So just like that,
Earth day came and went.
We did our obligatory instagram posts,
we spent some time outdoors.
We did our best on that day to recycle,
and had some conversations about the importance of our planet.
So, now what?
How do we keep spreading this love for our planet long past just a day in April?
How do we stay inspired, educated, and motivated to make lasting changes?
When it comes down to it - change starts from individuals making conscious choices. Change starts with you. Anywhere is a good place to start, but i've made a list of 30 simple things often overlooked out of habit and routine.
How can you make small daily changes in your routines to make big changes for the planet?
01. Go Vegan -
The food we eat makes up more than 2/3 of our total water footprint. The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment - from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. Conventional beef are feed food made from corn and soy, because a grain-heavy diet speeds up the cattle’s growth. It takes about 147 gallons of water to produce one pound of corn, and a cow can eat 1,000 pounds or more of feed over a few months. This is not sustainable.
02. Shop Local -
When you shop at the grocery store, many of the food items you buy travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate. By cutting down on these miles, you are reducing the environmental impact of your food. Local food doesn’t create large carbon footprints through overseas boat and plane travel or long truck trips. This cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution. There isn’t a need for shipping facilities, packing facilities or refrigeration. Plus, your food is usually picked closer to being ripe, and is much fresher.
03. BYO CUP, MUG, GLASS, JAR, TO GO CONTAINERS -
A daily cup of coffee to go creates 365 times more waste a year than simply bringing your own cup. You don't have to be a math guru to figure that one out.
04. REFUSE THE STRAW -
Straws are unnecessary, overused, and literally suck! Make it clear that you do not want a straw because you don't NEED one. Every straw that has ever been made still exists today. Think about that.
05. LINE DRY -
Save energy and money by letting mother nature be your dryer.
06. GO PAPERLESS -
Have you ever thought about the massive carbon footprint that comes with the old fashioned way of mailing things? Think about how far an envelope has traveled to get to your home mailbox when it could have simply been received instantly via e-mail. Now a days, most companies have paperless enrollment options where you can manage everything online.
07. WALK, BIKE, CARPOOL -
Save money, Spend calories.
08. WASH PRODUCE IN A BIG BOWL -
This method lets you wash larger amounts of produce with smaller amounts of water. Let the produce soak as long, or little, as you'd like without using any extra water.
09. INVEST IN REUSEABLE UTENSILS -
Single use plastic is so out of style (actually, it was never in style). I never leave the house without my favorite bamboo set in my bag. You can get your own pair here.
10. STOP BUYING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES -
Check out hydroflask for all your reuseable goodness needs.
11. TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS -
An average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes, you can cut your water use by 10 gallons.
12. BUY SECONDHAND CLOTHES -
Let’s imagine a new cotton shirt. It started out in a cotton field that was likely treated with large amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and energy during its cultivation. Cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops, using 16% of all insecticides used for food and fiber production globally. The material was then woven into the shirt, and dyed using large amounts of energy, water, and potentially toxic dyes. There are greenhouse gases being used during this whole process and then even more during transportation to the store. A study published in the UK found that a t-shirt produced in India weighing 6 ounces used 700 gallons of water, 0.22 pounds of fertilizers, 0.01 pounds of pesticides, and 1.2 pounds of fossil fuels.
13. STOP USING HARSH CHEMICALS TO CLEAN -
They are toxic to both our bodies, and the environment. Chemicals are polluting the oceans and water sources which end up back in our homes, and in our bodies.
14. DINE IN -
When you dine-in you create less waste by not using single use to-go containers and bags. Better yet, make your own food at home so you know where you food is coming from, and how it was packaged. Store leftovers in glass bowls instead of ziplock bags.
15. TURN OFF LIGHTS AND UNPLUG -
Get in the habit of turning off all lights and electronics when not in use or needed. Unplug to be sure no extra energy is being wasted.
16. SAY NO TO ALL SINGLE USE PLASTIC -
I've said it once and i'll say it again. Every single piece of plastic that was ever made still exists today. Plastic takes 450 years to decompose. It was first introduced in 1907, meaning it's only been just over 110 years and our beaches are already covered in plastic pieces. There is a trash pile floating in the pacific ocean that is twice the size of Texas and contains over 79,000 tons of trash. WHAT THE FUCK.
17. USE CLOTH NAPKINS -
Paper towels are single use and often packaged in plastic when sold. The carbon footprint from paper towels and napkins is larger than you'd realize and not justifiable to only be a single use product.
18. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD -
Choose non-gmo seeds and have an organic garden of your own. Keep it organic by avoiding pesticides and insecticides that not only damage this planet, but also your body. No greenhouse gasses will be included in the transportation from your food to your plate.
19. START A COMPOST PILE TO REDUCE WASTE -
Return old food scraps to the Earth instead of sending them to the landfill.
20. TURN OFF THE TAP WHEN YOU AREN'T USING IT -
In between washing hands, doing dishes, lathering up your hair or body in the shower, even while brushing your teeth! Little changes make big changes eventually.
21. OPEN WINDOWS INSTEAD OF USING A/C -
If possible, open windows and opt for natural breeze. It's free and wastes no natural resources.
22. OPEN BLINDS FOR NATURAL LIGHT -
Ditch the lighbulbs and artificial light whenever possible and opt for natural light.
23. WATCH FILMS -
There are tons of documentaries out there such as Cowspiracy, Bag It, Tapped, and Trashed , (just to name a few) that will educate and inspire you on the importance of mindfulness when it comes to the environment and the decisions we make every single day.
24. REuse, REdUcE, RECYCLE-
Live by these three R's.
25. WASH CLOTHES IN COLD WATER -
90% of the energy used by washing machines goes to heating water.
26. ORGANIZE CLEAN UPS IN YOUR COMMUNITY -
Inspire others to join and do their part to help. When cleaning and picking up plastic, collect the larger pieces first as these eventually break down into millions of more micro plastics that are much harder and sometimes impossible to clean up.
27. BE MINDFUL AND EFFICIENT WITH TRAVEL PLANS -
Travel leaves behind a large carbon footprint. This doesn't mean i'm telling you to stop traveling, but, when I do I try to be as mindful as possible. When I fly across the world, I stay for a few months. I don't take weekend trips to the Bahamas or Greece. I use public transportation. I often walk everywhere or bike. I carpool as much as possible and stay local. I plan routes and always choose options that are least damaging to this planet.
28. SWITCH OVER TO SUSTAINABLE TOOTHBRUSHES -
Over a billion toothbrushes are thrown out a year. Most of them end up in the ocean or landfills. Bamboo is the way to go! You can purchase my favorite bamboo toothbrushes here, and use code "SaveThePlanet" for 10% off your purchase.
29. SUPPORT ECO-FRIENDLY COMPANIES -
“Fast fashion” is all about fast and cheap fashion. Since the clothing is cheap, consumers buy more and use it for a shorter amount of time. This cheap clothing comes with a big cost. Corners are cut by business that focus on this mindset often at the expense of the environment and those working in the clothing factories. If you do buy new clothing, support business that are using sustainable materials and practices. Every dollar you spend is a world you want to see.
And, most importantly:
30. INSPIRE OTHERS! LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
EDUCATE PEOPLE. SPEAK YOUR TRUTH.
You'd be surprised how many people just don't realize the impact they have on the environment. We are all part of a fragile and deeply intertwined ecosystem. Everything we do effects every other life on this planet in one way or another.
It is our responsibility to take care of this planet. We are the one's creating, consuming, and causing imbalance in the flux of all things.
You've heard it before,
and i'll say it again,
E A R T H D A Y I S E V E R Y D A Y