posted on June 24, 2019
Unless you are one of those non-believes, it is no secret that we are currently experiencing a climate emergency. The temperature of our planet is shifting, causing more extreme weather, higher rates of species extinction, and many political debates. Humans are largely to blame for this event, and many of us view it as our job to fix it. But there are also many who believe we can continue this trend of exploitation.
As human beings, we tend to be personally affected by what is happening in the world around us – which includes climate change. It is no surprise then, that climate change is having a detrimental effect on people’s mental health. Check out this article to learn more.
One of the ways that we can feel better about climate changes, is by reducing our carbon foot print, and living a sustainable lifestyle. Reducing the amount of waste that you create, is not only better for the environment, but in most cases, it’s also good for your wallet. There seems to be this perception that consuming in an environmentally friendly way is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Although some products can cost more up-front, they are usually a onetime buy to replace a disposable product.
A great example of this is purchasing a safety razor. You buy it once, and it will last a life time. Of course, you need to buy refills, but these are cheap and recyclable – disposable razors are not, and are made of plastic, which as we know, takes forever to decompose and is filling up our landfills and oceans. I bought a safety razor on amazon for less than $20 bucks and I like it way better than I ever liked using disposable razors. I wish I had known about this sooner, but once I did, it was an easy decision to make. Whether you are saving your legs or your face, this one is a no brainer.
Next, get yourself a travel mug (that isn’t made out of plastic). This is based on the assumption that you consume hot beverages. If not, feel free to proceed to the next paragraph. So many people buy a coffee (or more than one) every single day. That means that each year, you send hundreds of disposable cups to the landfill. You have the power to change that. Most coffee shops even give you a discount if you provide your own cup. If you want to save even more money – make your coffee at home. For some reason people think that this takes forever and is super inconvenient, but it’s really not. I got an awesome travel mug at winners for less that 15$ – I really like it because it has the option to insert a straw for cold beverages, or remove it for hot ones. It’s iced coffee season, so this was a bonus.
One of the easiest things you can do, is take your own reusable bags when you go grocery shopping.. Again – it saves you money, and it prevents plastic from ending up in a whale’s stomach. It’s a no brainer and I can’t believe how many people still use plastic bags when they shop. Take this one step further and get yourself some reusable produce bags too. I have seen research that says cotton bags produce a large carbon foot print and that it is better to use bags made from recycled plastics – keep this in mind!
Buy in bulk. The bulk barn is such a magical place. Take your own containers – jars, Tupperware, whatever and eliminate packaging all together. Bulk food stores have many of the products you might buy from a grocery store but minus the plastic (pasta, spices, baking ingredients, candy, cereal). It also enables you to choose the portion you buy which can help keep food fresh and decrease the amount of food we waste.
If you menstruate, think about the products that you are using. Pads and tampons may be convenient, but are full of plastic and chemicals that leech into our bodies. Disposable menstrual products are also expensive as shit and end up in the trash. There are a number of sustainable alternatives such as cloth pads or menstrual cups that can help you save money and reduce the waste you create. For those of you with little ones, consider switching to cloth diapers.
Switch to alternative cleaning products. Cleaning products, both for personal hygiene and for household cleaning tend to be full of chemicals and plastic (shampoo, laundry detergent, sponges, and dish soap). Use alternatives such as bars of soap that come wrapped in paper, use a dish sponge made from natural products (yes, they exist) and use soap nuts and dryer balls for your laundry. Many of these products can be purchased at the bulk barn, or amazon.
When planning your meals and going grocery shopping, think critically about what you are putting in your body. The meat, dairy and fish industries are some of the largest polluters on our planet and are not being managed responsibly. Around the world, overfishing is destroying ecosystems and the space needed for factory farms are destroying forests. When you chose foods with less packaging, chances are you are also choosing healthier options, with a smaller carbon foot print. Your body, and the environment will thank you.
Boycott products that are not produced sustainably. This includes products that contain palm oil (an industry that is destroying rain forests), products that are produced by exploited labourers, and companies that are contributing to the colonial legacy (are exploiting stolen land for profit).
Be mindful of your carbon footprint. Walk, bike, or ride public transit when you can. Consider where the products you buy come from and how they get to you, and if there are local products available.
To take it one step further, contact your local politicians and let them know that sustainability is important to you, and that you want to protect our environment. Individuals who own businesses, or hold other forms of privilege have even more power to make a difference. For the sake our mental health, our future, and our environment – lets protect our planet.