Happy Earth Day everyone! To celebrate today, I’ve rounded up 30 sustainable ways you can show planet Earth AND yourself some love.
- Walk or bike if you’re commuting a short distance. Or scooter, skateboard, hoverboard, whatever the kids are doing these days.
- Carpool or take public transportation whenever you can. Uberpool counts too.
- Choose a non-stop flight and pack lighter. Both options use less fuel and make you a less stressed out traveler.
- Prepare and pack for zero waste (or at least very close to it) picnics at the park or the beach. Bring reusable containers, serveware, and utensils or just bring food that you can eat with your hands.
- If you’re buying a new car, consider a hybrid or fuel-efficient car. I need to do more research on these cars that can run on vegetable oil? Because what?!
- Compost! Get in the habit of separating your food scraps so that they don’t end up in landfills.
- Eat local food whenever possible. Local food emits less carbon dioxide because it’s traveling less than 100 miles. Conventional food can travel on average 1,500 miles before reaching our plates.
- Participate in #meatlessmonday and be a vegetarian for the day. Depending on the conditions and the cattle, it can take at least 441 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
- When eating out, ask to take your leftovers home. Alternatively, order less at first to avoid having leftovers.
- Invest in glass Tupperware. Ditch the plastic wrap, the Ziploc bags, and yes, the plastic Tupperware that still smell like last month’s eggplant parm. It’s slightly more expensive, but I find them more durable than plastic. Microwaving plastic also freaks me out.
Home and Living
- Switch your lightbulbs to LED lighting. LED lighting uses less energy and lasts even longer than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, which means you can expect a lower electricity bill and you don’t have to buy new lightbulbs every couple of months. Some LED lightbulbs can last up to 10 years! I switched to CREE LED lightbulbs when I moved in more than two years ago and I haven’t switched any lightbulbs since.
- Use cold water to do laundry and line dry whenever you can. Read all about this in my last post.
- Opt out of paper catalogues and tell those companies to get lost. (Just kidding, be nice about it.) You can use https://www.catalogchoice.org/ to help remove your name from unwanted junk mail.
- Tube-free toilet paper. Cloth towels. Cloth napkins. Less. Waste. That’s. All.
- Avoid keeping the air conditioner or heat on when you’re not home in the summer or winter. This saves energy and money on your electric bill. If you have an automated thermostat, set it up to start cooling or heating right before you get home.
- Recycle any types of hard plastic, metal, and paper at home, at work, and in public places. This includes clean aluminum foil (yes, that’s still metal!) plastic forks, spoons, containers, and so many other things.
- Have a reusable water bottle and reusable bag handy to avoid buying plastic water bottles and using plastic bags. Just say no thanks to the extra bag at the store, even if you have to say it twice.
- Unplug appliances and turn off lights when you’re not home or not using them. This is where you catch yourself eyeing that red switch on your power strip and decide to switch it off before you leave.
- Make your own lunch in a reusable container for work to avoid eating frozen entrees and ordering out. This is the easiest way to save your money and not every lunch has to feature a sad sandwich or salad. Also forces you to learn how to adult.
- Unsubscribe from marketing/promotional emails that clutter your inbox. If you haven’t purchased anything from a business in the past three months, unsubscribe and step away from the compulsive shopping that often leads to waste. No joke I had up to 25,000 unread promotional emails at one point. I feel so much better now that I can control my inbox to get down to zero.
- Plant a tree. Or donate money to an environmentally responsible organization you care about. You can plant a tree for just $1. When was the last time you could buy anything for $1? There are tons of resources online you can donate to, but check that the organization is 501c3, which means it’s a nonprofit, tax-exempt, and charitable.
- Teach kids eco-friendly tips and practices. If there are kids in your family, whether they’re your children, brothers or sisters, nieces or nephews, educate them on the importance of being environmentally responsible.
- Volunteer. Give back to your community and help out by getting your hands dirty.
- Do your research before making purchasing. Part of living sustainably is living deliberately. Support local farms, artisans, and businesses especially if they’re transparent about their business model.
- Calculate your carbon footprint, reduce it to the smallest you can, and offset the rest. There are a ton of carbon offset projects, but basically this means that you pay an amount to neutralize your carbon footprint. The money goes toward projects that reduce emissions like solar energy and wind farms.
The word “sustainable” stems beyond the environment for me. I think it’s important that we also make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and have enough energy and resources to live a balanced life. In addition to taking care of the planet, reward yourself with these self-care tips below.
- Take time out for yourself, whatever that means to you. Finishing up that novel, binge-watching a Netflix show, or having a face mask-bath soak-candlelit-pizza night, do whatever makes you feel at peace.
- Do something new. Whether that’s taking a new fitness class or checking off something on your adventure list, doing something new can open your mind and take you out of a rut. Learning a new skill, appreciating yourself, or even taking the time out to focus on one thing for an hour are all benefits of trying something for the first time.
- Eat something that makes you feel good. If you feel like you’ve been eating nothing but take-out or junk for the past week, make yourself a healthy meal. If you feel like you’ve been eating healthy all week, treat yourself to something indulgent.
- Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Never underestimate the power of a new and refreshing conversation with an old friend.
- Support someone you care about. Doing something nice for someone else is a good way to get out of your own head and be present. I think social media makes it easy to express support, but a big part of life is just showing up and nothing can replace physically supporting your friends and family.