With devastating forest fires, melting ice caps, extreme temperatures, and unpredictable weather patterns we are all rethinking what we can do to help the environment and be more eco-friendly. Whether you believe in climate change or not, it is in humanities best interest to practice a more sustainable way of living. Here are eight easy steps to help YOU live more eco-friendly and sustainable this year.
- Reduce your meat intake
I am not a vegetarian, and I don’t pretend to be one. However, reducing our consumption of meat has shown to be healthy for our bodies and the planet. You don’t have to cut meat out completely, but why not explore some vegetarian options or try a #meatlessMonday? I find meatless meals can be cheaper and faster to make! With professional athletes, popular restaurants, food companies, and movie stars exploring more and more vegetarian options, now might be the BEST time to give this meatless thing a go!
Single use plastics and other disposable products are still a common part of our society. However, the shift to reusable items has begun. There are so many options to using reusable products now, that we do not have an excuse anymore. With the smallest bit of effort, we can all make reusable products easy and convenient. Stores like The Nickel Refillery in Sudbury, Ontario, Reimagine Co in London, Ontario, and Loop, a TerraCycle company, are exploring new grounds when it comes to zero waste- true trail blazers for our communities. We can all start by just using reusable coffee mugs and water bottles instead of simply accepting the disposable option. Companies are catching on to this, and I am excited to see what initiatives they take in the coming years. Maybe everything will be reusable someday!
- Buy hemp and bamboo products
Hemp and bamboo grow much faster and absorbs much more CO2 than trees do. So many products can be made from hemp and bamboo like paper, clothing, containers, and much more. Hemp and bamboo can also reduce our dependency of pesticides, as they require little to no chemicals, and they can require less water than cotton. Hemp and bamboo can actually help our environment, instead of harm it the way other materials do (cotton, synthetics, tree products). Hemp and bamboo are also a better quality of material! They can be softer and more durable than most other materials
- Be Imperfect
The thought of going completely green, zero waste, or vegan can be very daunting, and make people stop before they start. Instead of being perfectly zero waste, perfectly plastic free, perfectly sustainable, or perfectly vegan… be imperfect. Try. Doing something is better than nothing.
- Ethical/Eco fashion
Have you bought something off Amazon and thought that there was way too much packaging, the clothing was cheap, the item was probably made in a sweatshop, or the item was made in an environmentally harmful way? I know I have! With the magic of the internet, we have a world of great companies to buy products from- some that sell great quality environmentally friendly products! At my online store, we try to reduce the packaging by folding the clothing in a way that protects the more breakable products (hemp T-shirt wrapped around a Zero Waste Captured Carbon Hand Soap). Hemp and bamboo clothing are rapidly growing in popularity and shrinking in costs, which is great for the eco-minded shopper! Shopping local can also help reduce waste, especially if you look for key words, like “ethical”, “hemp”, “bamboo”, “organic cotton”, made in (your country)”, etc. Disposable fashion, that is still in most stores today, in not ecofriendly. Let’s move away from the disposable society. Second hand stores also have great deals and amazing, unique pieces! Take a look, and I am sure you will be impressed!
- Put pressure on companies
The squeaky wheel gets the grease! We have been starting this environmental movement, and companies are taking notice! More and more companies are moving away from single use, towards a more circular economy. However, we are not there yet. We need to keep up the pressure and keep encouraging the companies we support to change for the better. If you aren’t happy with a company’s environmental initiatives, don’t buy from them. If you hear of a company going out of their way to be more environmentally friendly, try to buy their products, or at least like and share some of their social media posts. Advertising isn’t cheap, and if small companies are making the effort to be more environmentally friendly, they likely did so at a large cost, having their marketing budget suffer. Ask restaurants and grocery stores where they get their food, and where their left-overs go. It is amazing how much perfectly good food most restaurants and grocery stores just send to landfill instead of feeding the needy or sending to farms.
- Always be learning and be open to new ideas
There is some amazing new environmental technology, initiatives, and products out there that most people haven’t even heard of. For example, did you know that you can buy jewelry and soap made from Carbon Dioxide that is pulled out of the air? Did you know that algae and certain bacteria can help prevent excess greenhouse gases from entering out atmosphere and clean mining waste ponds? Did you know that Green Hydrogen could be the clean burning fuel of the future? Did you know that molten salt could provide the safe, ecofriendly equivalent of nuclear power plants? Did you know that hemp can clean the air and protect our soils while providing building blocks for multiple billion-dollar industries? So many people and companies are doing so many amazing ecofriendly things, yet they go relatively unnoticed. Research and learn about these cool ecofriendly initiatives, and then share your knowledge!
- Support the little guy who is trying to help the environment
Sometimes, it is difficult for larger companies or corporations to change, even if it is in an environmentally friendly way. Small companies can change, pivot, and adapt quickly. So, when people start demanding more environmentally friendly options, small companies can address this need quickly, and they should be rewarded by that with your business. Try reaching out to a small company and talk to them about their environmental initiatives, or even buy something from them. Every time you buy something from a small business or support them on social media, a real person actually does a happy dance (trust me!).
Thanks for reading! Not everyone can do everything on this list perfectly but trying at something is better than doing nothing, and “We are nothing if we are not open minded”.
Always remember: Innovate, Preserve, and INSPIRE!
Are you looking at ways to be more eco-friendly this year?
Futurama - S01E08 - A Big Piece of Garbage. Watch it, its awesome!