It seems like environmental conservation is a hot topic, now more than ever. With bills like the Green New Deal being discussed in the news, and reports of trash in the ocean being at an all-time high, quoting frightening statistics, we are all left wondering the same thing. What can I do to help?
Some people choose to live a fairly extreme lifestyle of conservation and sustainability, and while that is, of course, ideal, for some of us it’s just not realistic. Making small changes that you can stick to on a regular basis is a great way for most people to experience successful, meaningful, long-term positive change.
1. Ditch Single-use Plastics
The European Parliament just passed a vote to ban some single-use plastics such as cutlery and plastic straws completely. This legislation also calls for the reduction of some single-use plastics, as opposed to a complete ban. The beautiful thing is, the United States doesn’t have to ban single-use plastics for Americans to make a difference. Even if no laws or regulation is passed, we can still help simply by deciding to change on an individual level.
Say no to plastic straws and plastic silverware, single-use plates, and paper towels. These all end up in landfills. If you do need some single-use cutlery or dishes, try using an eco-friendly, sustainable brand that is compostable, like this brand Eco-Products! If a sea creature would accidentally consume one of these items, their body will be able to break it down, unlike plastic, which frequently kills animals in the ocean, from sea turtles to numerous small fish, to massive sharks and whales.
2. Ditch Fast Fashion
The fast fashion industry, who claims big names like Zara and Topshop, is the number 2 leading pollutant in the world, right behind the oil industry. People are purchasing and discarding low-cost, low-quality clothing from these fast fashion brands at a frightening rate. Tons of resources (literally) are being used to create these clothing items, only for them to be discarded in a few short months or years, headed for a landfill or the ocean. Even a vast amount of the clothing items that get donated end up in a landfill.
Instead of buying trendy, low-quality fast fashion items, get back to real fashion! Search for classic, well-made items that you can wear again and again. Find vintage pieces and secondhand clothing at thrift shops. Research fast fashion brands, and stop buying their clothing items. Look great, and save the world!
3. Eat Less Meat
Before you go into a panic, I am not suggesting that you go vegan. I get it, bacon is delicious. The truth is that the average American is consuming too much meat on a weekly basis. This hurts not only the planet, but your body. A really easy way to save your health and your planet is to simply cut back on the number of meals with meat that you consume weekly. If you want some inspiration for delicious vegetarian meals, get some here!
4. Buy Local
Big businesses do a lot of harm to our environment, from manufacturing processes that waste energy and resources, to chemical waste that is sent back into the environment, to the harmful emissions used to ship products across the country and around the world. A really easy and fun way to help save the planet is to buy local! Frequent your local farmers market and boutique, specialty stores. Financially support your neighbors in your community, while saving global energy and other resources!
5. Be mindful
A great way to become more aware of your impact on the planet is to simply stay educated, and be mindful of your lifestyle. If millions or billions of people decide to make a few small, positive lifestyle changes, that would literally change the world. So spread the message! Saving the environment is really important, and so much easier when we all work together.