When I hear things like ‘unless we fix the way the people are polluting our Earth and the Ozone in the next 20 years, we are doomed.’…that kinda freaks me out. It makes me want to do everything I can do to help superhero the sh*t out of the problem, but the problem seems so big that it can be hard to even know where to start.
At first I found myself wondering if my opting out of the straw for my iced-coffee everyday would really make a difference. With blind faith, I have continued to make even the smallest of changes like this, every opportunity I can. If I forget my reusable bags, I juggle all of the items for my buddha bowl to the car without a bag, because I can’t get the image of the whale chasing a plastic bag out of my head in that documentary A Plastic Ocean.
Then it hit me the other day that being more eco-aware is doing something. The desire to reduce my carbon footprint and live more green…is a mindset, just like having a fitness mindset. When I go to the gym, and have a fitness goal in mind, I am hyper-aware of all of the foods I am consuming, the consequences of my eating choices, the time sacrificed to workout everyday to meet my goals, etc. Just like creating a fitness plan, if we consciously choose to become more aware of our habits when it comes to sustainability, we can start being more aware of our buying habits, and little by little, things will change and our small changes like using reusable grocery bags will start to become bigger changes, like buying an electric car.
We are lucky these days, I have found that the more I bring my awareness to look for the organic, fair-trade, and eco-aware products…the more I find them, and they are stylish to boot! Just taking those few extra moments to step out of our usual buying habits is all it really takes . While eco-friendly options may cost a little bit more, it is totally worth the money…I mean, do you want someone to genetically alter your tomatoes and then douse them in pesticides…or do you want to pay someone the extra .45 cents to hand water, weed and care for your tomatoes without toxic chemicals? I have found this to be true in many cases from my refrigerator to my closet. Instead of getting sticker shock, I take a step back and ask why it costs that much. I have come to truly cherish my my organic buddha bowls, and my fair-trade plain white t’s, my options might seem limited to some, but they are my way of living a life of luxury.
I have talked to a lot of my friends about attempting to live more sustainably, and found many of them really care about the Earth, want to reduce their own carbon footprint, and are doing the best they can, but doubt that they really can make a difference and/or have no clue where to start…I mean their eyes start to glaze over when I mention the idea of saying goodbye to all of the brands they love. So today, in an effort to help spark some inspiration for ways you truly can make a difference, I want to share 5 immediate changes you can make to start living more sustainably, right now!
5 WAYS TO START LIVING SUSTAINABLY, RIGHT NOW
STOP USING SINGLE USE PLASTIC WHENEVER YOU CAN >>START USING REUSABLE OPTIONS LIKE GLASS!
Start with your grocery bags! Switch out for reusable grocery bags that you keep in the car. Get cute ones and make it fun! Sustainability can be super stylish if you have fun with it! My favorite bags are the net ones because they are deceivingly spacious and I love their minimalistic vibes! Another easy switch? Get a reusable coffee cup! If you love coffee (or tea, or water) as much as I do then you are constantly running around with your favorite bevy in hand…that is 365 plastic cups if you drink one a day!
From there I have seen some bloggers out there like @aplasticfreemermaid or @trashisfortossers get super creative and manage to live 100% plastic free! Looking for some Zero Waste Inspo? Check out their accounts on IG too! These are #goals for sure, but don’t let their commitment make you feel an less in your journey. Everyone has to start somewhere, even them.
STOP BUYING SYNTHETIC CLOTHING >> START BUYING ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE, AND ECO-FRIENDLY BRANDS!
I never said this was going to be easy…but this one is important and it is my biggest focus for the year! My mom would always go on and on about how I should buy organic cotton clothing because it lets my skin breathe. Turns out, mom was right…again. You might like polyester for the price tag, but you might think twice if I told you that it is not only created with toxic chemicals, but because it is synthetic, it also traps odors and bacteria close to your body because plastic doesn’t really absorb all that well, go figure. Not only that, but every time you wash synthetic clothing it is sending millions of micro-plastics into our waters (read more here), think about that next time you are ordering sushi. So next time you are looking for something to add to your wardrobe, remember this blog post and put down the $5 t-shirt, and remember it is only cheap because they are basically charging you $5 to give you cancer and destroy the planet. #byefelicia
Looking for an affordable place to start filling your wardrobe with stylish and organic threads? Try the brand new H&M Conscious collection and their brand new Conscious Exclusive Collection which is like the sustainable version of if H&M and Zara had a baby, the clothes are every street style and bohemian lovers dream! They have such cute options made of organic and sustainably made fabrics, plus you can even take in your old threads to H&M to recycle them, and get 15% off your next purchase! Another great option is to go thrifting. Not only are you choosing not to shop fast fashion, you are preventing perfectly good clothing from ending up in a landfill so you are doing double duty good deeds! Trust me, if you have an eye for style, thrift stores are absolute goldmines! The other day I found a brand new WAYF dress for only $8 at the DI, and it retails for $100!
STOP USING TOXIC CHEMICALS ON YOUR FACE >> START SWITCHING TO NON TOXIC MAKE-UP BRANDS!
It is a really exciting time in the beauty industry. Words like cruelty-free and non-toxic are no longer a board room joke or something brands can roll their eyes at. With a growing list of brands like Urban Decay, NYX, Dr. Dennis Gross, Herbivore, Savvy Minerals, and Pixi by Petra to name a few, all making the transition into cruelty-free beauty easier than ever, many makeup artists and beauty bloggers are making the switch to clean beauty, and encouraging their communities to do the same. Sephora even recently created the ‘Clean at Sephora’ program where clean beauty brands can receive a little green leaf endorsement stamp next to their products making it easy for shoppers to locate non-toxic beauty brands. Ladies…switching out to non-toxic beauty brands is such an important switch to make (I made it at the beginning of 2018 and haven’t looked back). So many cheap drugstore brands, and even some high end designer brands create make-up that is less expensive to buy and/or make so they can pass that savings on to the consumer. But in reality, these brands are using thousands of harmful chemicals, parabens to make the shelf life of their products longer, and covering it all up with fruity smelling fragrances so you won’t notice…but the products are Britney Spears level T-O-X-I-C! Huge cosmetic companies get away with it because of loopholes in legislation, and things like fragrances aren’t even regulated!
Another issue to consider is the amount of plastic pollution that comes from cosmetics in general! All of the packaging our makeup comes in, the packaging our makeup is in, and the plastics used to make our products….the ocean is literally turning into plastic. So…switching to non-toxic beauty brands is such an easy and immediate way to limit the damage we are doing to ourselves and the environment. Some brands Clean Beauty brands like SavvyMinerals by the essential oil company Young Living even talk about how their makeup is so clean, you could eat it! Not sure where the brands you are using measure up? Try apps like Think Dirty and Good On You, they will steer you in the right direction! xx
STOP EATING FAST FOOD (ESPECIALLY BEEF) >> START COOKING AT HOME!
If you have seen Before the Flood whether it was for Leo, or to get more information about the current state of climate change, then you already know that cows are kind of a big deal when it comes to global warming. Not only do they take up a lot of space (like 70% of all food production land in the US), but they fart a lot…and those farts (aka methane gas), are essentially 20% worse than carbon gas (coal). So…basically instead of planting more trees which create oxygen and shade, or crops that will nourish and feed neighboring towns and cities…we are cutting our forests down to make more room for genetically modified cows that are farting us into climate crisis, only so we can kill them later and truck them to fast food joints, which just causes even more pollution. First off…no hamburger or filet mignon tastes that good.
Secondly, lets take a page out of our our French friends books, and stop with the flash frozen food, and actually start taking time to make yummy dinners, they don’t have to take long, here are some of my favorite options in a blog I wrote with True Food Kitchen. Find ways to make an experience out of it. I love how my mom and dad have a little table with a table cloth and candle that they eat their dinner at every night. Perhaps even take the time to get up early on Saturdays and hit the farmers market for some fresh produce. Either way, with grocery delivery and options like Hello, Fresh, there is really no excuse to make the commitment to meal prep or cook at home, and say goodbye to fast food! Trust me this is the kind of switch that your wallet, waistline and planet will thank you for. If you need some extra help with meal prep here are some more easy recipes for you!
STOP THROWING THINGS AWAY THAT ARE RECYCLABLE >> AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, START RECYCLING!!!
Would you believe me if I told you that over HALF of the sh*t the average American person throws away is actually recyclable?! OVER HALF!!! The worst part is that 87% of Americans have access to curbside recycling! It BLOWS MY MIND! Like…how can you just not recycle?! Why?!! I was talking to my mom about this one day after eating at Whole Foods, and she said the recycling bins were kind of intimidating. If you have been to Whole Foods you know what I’m talking about, there are so many options nowadays she was literally afraid that she would mess up and put her stuff in the wrong one, and she had heard you can actually render an entire trash bag unrecyclable, so she just threw everything away. I get it. There are so many rules when it comes to what is and what isn’t recyclable these days. Not sure what to recycle or how to recycle?! No worries, I got you…read this for starters!