We are hearing more about climate change with each passing day. The daunting messages of the imminent destruction of the planet are being broadcasted on social media, in the news, and by political leaders. Unfortunately, these overwhelming messages are often received negatively. Many people are unsure of what to do, or else they're uncertain about how to go about doing it. Ultimately, my goal is to assure you that there are easy, attainable steps to take to make a difference and that you should be taking those steps.
The climate crisis is not something that should be taken lightly. No action is too small when it comes to the fate of the planet.
In the words of climate justice activist Jill MacIntyre Witt, "We need everyone everywhere doing everything all the time as quickly as possible." Watch her TED talk here.
Reducing your waste is rewarding.
It's human nature to enjoy the accomplishment that comes from setting goals for ourselves. Start simple: buy your flour in bulk or order your coffee in your own reusable mug, and you will realize how easy it is to get into the habit of it. It feels great. You don't have to instantly revert to being an extreme zero waste activist, but starting off simple and making the best choice possible when presented with options will leave you feeling like you're giving back to the planet you inhabit.
The greater the number of consumers making conscious decisions to buy more sustainable products, the greater the influence of big businesses to change their production practices.
As in a previous article, I urge each and every reader to practice "voting with your wallet." This means that if each of us decides not to buy one plastic-wrapped product in favor of a sustainable or local product, the brand manufacturing the plastic-wrapped goods will lose profit and look to see what can be done to increase sales. If they're smart, they'll redesign their mode of production in order to appeal to their customers and cut out the unsustainable elements. All it takes is consumer commitment to opt for sustainable products over cheap or wasteful products. To turn our attention to a current example, check out this article.
A Greenpeace petition signed by over 90,000 people brought to light just how prevalent the discourse about plastic is in society today. This massive support for the movement to reduce plastic packaging in grocery stores urged Trader Joe's to announce their mission to eliminate one million pounds of waste from their stores. So, zero waste shopping at Trader Joe's in the future will be much easier to do, and shopping at their stores will show your support for the work they're doing to protect the environment.
Natural products and foods are so much better for your body than chemical filled products and processed foods. In the same vein, biking or walking instead of driving gets you exercise and reduces pollution.
I'm not here to preach about going vegan or cutting out your favorite meal. But, it's indisputable that cutting out meat from your diet is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. See this article. Start easy: practice meatless Monday's or find a good vegan alternative to your dairy-based yogurt. And on your next trip to a CVS, bike or walk if you can. Get some exercise and remember to bring your own bag!
Investing in well made, sustainable products saves you money in the long run and supports sustainable brands that don’t exploit garment workers or take advantage of cheap labor laws.
We should all try to support local businesses and brands practicing sustainable methods, for more reasons than one. Of course, you should know where your goods are coming from, so check websites or apps like Good On You and Better World Shopper to learn about the impacts of the items you're buying. We truly can transform our society and consumerist practices, but it will take action and conscientiousness.
Of course, there are a million reasons to reduce your waste. Find cause personal to you to inspire and encourage you to do your part in the environmental movement. Your efforts are valid, no matter how small, so start somewhere. Lead by example and before we know it, we can be living in a healthy world with a long future ahead of us.
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