Earth Day has just passed by in April, and this month we celebrate World Environment Day. Although it can seem like these name days come and go with no real change being made, they play a key role in getting people to see the impact each of us have on the planet. They also encourage us to expand our knowledge on how best to go forward in life whilst making the least harm possible.
It would be hard to live a minimalist, waste-free, plastic-free, vegan lifestyle – right? In reality, nobody is asking anyone to go the whole nine yards. Because standing up for the Earth is not about perfection. It’s about trying. So here I have a list of 5 easy ways you can help the environment that’s not overwhelming in the least. Yet can make a huge difference if everyone does them.
“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.”David Attenborough
1. Switch from environmentally-destructive chemicals to natural products
One of the easiest things to do nowadays is make a switch in the type of household products we use. There are many eco-friendly options to choose from, or you can even make your own cleaning products instead of using harmful chemicals.
As a whole, we are are not mindful enough of where these chemicals go after cleaning our homes/bodies/clothes. Down the drain, flushed down the toilet, chucked outside. In all of these scenarios, the chemicals eventually end up in our waterways and polluting the sea, or in dumps and seeping into the land. Creating havoc for biodiversity and innocent creatures’ habitats.
I stopped using chemicals a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. Off the top of my head, these are what I now look for: natural, re-fillable dish-washing soap, natural and microplastic-free toothpaste, soap bars, natural and cruelty-free laundry detergent, and I avoid fabric softener all together.
Using Google and Pinterest, or even Instagram accounts dedicated to this cause, will be useful in helping individuals reduce the amount of chemicals they use. Search for a natural, easy-to-make cleaning product, and you will find one. Help the environment by doing some (quick) research and putting a little effort into it.
2. Use eco-friendly alternatives to plastic
This one is similar to the first point, and just as easy. As well as switching chemicals in our homes and going natural in that regard, we should be concentrating on ditching the plastic stuff too. That is; bottles, toothbrushes, bags, food packaging, straws, cotton buds, razors etc.
Bamboo and hemp are making waves in this area. And in most places, they are an accessible alternative to single-use plastic.
This is such a great way to reduce waste and harm on the environment. You can read this article from WWF for more info on 10 of the worst single-use plastics and eco-friendly alternatives.
3. Focus on where your money is going, is it destroying or helping the environment?
This is something I have only recently started thinking about as I’m not a money-driven person and don’t spend a lot of time pondering over businesses/investments/banks. However, this is such an important point to make. We should all look a little closer to what exactly our money is going towards. Because you could be funding oil corporations, animal-cruelty, weaponry, and other Earth-destroying companies. Yes, really.
Three questions to ask yourself here is: Are you investing with banks and corporations that put your $$ into harming the planet? Are you buying from businesses that ruin the environment on a daily basis? And most importantly, what are you going to do about it?
Contributing to all the nasty stuff that goes on on the planet was a big no-no for me. Which is why I have my money invested with an ethical, eco-conscious provider – Pathfinder (not an ad – just trying to make people aware that there are alternatives to the mainstream schemes). Doing your research on this, and following through in switching investments will be a big win for the environment.
Of course, it’s not just about who holds your money and where they put it. But where do you spend it? Big brands that exploit nature, people and animals? Again, the solution here is research, and a change of mindset. Instead of going for what is convenient, think of what is right.
4. Stop falling for fast fashion
Following from that point of choosing what is right over what is convenient, we all could do with applying that to our wardrobe choices. The fashion industry is one of the worst in the world for negatively impacting the Earth, and yet many of us still buy into it. Because it’s cheap, and it’s easy.
To make a real difference, we should choose pieces that will last, made from natural fibres and that somehow give back to the earth.
There are many brands out there who make sustainable clothes, and are trying to get this message out. Buying from them will help the environment. And it will help our wardrobe! This article lists just some of the good ethical fashion companies around (in Australia and NZ, but it also links to lists for other countries at the top so you don’t have to look far). This is a good guide as well.
Although clothing is more expensive this way, it makes you appreciate the pieces. It also makes you think twice about wanting it or seeing it as a passing trend. I am so tired of these “Shein haul” videos, and just wish people would think about the impact they are having on the environment through their choices.
5. Cut down on meat = caring for the planet
This one can be a bit of a touchy subject can’t it? This isn’t about judging the way society eats, but rather, informing people of the effects of consuming animals as food.
There are many reasons to cut down, if not completely remove, meat and dairy from our diet. Some of those reasons include: the amount of water that is used and wasted, the fact that fishing is destroying the oceans, animal agriculture is accelerating deforestation, as well as polluting the air and aiding climate change, and it exploits animals who contribute to the ecosystem.
It is a hard habit to change so slow and steady is still better than not at all! The main environmental benefits of cutting down on meats are outlined here if you’re interested in reading more into it. Again, research is key. Information is everywhere, you’ve just got to be open to receive it.
Bonus way you can help the environment: use your voice!
We can all decide to take it as our responsibility to be better and do better for our Earth. Let’s help others make these small changes. Be an activist if you can. If anything is worth fighting for, it’s our home.
What are your long term plans to help the environment, and the Earth we live on?
Until Next Time,