Happy Earth Day, one of my very favorite days of the year! If you have been a long time reader, you know that my love for the planet is a core part of who I am. Every year on Earth Day I try to take some time to examine my own habits and see what things I am doing well in regards to green living as well as identify areas that could be improved.
Over this past year my opportunities to travel to some amazing locations have only deepened my love for the beauty our earth has to offer, and make me even more passionate about doing whatever I can to preserve it. I have a few different goals I’m working on this year. First, I am making an effort to reduce my online shopping when the things I need are sold in stores in my area. I’ve been working on this for a few months and am making some progress in this area. Obviously shopping less in general is ideal, but if there are things I need to buy, it makes way more sense for me to make one trip to the mall that has the majority of the stores I would be ordering from anyway and get everything all at once. Yes, it is slightly less convenient, but overall really reduces the carbon footprint of those items I would be purchasing. For me the main reason I tend to avoid stores and the mall specifically is my aversion to crowds, and a strategy I have been using to combat this is to go to the mall 20-30 minutes before closing time on a weeknight. The place is deserted and I am able to hit 3-4 stores in rapid succession.
On a related note, one thing I am continuing to work on is finding more small sustainable/ethical/slow fashion retailers. You may have seen a social media movement this week, known as Fashion Revolution week which intentionally coincides with Earth Day. Surfing the hashtag #whomademyclothes is a great way to find companies with eco-friendly and ethical business practices. The more support this movement gains, the more big retailers will have to address the impact they have on both the environment and their workers. In the same vein, I’m trying to pay attention to items made from organic cotton and/or recycled materials since such a large amount of pesticides go into textile production. This can seem like a daunting thing to tackle but I’m convinced baby steps are the answer. I have started following a handful of ethical fashion blogs and they have been very inspiring in all of these matters. Check out Life+Style+Justice and Dress Well Do Good for some inspiration! And of course, I continue in my venture to make at least some of mine and my kids’ clothes with my own knitting and sewing abilities.
Lastly, I’m paying attention to the decline of bees and other pollinators. Hopefully most people have heard of this issue as it has been gaining publicity in the last few years. This is a hugely important issue that cannot be stressed enough. For a good overview, see this page. I’m looking into various ways to support this cause. My main support will likely be monetary but if anyone has other good suggestions for ways to help save the bees, I would love to hear them.
Finally, here’s my running list of things I already do to provide additional inspiration.
- Use reusable grocery bags (and don’t forget reusable produce bags as well!) No need for plastic. For all those who own reusable bags but forget to bring them to the store, put them back into your car IMMEDIATELY after you unpack the groceries. Then you’ll never be without them.
- Recycle as much as possible.
- Buy local, eat local. Supporting local farms and food providers benefits you, them, and the entire local economy. (Check this site to find farmers markets near you!)
- Find local markets and support them rather than big box supermarkets. In Indy, Wildwood Market, Goose the Market, and Moody Meats are just a few great options that offer all sorts of local goods.
- Cook at home instead of going out to eat. So many benefits – saves money, fuel, reduces waste and packaging, and it’s better for your health!
- When you do eat out, support local restaurants instead of huge chain entities. In particular, seek out eateries that focus on serving local and seasonal fare. It tastes WAY better, and supports the local economy. Win-win!
- On a related note, bring your lunch to school or work instead of buying food. It wastes less packaging, tastes better, and is usually healthier. (My Let’s Do Lunch series was created for this purpose.)
- Make school lunches for your kids. Same idea as above! Follow me on Instagram and check out my hashtag #anniesschoollunches for inspiration.
- Give up paper towels, napkins, and disposable dishes or utensils. Stock up on reusable alternatives – they’ll last you a long time and save money in the long run.
- Don’t use plastic water bottles. Buy a reusable bottle and refill it instead. (And don’t drink other things that come in plastic bottles such as soda or juice – they aren’t good for you anyway.)
- If you do end up with a plastic cup or bottle while out and about and recycling is not easily accessible, don’t just toss the item in the trash because it is convenient. Bring plastic cups, bottles, or other packaging home and recycle them!
- Start a garden and grow your own food. So fun and rewarding! My friend Tara has great gardening info on her blog.
- Can and preserve your own foods so you can buy less processed food and its associated packaging.
- Give up your daily coffee shop trips and brew your own treats at home. (Here are a few things I make at home to avoid the coffee shop.)
- Make your own yogurt and fruit mix-ins to avoid the waste of all those individual yogurt containers.
- Cut down on junk mail by opting out of catalog and coupon mailings. Visit websites of the offending companies and have your address removed from their mailing list. Much better than recycling junk mail is not having the waste created in the first place!
How about some giveaways to celebrate? I think so!
All US Residents:
- Snapware Food Storage Set (2 winners)
- Flip & Tumble Reuseable Produce Bags (3 winners)
- Rume Reusable Grocery Bags (2 winners)
- Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle (3 winners)
Indy residents only: