THE EARTH IS IMPORTANT.
With Earth Day fast approaching - it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself, “what can I do to help?”
That being said, day after day, we are bombarded by information about how to be more “eco-friendly” or how we can “go green!”
It’s enough to make your head spin.
In this sea of information - how are we supposed to pick out the bits and pieces that are actually useful? How are we supposed to know if the bottle that we’re buying that’s made out of recycled plastic is actually making any change? In the midst of all of this, we’re also in a pandemic, so how are we supposed to make big shifts towards sustainability in our lives, when the modern requirement is one of single-use products and plastic galore?
Rather than putting your life through an eco-friendly overhaul, here are a few small tips and tricks on how to celebrate the planet:
Use up your beauty products!
This may sound like the most simple thing in the world - but trust me, the amount of waste that the beauty industry produces is mind blowing. You don’t have to stop using makeup or skin-care products, but just try to be mindful about how much you are purchasing, and making sure you are using up what you have before it expires or you buy a new one. All of those tiny plastic tubes and packages add up at the end of the day - and hey, if you’re trying extra hard in this department, try buying from beauty brands that are ethically sourced (i.e. don’t use palm oil) or use mostly recycled packaging. As always, baby steps add up. Even tiny decisions that you make can help to impact the world of consumer waste.
Adopt a more plant-based diet.
SCARY- I know. Don’t worry, I’m not saying you have to cut out cheese and meat permanently forever and ever, I’m just saying that you should try to incorporate some more plant-based options into your life. “Vegan” is a word with a lot of weight to it (I should know, I’ve been vegan for upwards of 6 years now) and the visceral reactions people have upon hearing it are startling sometimes. You don’t have to quit animal products cold-turkey (pun intended), but you can try and have meatless Mondays, or maybe try getting almond milk in your coffee instead of dairy milk. Animal sourced food products have giant footprints - which makes sense if you think about it. Rather than eating the plant itself, you are eating something else that ate the plant first, and energy is lost along the way. Not to mention the feed, water, and land space that animal agriculture takes up. Make a jump towards experimenting with more vegetarian and dairy-free options and see how you feel! (PSA - there are a TON of junk food options for vegetarians and vegans, so don’t worry, I’m not putting you on a health kick here).
Try reusable products in your home/dorm room.
Even though you can’t bring your own cup into coffee shops or your own grocery bags into stores, you can still work to be more sustainable in your living space. Try reusable cloths instead of paper towels, or even reusable dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Do you use a ton of parchment paper when baking? Try looking into using silicone mats instead! Are plastic bags your go-to food storage option? Tupperware and other food storage containers can cut down a lot of waste if you use them long-term. Do a bit of research and see if any product companies have a “go green” statement on their website - or a plan on how to diminish their own waste output. It feels good to support companies that are at least trying to make some amount of change.
These are only three small things that you can try to incorporate into your day to day life, but trust me when I say that there are many more tiny acts of environmentalism out there that you can try and do.
Even though we selectively say “Earth Day” to draw attention to our planet on one day of the year - the mentality of living to better the environment should exist year-round. The media coverage of Earth Day tends to be a good slurry of both positive and cute messages and extremely depressing statements of doom and destruction - but at the end of the day all you can do is your best. No matter what you do to take a turn in the direction of becoming eco-friendly, you are doing the right thing.
The planet we live on is pretty amazing if you think about it - and we should try our best to preserve the best parts of it for as long as we can.