Pro-active Advice on How to Save the Planet
April? Already? I’m convinced time moves faster when you have kids. Somehow a quarter of the year has flown by and (in New Zealand) we’re holding onto the final warm nights as the weather shifts to colder, darker days.
As we gear up for more time indoors, I want to reflect on my intentions I wrote at the beginning of the year focusing this post on ways to save the planet. Eco-activism is everywhere, at least on my social media thanks algorithm-based content. However, if it’s not in front of you, it should be. The damage to our planet is painfully obvious; from surfers wading through plastic as they try to catch a wave to detrimental forest fires swallowing up homes, the evidence is right in front of us and it is only going to get worse.
While it can feel hopeless, it is not a time to give up, which is why I’m writing this post. Let’s have the conversation.
1. Change your thought process
Recycling is typically an afterthought. You purchase a drink or food item and you don’t think about it until it’s finished and needs to go somewhere. Sweet, it’s recyclable so you chuck it your bin and don’t think about it again. The problem here is that this thought process is reactive and to save our planet we need to think in pro-active terms. In the last few months, I have made a conscious effort to think about where my purchases will end up. It’s time to start choosing products based on their waste factor. Rather than pasta in a plastic bag, find the pasta in a cardboard box. Grab peanut butter in glass jars rather than plastic ones. Ignore all the plastic bags floating around the produce and use your own or none at all. Shopping with a friend or partner? Influence them to do the same. Fill your shopping carts with reusable or recyclable items and watch your trash output decline.
2. Take action
Grabbing your reusable grocery bags is great, but further action needs to be taken, starting off with your government. Who is leading your community, city or country? The Presidents, Prime Ministers, Mayors, etc of today’s world need to have a strong commitment to climate change and we the people need to hold them accountable for it. Start petitions, sign petitions, attend community clean-ups, call out people who drop trash or who don’t recycle, educate people around you, find flaws in the system and so on. A 16-year old Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg is doing exactly that. It all started with a school strike for the climate which has become a global phenomenon. Using her voice and platform, she is challenging world leaders and calling out those who are filling their pockets with fossil-fuel profits. If you are unsure of where to start, follow Greta, sign up to 350 to find campaigns and projects at a local level and keep having the conversation to encourage others to do the same.
3. Choose a plant-based lifestyle
Meat and dairy companies are on track to overtake the fossil fuel industry as the biggest contributor to climate change. As a proud vegan, I wish I could pull out my magic wand and to enchant the world to go vegan, but I know I’m dreaming. Rather than pushing my scary agenda on all my meat-eating friends and family, I ask you to eat less meat. Start with a meatless Monday or taking it out of your morning meal, just try to minimise your consumption and if you are going to eat it, choose sustainable meat i.e. avoid the fast food and cheap cuts. Add more lentils, quinoa, beans, leafy greens to your diet. Eat the rainbow, filling your plate with fresh, whole foods. Not only will you help our environment, but you will also improve your own health.
4. Question where your clothes come from
This is one I’m working on and living with an eco-warrior (Carmen Huter), I am constantly thinking about my wardrobe purchases. Although I rarely spend money on clothes and accessories, I am making a conscious effort to choosing products that are ethically made. I understand that ethical brands are drastically more expensive than your H&Ms and Primarks, however, these clothes are made to last. Not only will they last, but they are also made from individuals who receive fair wages and made of materials that won’t harm the environment. For those who don’t understand the destruction of cheap clothing, I urge you to watch The True Cost documentary (available on Netflix). If the high prices of ethical clothes are deterring you from making these type of purchases, try second-hand shopping. Visit thrift stores or if you’re like me who doesn’t have the patience to scour through rack after rack, shop online. Apps like Depop allow you to shop your favorite brands at second-hand prices. Another genius idea if your closet needs some fresh pieces and you don’t want to spend the money, is to create a clothes swap with friends. Find a space and invite friends to bring their unwanted items to have a trade. Pour some beverages, munch on some tapas and shop each other’s closets. Whatever is left, donate to your local Women’s Refuge.
5. Choices you should already be making
These small acts might not seem like they’ll save the planet, but times it by a few million and you can understand the impact these daily choices can have on our world.
- Sit in for coffee or bring a keep cup if you are grabbing it to go. Find cafes with cup sharing clubs and question those cafes who still use plastic containers.
- Do you love juices or smoothies on the go? Try this collapsable travel cup fit with a straw (not sponsored).
- Say no to straws or carry your own metal/bamboo straws.
- Use reusable bags for all types of shopping.
- Compost all your food waste.
- Not an option where you live? Find a community compost nearby.
- Carry your own water bottle and use a water filter system at home.
- Ladies, if you haven’t tried a menstrual cup, I highly recommend it. Otherwise choose reusable pads, period underwear or organic cotton tampons.
- I use the Oi cup, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
If you have made it this far, thank you. I hope I’ve influenced you to make better decisions for the planet and I hope it starts a ripple effect for the people that surround you. If you are already doing all these things and more, than I applaude you. Keep it up and spread the message any way you can.
If I have missed something or you would like to share a favorite way to save the planet or eco-friendly brand, please comment below.
Let’s all be more grateful and respectful of this beautiful planet we are so lucky to live on.
All my love,