil and agriculture. In order to cut costs and speed up their production times, brands will cut environmental corners for profit. They use cheap, toxic dyes and fabrics that break down easily. Yes, fast fashion is affordable, but is it really worth it when the garments you buy are such poor quality? I’ve learned the hard way, and I now invest in pieces I know will last me for years.
EILEEN FISHER sent me this beautiful jacket and pant from their new Organic Linen collection. The fabric is so light and breathable — perfect for summer! I’ve come to adore this brand because of their sustainability efforts. They do not treat their seeds with fungicides. No insecticides, petroleum-based fertilizers or herbicides are applied to their crops. Workers are not exposed to hazardous chemicals. The organic linen is grown in rotation with food crops such as wheat, so by purchasing organic linen you’re also supporting a pesticide-free food chain.
Ditch the plastic.
It’s impossible to go to a beach these days and not see plastic litter. And the worst part? Plastic never goes away. It just breaks down into smaller fragments, called microplastics. A quick Google search of this word and you’re inundated with horrific images of the ocean with layers of colorful, discarded plastic that extends into the horizon. Consider some of these easy tips to use less plastic in your daily life:
Take your own produce bags and shopping bags to stores, this helps cut back on single-use plastic and paper bags. It can save you money too!
Bring your own cutlery and straws, and ask restaurants to leave out single-use plastics when you order food to-go. Metal and bamboo are incredible options that are also durable. I switched to metal straws and metal cutlery and my only regret is not doing it sooner!
Switch to reusable mugs and water bottles. I’ve seen so many plastic water bottles tossed aside along hiking trails, floating next to coral reefs, in the Target parking lot… they’re
everywhere. A reusable water bottle or coffee/tea mug will eliminate your use of plastics and save you money.
Consume less animal products.
Remember those horrible Amazon fires in 2019? (If not, google it!) Those were started in order to clear land for cattle farms. The meat industry is not only horrifically inhumane to the animals, but it has devastating effects on the environment. It’s responsible for massive amounts of water use, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and habitat destruction. Reducing your meat consumption means reducing your environmental footprint. Try incorporating some of my favorite meat substitutes like the Impossible burger, Beyond meat, and portobello mushrooms.
Buy pesticide-free, organic produce.
Buying organic means supporting the non-GMO project. GMOs have been engineered for herbicide tolerance, and because of this the use of toxic chemicals, such as Roundup, has increased drastically. The World Health Organization determined that the herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup) is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” That means it’s probably even more detrimental to the environment.
Pesticides have been known to have negative effects on neurological health, especially for the food workers who use it. Pesticides contaminate soil, water, grass and other vegetation. In addition to killing weeds and insects, they can sometimes be toxic to many other vulnerable creatures like birds, fish, amphibians and beneficial insects. When you buy organic produce, that means there are no GMOs, but that doesn’t mean no pesticides. Check the stickers and food labels for “pesticide-free.” You can also try shopping at local farmer’s markets and keep an eye out for produce grown without harmful chemicals.
Be more efficient with your energy.
Next time you change out your light bulbs, make sure they’re LED bulbs. LEDs typically use around 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last at least 35 times longer. You’ll also save money on your energy bill. My personal favorite is the Hue white & color ambiance LED bulbs. They connect to your smart phone via bluetooth and you can change the colors within the app!
If you leave a device or appliance plugged in, even if it’s not in use, it can still use electricity. Leaving these unused devices plugged into outlets can cost you, on average, up to $200 more per month in electricity. Consider using a smart power strip to shut off your electronics when you’re not using them. This saves you money and uses less energy at home.
I’d love to hear your favorite ways to be more sustainable, so feel free to leave it in a comment!