12 SIMPLE STEPS
Everywhere we go and everything we do has an impact on our planet. We call that our footprint. Rethinking what we eat, drink, wear, use on our bodies and how we commute and travel can all reduce the strain on our planet’s limited natural resources.
Collectively, the United States produces around 254 million tons of waste annually – that could cover Texas, TWICE! While our trash is taken out, those discarded coffee cups, packages, and food waste never really goes ‘away,’ it’s only take out of sight and out of mind, encouraging us to continue consuming single-use items.
This is exactly what is sounds like — dedicate one day a week to plant-based eating. The U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) attributes 14.5% of global emissions to the world’s livestock farms. Not to mention, reducing your meat consumption isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also great for your health because 80% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for livestock! Hamburger with a side of oxytetracycline? Hmm… we’ll pass.
Why organic? At the most basic level, organic means that a product was produced without harm to soil, water, air, humans and all species (like honeybees!)–– promoting ecological health and biodiversity. Buying certified organic also means you’re supporting farmers and businesses that are placing human and environmental health before profit.
No governing body, not even the FDA, conducts pre-market safety testing on the ingredients in our personal care products. If you’re wondering how your conditioner promises silky hair and your deodorant pledges 18 hour staying power, the answer is those unregulated chemicals. Our skin absorbs 60% of EVERYTHING we put on it. We have to be our own judges of safety when it comes to what we put on our body. Opt for products that are free of toxic ingredients and hold themselves to higher standards than the FDA.
To take care of the planet, you must take care of yourself. Making wellness a part of your lifestyle helps to guarantee that you have the energy and stamina to be an effective and enduring changemaker.
Outdoor adventure is endless and scalable to fit whatever mood, season or location you are in. A great way to develop a deep love for our planet is to get outside and savor its beauty.
The economy relies heavily on natural capital assets, yet all too often the economy is still seen as separate from the environment. There is also a common misconception that opting for green products is more expensive than conventional shopping. However, investing in zero waste reusable staples, shopping second hand and stocking up at the farmer’s market are actually much more affordable than their conventional counterparts.
When you look at the products on your grocery shelves, there is little hint of their origin or the number of hands or resources used to get the food from the farm to your shopping cart. Have you ever stopped to think about how it was made, by whom, and under what conditions? Many of the people who had a hand in getting your food to you are not paid a living wage, or working under safe conditions.
Conventional cleaning products are laden with unhealthy chemicals. Cleaning may not be fun, but it’s even worse when the ingredients in your products leave harmful chemical residue in place of dirt and grime. You know it’s not safe to take a swig of that bright blue surface cleaner, but why are we okay to have it covering the space we come into contact with all day?!
Your personal style is an expression of who you are, and your core values. Have you considered how your favorite fashion brands align with your social and political views? The $3 trillion fashion industry is the second most polluting, just behind oil. Did you know there are companies out there revolutionizing textile manufacturing to decrease natural resource use?
You spend about 50% of your life in your bed, not to mention many more hours in your other living spaces. Conventionally grown cotton or synthetics like polyester, increase your exposure to toxins. Though conventional cotton only accounts for 2.4% of the world’s cropland, it is responsible for 24% of global pesticide use.