Tips for Earth Conscious Living in 2019
Climate change is an overwhelming topic that, for many, feels far-off, as if its effects won’t impact our daily lives. While living in quiet suburbia, bustling cities, or rural places, it’s easy to get caught up in our days’ ins and outs and feel removed from a crisis happening elsewhere or that we should be doing something about it. However, the truth is that climate change is already affecting quiet suburbia, bustling cities, and rural places. We see that in wildfires that wreak havoc on neighborhoods, rising seas that impact coastal metropolises, and stronger storms that know no boundaries. There are also ripple effects in immigration, human health, economy, and national security.
In this vain, living a more earth conscious lifestyle is important to begin shifting the narrative of climate action. For example, access to computers and smart phones were once ideas that seemed far-fetched or unrealistic. Today, over 3.8 billion people have access to the internet and life without smart phones seems foreign. While using a stainless steel straw won’t solve the problem of climate change, it’s a step in demanding cleaner solutions and decreasing consumption of “dirty” consumer goods. With reduced demand for these goods, we use less fossil fuels and energy to produce and transport them, which do directly contribute to climate change.
To begin implementing more earth conscious habits into your lifestyle, use the list below to get started.
On the Go
Carry these items with you and you’ll reduce what goes into landfills and oceans by avoiding single-use plastics.
- Reusable canvas bag for supermarkets and stores
- Reusable coffee mug and water bottle — some coffeeshops give discounts for bringing your own mug.
- Reusable silverware
- Reusable straw
- Tupperware — bringing your own tupperware to a restaurant will prevent from using plastic takeout.
In Your Home
- Wash clothes on cold, it takes less energy than warming water to the hot setting.
- Wax instead of shave. This saves money on razor cartridges and decrease plastic consumption. Afraid of wax? Use electric trimmers and razors in place of plastic.
- Give a crap when using the loo. The water, trees, and energy that go into producing toilet paper and paper towels are intensive, so purchase from companies that produce paper products from recycled materials.
- Purchase secondhand goods. They’re cheaper, in good condition, and not contributing to more products that might later clog landfills. Local consignment shops are a great place to start.
- Get a bamboo toothbrush. This is a tiny, easy step to eliminate plastic from your lifestyle.
- Use soap and shampoo bars and other package-free goods to decrease plastic consumption.
- Purchase sustainable wood products for your home. Illegal deforestation is a problem worldwide. Ask where your wood products are from before buying. If it can’t be traced to a legal source, it might be in violation of the EUTR or US Federal Law.
- Get a hybrid or electric vehicle next time you’re in the market for a car.
- Get an HFC free refrigerator for your home. HFCs are greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and aerosols. They’re more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide, so upgrade to better alternatives when you’re able.
- Install solar panels outside your home. Some regions offer tax subsidies for homes that do this.
Food and Drink
- Eat less or no meat. We can reduce our individual carbon footprints by eliminating meat from our diets. Here’s a helpful guide as you make your transition.
- Drink coffee! But be aware of where it’s coming from. Look for brands that are certified as good for the planet.
- Eat sustainable seafood. Not ready to go vegetarian or vegan? Choose local, sustainable options that can be traced back to the source.
- Be aware of what you’re consuming. Palm oil, used in foods and cosmetics, is a controversial commodity. Though difficult to avoid, look at the ingredients lists of your grocery store selections.
- Use a bike, carpool, or mass transit to decrease fossil fuel use.
- What’s your employer’s sustainability plan? Get up to speed on your employer’s efforts. If it’s not doing enough, ask why and see if you can encourage more action.
- Vote. Vote for candidates who include climate change in their agenda.
- Donate to organizations that lobby on behalf of climate action.
- Support businesses that are committed to supporting the health of our planet.
- Volunteer with organizations keeping our natural places clean.
- Think differently. Before making a purchase or eating a meal, ask yourself if there’s a better way to achieve the same outcome.
It’s important to note these lists are non-exhaustive — there are many other actions you can take. We all wield a lot of power, from choosing where to spend our money to the influence we hold in our jobs, families, and friend circles. So let’s make a healthier planet together. Every effort counts.