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For a couple years now I’ve had a dream of buying a home with land and switching to a more natural and sustainable lifestyle. I was tired of seeing the negative impact we have had on our world, and how it has started to affect our own bodies. I started making simple changes towards sustainability, like switching to green cleaning supplies and trying to use natural beauty products, and I was content with the small changes I had made. A few months back I learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from a video on Facebook.The idea of that much trash just sitting in the ocean is heart breaking to me. It has left a weight on my chest that I cant escape and I need to do something about it.
4 Ways To Live More Sustainably
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is a phrase that many of us have heard since we were kids, and it still holds so much importance today. Everything we buy has some sort of impact on the Earth, from the materials used to create it to the packaging that is disposed of afterward. For example, if you buy a twelve pack of soda at the grocery store think all of the materials and waste it took to create it, package it, and ship it out to the store for you to purchase. Before you buy, think about the impact that product is having. Do you really need it? Can it be thrifted? Does it have minimal packaging and can that packaging be recycled? Can it be purchased locally to reduce shipping and support your community?
Pay Attention To Your Food
Agriculture has become one of the largest threats to our world. The way we produce and consume our food is responsible for a large part of the habitat loss, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and pollution our world is facing.(1) Make sure the food you are eating is sustainably produced. Look for Fair Trade certified goods when possible. Visit your local farmer’s market for produce instead of the big name grocery store. Buy shade-grown coffee and sustianably pole-caught tuna. Cut your meat consumption down by one third and watch your serving size to prevent unnecessary waste.
Go Plastic Free
Plastic doesn’t just go away. A plastic bag alone, can take up to 1000 year to decompose.Every year more plastic gets added to our oceans, and every year thousands of seabirds, turtles, and other marine mammals are killed because of this. More than 400 millions tons of plastic are produced each year, with single-use plastics taking up almost 40% of that number. (2) Simple switches to eco-friendly alternatives make it easy to cut down your plastic waste.
- Keep a canvas bag in your car to use as a reusable shopping bag. Having trouble remembering to bring your bag? Throw your wallet into your bag before leaving the house so you wont forget to grab it when you get to the store.
- If you eat out or take a lunch keep a set or two of portable cutlery in your glove box.
- Buy a pack of stainless steel straws instead of the disposable plastic ones. This will also save you money if you’re an avid straw user.
- If you are using a disposable toothbrush, opt for the biodegradable bamboo brushes instead.
- Use sustainable food wraps or reusable sandwich bags when packing lunches.
- Take reusable produce bags with you to the grocery store. (Keep these in your canvas shopping bag so you don’t forget them.)
- Stop buying bottled water. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with filtered water throughout the day. I found that I actually drink more water this way and it saves us tons of money.
When I was going to school for zoology, on the first day of class one of the professors asked us why we were there. Many of us said something along the lines of wanting to work with animals and having an interest in conservation. After everyone shared their reasons he said, “If conservation is your main focus this is not the place for you. If you want to save the earth I urge you to get into politics, not animal management.”
Almost ten years later, those words still stick with me. You have to get involved politically if you want to make in impact. Use your voice and vote for the people who are going to fight for the issues that are important to you, at the local and national level. Urge your representatives to pass stronger policies and fight for better education in these issues in your community. Be involved. Don’t just pass by the people with the clipboards in front of the grocery store, stop and hear what they have to say. Sign petitions, attend events, and invite your friends and family to join you.
I would love to hear your sustainability tips and tricks. Leave me a note in the comments below!
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