6 Practical Steps Toward Sustainable Living

6 Simple Steps To Sustainable Living That Can Save Both You And The Sea Turtles

These six steps will have you on a journey to sustainable living in no time!

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Sustainable living is all the rage right now. Everywhere we look people are ditching single-use plastics and fast fashion. Why? To cut a long story short, the idea behind this movement is to promote the care and well-being of the earth and its inhabitants. That seems easy enough, right? The hard part is knowing how and where to start. These steps will help you navigate the start of your journey toward sustainable living in six meaningful and practical ways.

1. Become a conscious consumer

Brianna Elizabeth

Are you passionate about the care and keeping of earth and its inhabitants? Do you want to improve working conditions for people in low-income countries? Would you love it if your everyday products actually served to benefit your health? If your answer to any of these questions was "yes," then come sit by me! Being a conscious consumer means that you know where your products come from, how they were crafted, and what their impact is on the environment.

I firmly believe that real change begins within, so before trying any of the following steps take some time to decide why sustainability is important to you. A great place to start is by researching your favorite companies' ethics and integrity reports and deciding whether or not they align with your value system. You can also find tons of documentaries that explain the significance of sustainability in entertaining ways!

2. Ditch single-use plastics

Brianna Elizabeth

We live in a throw-away society where we see everything from to-go boxes to relationships as disposable. This perspective is doing us all a lot more harm than good. One of the most important steps toward transitioning into a low-waste and sustainable lifestyle is ditching single-use plastics. Recycling is not the answer anymore. A lot of the plastics we recycle still end up in the ocean. Although, it still is better to recycle single-use plastic than send it to a landfill. So what can we do about that? Swap plastic out for glass, bamboo, or stainless steel whenever you can. There is a huge market for plastic-free products available, so dig in (consciously)! Bamboo travel cutlery, reusable travel mugs, and nondisposable to-go boxes are great products to start with.

3. Switch to home-crafted products

Brianna Elizabeth

I absolutely love DIY! I also like being able to trust that my products come from organizations that truly care about humanity and environmentalism. Shopping locally or from Eco-friendly companies is a great way to switch from generic brands that are often harmful to the earth and our health. I personally use a shampoo bar from Apple Valley Natural Soaps, homemade bentonite clay toothpowder, and DIY body scrub from used coffee grounds! If that seems a little too hippie-dippie for your taste try starting with something a bit more basic, such as buying products in bulk or making your own household cleaners.

4. Reduce your meat consumption

Brianna Elizabeth

Most of us have no idea how much water and energy go into producing a single pound of meat. Hint: it's a lot. Yes, protein is an important part of our diet, but meat is not the only source of protein for consumption. This is not me telling you that you have to be vegan to live a sustainably minded lifestyle. All I'm saying is you should research the actual health and environmental issues that surround eating meat, and decide whether or not the daily strip of bacon still fits into the vision you have for your life.

5. Donate to reputable organizations

Brianna Elizabeth

Our everyday habits truly impact the world around us. However, ditching plastic, buying ethically sourced products, and reducing our meat consumption simply isn't enough. The most important way to ensure positive change is to donate to organizations that are dedicated to promoting sustainability. Think of organizations that fight to improve working conditions and better environmental standards, and choose to donate toward their work every once in a while. If you're not sure where to donate, try the Global Fund for Children. If you would rather shop for a good cause, try Live Fashionable or the Package Free Shop.

6. Have grace for yourself

Brianna Elizabeth

Try to reduce your consumption by shopping less frequently, buying long-lasting and secondhand items, and borrowing what you don't have from friends and neighbors whenever you can. Attempt to reuse things for as long as possible, and fix objects when they break instead of just throwing them away. Finally, recycle when you can't reduce or reuse. At the end of the day, have grace for yourself. Remember that you are not going to save the planet singlehandedly, and remind yourself how awesome it is that you're doing your part to make the planet a greener place for everyone.

Congratulations! You're now on your way to a sustainable start!

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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5 Small Things You Can Do That Make Big Changes For Earth Day

Reduce, reuse, recycle, repeat.

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Back in the seventies, Earth Day was a major push for environmental awareness and responsibility took the scale of a national emergency. Companies and factories were pumping out products with no regard to the damages that came with it. Oil spills, toxic waste, landfills, sewage, pesticides, wildlife habitats destroyed and species on the brink of extinction, the carbon footprint trail got longer and longer. To make sure we are not overstepping Mother Nature today, here are five small things we can do for the environment.

1. Use alternate transportation.

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Instead of driving to work, consider walking or riding a bike. No gas emissions harm the atmosphere and you will get some exercise out of it. If you cannot avoid using a car, try carpooling with friends and coworkers or take a ride with Lyft or Uber. Public transportation is still readily available too. Cut back on using a car that uses gasoline and use an electric vehicle in its place, like a scooter. An electric output will cause less damage when compared to gaseous output as well. Or sport a pair of roller skates; nothing says "seventies" like a couple of four-wheeled boots!

2. Use less of anything excess.

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America is known for its excess. If gluttony was an export, no one would be importing it but the United States. To make sure you are not guilty of using more than you need, start with the necessities. Water does not need to be running while you brush your teeth or shave. The same goes for showers; long, hot showers feel nice but a faster shower means a less frequent water bill. Buying takeout or cooking your own meals can lead to leftovers. Limit the number of times you eat out and cook out as well as ration certain portions. Save this food in the refrigerator and make another meal or smaller meals on the go with it for later. Unplug chargers to avoid wasting electricity. If there are clothes you have not worn in years, donate them to someone who will wear them for an even longer time.

3. Garden your own greenery.

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Planting your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to start your own healthy farm to table eating. Plan when you will grow certain foods and pick and cook with them when their fresh and ripe for picking. This will also save you trips to the grocery store. Different seasons mean different foods, so you will always have some variety to look forward to on your plate. Plant a bed of flowers to give add more colors to your garden too. More plants mean more oxygen for you, more pollination for the bees, and more renewable resources from the environment's natural soil.

4. Live the analog life.

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How we use the environment is just as important as how we reuse it. Enjoy what the fruits of your labor with some outdoor activities like a picnic or yoga. Attend local and community events that are proponents for mindful and eco-friendly ways of living. Write a letter instead of texting your grandma on Facebook. Watch a concert or go to a game live and in-person instead of live on pay-per-view. Read a book and not an e-book. Used the sun and not a tanning bed to get that golden brown skin you are after. The environment will be good for you if you are good to it.

5. Donate to your local green movements and programs.

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Supporting all the green thumbs out there will guarantee your conservation efforts are met and reproduced for future generations. Every living thing plays a vital role in our ecosystem, from the land to the sea to the air we breathe. It is all connected and we have to stay connected in the environments we share. If there is not a Go Green Initiative in your town or city, start one of your own in your community. Volunteer and give back to the environment in any way you can that cultivates a budding and thriving place to live in and with.

There is one you and one planet we all live on, so respect and replenish both, for you and for everyone.

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