Help You, Help the World - 7 easy ways toward sustainability in everyday life
Save the Planet! Riiiiiiiiight, but how? You’ve all heard this call to action a million times. This might bring out the fighting spirit in some, yet cause anxiety or confusion in others. The planet does need saving, and there are a million and one ways to do it, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to be a die-hard martyr to make an impact. In the upcoming paragraphs you will get some simple ideas on how you can be your best ethical self and personally save this blue planet.
Buy less, use less, waste less
It’s just that simple. If you’re not THAT hungry, don’t upsize the menu since you won’t eat it all. Maybe the deal is too good to pass up - in this case, save the rest for later. That awesome top is size 4 and you’re an 8? Leave it in the store if you really won’t wear it. Then, as a consumer, you won’t be creating false demand. This is your power as a consumer. Companies don’t know your personal whims, so help them to understand what you need, by only purchasing the goods or services you need. When you do this, companies waste less time and resources creating something that you don’t want; they spend more time making products that are suitable for you, and in the right quantities.
Recycle and upcycle
Most of our purchases can be given a second life. For example, those old jeans can become nice cut-off shorts. The old jam jar can become a cute flower pot. Plus, if you're not interested in using it again you can: donate it, put it in the proper recycling bin, or give it to someone who will appreciate it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Besides, nothing beats that feeling of finding a new home for your once-loved possession.
Simplify your life
If you don’t love it, leave it behind. You might have already heard something like that from Japanese organizational guru, Marie Kondo. It’s surprising how little we actually need. Stuff is nice to have and stuff is luxurious, but stuff collects dust. Chances are, if you haven’t used something in 1 year, you probably don’t need it.
*Incidentally, all the tips mentioned above will also save you money!
Get the facts
Add a sprinkling of facts (from reputable news stations, magazines, articles, websites, etc.) to your daily media intake. Facts don’t have to be dry and boring. A little humor and craftsmanship go a long way. News can also come in the form of comedy, satire or some other engaging format. You have literally millions of options to choose from. Also, podcasts are great for people on the go.
Check the label
Consider the humble food label or clothing tag. They are the height of condensed factual information. On the most basic tag or label you can find the ingredients/materials, care/storage instructions and manufacturing details. But did you know that many labels nowadays have a mark to show if they are made with recycled material, or that the workers were given a fair wage, or that they contain no toxic chemicals, or that animals were not harmed while creating the product, etc? Take your pick of the causes that resonate with you and make a conscious decision to support greener brands.
Become vegan! Kidding! Try out meat-alternatives
A strict plant-based diet is great for some, but a mighty hurdle for others. Instead of taking an all-or-nothing approach, you can start by reducing the amount of meat products consumed on a weekly basis. We’ve come a long way from the tasteless, unimaginative meat-replacement products that sometimes graced the grocery store shelf. Now meat alternatives are increasing in selection, quality, flavor, creativity and availability. Next time you’re shopping, try something new - it may surprise you.
Somehow capitalism has become synonymous with consumerism. We buy more stuff, use them less, then throw them away without a second’s thought. You can change that. As a consumer you have the power. When you know more, you can do better. By taking that extra second to read a label or recycle, you are taking sustainable steps in the right direction. Be your best ethical-self; just do what works best for you and makes you feel good in your soul. If you keep doing what you can, it becomes second nature and nature will get a second chance.