Earth Month starts tomorrow, and there’s never been a better time to kick your green living into gear. These easy sustainability will help you get started.
Climate change is looking pretty grim—we no longer have the luxury of considering sustainability an “option”. Each and every one of us needs to start pulling our weight and pressuring businesses and governments to make rapid, significant shifts if we care about rescuing our planet.
To get you started on the road to personal sustainability, here are a few straightforward ways you can have a major impact on the planet (without much effort)—just in time for Earth Month!
1. Buy less stuff.
Fast fashion is a sustainability nightmare. Buying new clothes every season? Guess what happens when you toss your old clothes out—they get thrown in the landfill. And since many clothes are made with manmade materials like polyester, they likely aren’t biodegradable. Let’s not forget that manufacturing clothing requires a tremendous amount of water resources and chemicals pollutants.
To lessen your impact, shop second hand when you have a craving to go shopping. If you must buy new, invest in high-quality pieces that will last for years to come. It’s time to ditch fast fashion for good.
2. Take it easy on the new smartphones.
It can be tantalizing to go out and buy the latest and greatest tech device as soon as it hits the market, but if you care about sustainability you’re going to want to think twice.
According to the New York Times, “The production of an iPhone 6, for example, released the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, or about as much as burning nine gallons of gas, according to a 2015 study.”
Sure, Apple and other tech companies have become more environmentally conscious since the iPhone 6 launched way back in 2014 (Apple has some particularly cool green initiatives going on), but the most sustainable option is still to keep your current phone for as long as possible.
You don’t really need the latest, shiniest phone, if you have a perfectly fine functioning one. And when it is time to replace your old phone, definitely make sure to recycle it with the manufacturer, so that it doesn’t leach chemicals in a landfill somewhere.
3. Divest from fossil fuels.
Take a peek at your retirement funds or other investments. Are you supporting the fossil fuel industry (and climate change alongside it)? Divesting is becoming a popular (and effective) way to take a stand.
According to a 2018 report, “Today, nearly 1,000 institutional investors with $6.24 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuels, up from $52 billion four years ago—an increase of 11,900 percent.”
It’s not a fringe idea anymore—and it’s sure to make a direct impact on fossil fuel companies. Don’t be afraid to take a real stand.
4. Reduce your use of plastics.
If you’ve been avoiding it, it’s finally time. No more single-use plastics. That means cutting back on plastic straws, single-use flatware, cups and bottles, grocery and produce bags, food wrap and even garbage bags.
It’s relatively easy to find more sustainable alternatives for all these plastic products—whether they’re compostable bio plastics or 100 percent plastic-free. All it requires is a small amount of effort.
5. Support businesses who care about sustainability.
When you buy things, put your money where your mouth is. Find sustainable alternatives for the products you use most, and support the businesses that make them. For instance, instead of buying plastic food wrap a couple times a year, why not invest in parchment paper or reusable (and incredible) Bee’s Wrap?
The more we support green businesses, the more power we gain as consumers to encourage greater sustainability efforts across the board.
Do you have any other easily-adoptable tips for living a sustainable lifestyle? Share them with the community in the comments section below!
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