Sustainable living has been getting heaps of attention and quickly gaining popularity. Finally!! Instead of living in excess and unnecessary overconsumption, we are slowly making the switch to minimalism. If you've been wanting to make some changes in your daily life that can have a positive impact on both your quality of life as well as the environment, these steps can help get you started. And don't worry, we haven't compiled an exhaustive, extensive list, but rather, a few small changes which yield big results.
1. Eat less red meat & dairy
This is a big one and really deserves its own post but here goes. Did you know the cattle industry is one of the leading contributors to climate change? Without going on a lengthy scientific tangent, just know that the production of meat and other dairy products creates a significant amount of greenhouse gases, which in turn affects the ozone layer, global warming, etc.
When you choose to consume less meat and dairy, you are effectively lowering the demand for such products. If enough people make the switch, this can be huge!
And we're not saying go cold turkey, but make a conscious effort to consume less! Switch to fish as a source of protein for a few meals; even though overfishing is another problem altogether, it is not nearly as devastating to the planet as the meat industry. So say yes to Meatless Mondays...and maybe Wednesdays and Fridays too! Who knows, maybe there's going to be a blog post about some yummy meatless recipes coming out soon :)
2. More local and seasonal food
On the topic of yummy food, let's talk those colorful fruits and veggies (because not all produce is created equal). When you purchase produce from large companies and chains, you are, unfortunately, contributing more to overproduction and climate change. There are numerous health, social, and economic benefits to supporting local farmers such as preserving small farmland, creating jobs, and reducing food miles, just to name a few. So opt for a farmer's market instead of the big supermarket next time your fridge is looking bare! Read more about the benefits of buying local foods here.
3. Switch up your beauty routine
Our beauty routine is an integral part of daily lives because who doesn't want to feel good on the inside and look good on the outside? But without meaning to, we sometimes allow sneaky harmful chemicals and an overuse of plastics and waste into our lives! A great first step is to pay attention to labels and purchase products that are vegan, organic, and not tested on animals. Also opt to use less plastic wherever possible! This can be as simple as buying a bar of soap instead of body wash! But the biggest, most important change you can make is to stop using single-use items as part of your beauty routine. Things like disposable razors, cotton swabs, wipes, and plastic tampons are so so wasteful! There are tons of "green" alternatives to these!
4. Buy clothes that are made to last
Fast fashion should not have a place in the future! Period. These clothes are cheap for a reason! They DO NOT LAST and the manufacturer knows this. They know you'll want to buy that $5 tank top because it's so cheap, only to have to buy another, and another, because it shrinks or gets a hole in it after 1 wash! Not only are their clothes made poorly, but they often have factories with dismal working conditions and little to no regulations regarding waste.
Instead, support brands that care about the quality of their clothes, their economic impact, and have ethical standards.
5. Organize a clothes swap with friends
This step to sustainability is actually super fun! If you've ever thrifted or shopped at second-hand retailers like Plato's Closet or Poshmark, you know that someone else's trash is another person's treasure. The same is true for your close friends! Sometimes we shop online and it doesn't fit, sometimes that color we thought really brought out our eyes actually washes us out, sometimes we have great clothes that are literally just collecting dust. Why not donate these threads to the cause in exchange for something "new" to you from your friends? Make a whole night of it! Maybe add a little wine to the mix...?
6. Use water wisely in your home
While most of the Earth is made up of water, drinkable and fresh water remains a limited resource. In fact, a lot of the world's population doesn't have access to clean drinking water, yet developed countries continue to use it in excess. Luckily, there are several easy, small changes you can make to waste less water such as turning off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, defrosting your food in the fridge rather than under running water, washing full laundry loads whenever possible, and sweeping driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them off.
While this list doesn't cover everything, it is definitely a good starting point on the road to sustainability!