How You Can Make A Difference This Earth Day
Happy Earth Day! Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re taking a deep breath of fresh air and celebrating the planet that gives us life. This year, we asked some women with a passion for sustainability the big question: what would your advice be to someone who wants to make less of an impact on the earth? This is what we found out.
“Stop buying paper towels and napkins. Buy reusable, washable little towelettes to use instead. Get rid of plastic containers and only use glass ones. Always bring a reusable water bottle with you. Almost every single shop will fill your cup with whatever drink you buy and many also give you a discount because you aren’t purchasing their cup. Always try to bring reusable bags when going grocery shopping.”
“One simple way to incorporate more sustainable lifestyle habits is to pay attention to your plastic consumption. How many plastic bags do you end up bringing home when you go shopping throughout the month? You can cut that down or eliminate it entirely by bringing reusable bags with you to the store. My go-to brand is Baggu. Their bags are stylish, hold up to 50lbs, and come in tiny pouches that can be easily stored in your purse, pocket, and car.
Another tip: cut down on your meat consumption and try to cut back on using products that come from animals. Meat production is a leading cause of climate change, water waste, and deforestation. Did you know It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat? Cray. My go-to for finding vegan-friendly restaurants is the Happy Cow app.
Let's talk clothes. The fashion industry can be pretty crappy to people, animals, and the planet. Fast fashion usually means extremely low wages and poor (sometimes deadly) working conditions for workers in developing countries. Women on average wear only 20% of what's in their closets regularly and throw out 83 lbs of clothing each year. All of that ends up in landfills, and let's not forget how many animals get abused and slaughtered for fur, wool, and leather.
Overwhelming right? So do you just stop shopping? The trick is to learn how to shop better! On top of supporting ethical brands, I also started thrifting and renting clothes, which allows me to wear something stylish and different without the environmental waste. My go-to brand for renting clothes is Rent the Runway. I rent 4 pieces at a time and ship them back when I'm done. It's like having a rotating designer closet.”
“I think the key is to start with the basics, and don't get overwhelmed by the idea you have to do everything perfect to take action. Swap plastic bags for reusable bags, bring your own coffee cup to coffee shops, don't buy things you don't need, and thrift as much as you can! Overall, try to make more mindful choices, because small steps over a lifetime still make a huge difference. Lead by example and inspire others to do the same.”
“If you want to reduce your own carbon footprint and reduce your negative impact on our planet, one of the biggest and easiest things to do is to stop using plastics, specifically single use plastics. Plastic doesn't ever go away, and whether we like it or not, ends up on the ocean floor. Facts have proven that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish — and that is not ok. By choosing to reduce your plastic consumption and choosing reusable options for shopping bags, water bottles, takeaway utensils, and takeaway coffee cups, you are already making such a big difference in your own personal journey, and also setting an incredible example for those around you. It is certainly not about being perfect, but rather being conscious of your actions and being mindful when you can.”
“There are so many things! Host a free talk at the local library, call the local newspaper and ask about a column or an article on zero waste living, show a documentary at a community space, grab a table at the local farmers market to educate others, host a clean-up, get involved with your local government, go to city hall meetings, talk to local businesses about implementing a straw on request only policy, get local coffee shops to incentivize bringing your own cup, etc.”
Samantha Leung, Owner & Designer of HEMLEVA
"Water is such a precious resource. Since I have so many plants to water, air plants as well as houseplants, I like to recycle the water as much as possible. I like to submerge my Tillandsia with tap water in a portable tub. And then after they are done, I will soak all of my Kokedama, fill my plant mister with the leftover water, then I will water all of my indoor and outdoor plants with the rest of the water as well.
If you use a charcoal filter for your water, and have to either soak or rinse the filter, save the water. It is wonderful for your plants. Another tip that I have learned is that if you make rice, save the starchy water from your initial rinsing. The reason why the water is an opaque color is because as you are rinsing and cleaning the rice. Trace amounts of the starch (rice starch) wash away with the water. The rice starch is wonderful for houseplants and encourages healthy bacteria to grow within the roots."
“From my studies in sustainability, I realized the biggest thing you can do for the Earth is just to start caring about people in general. Stop worrying about what others are doing in the world to help out and focus on you doing good. I realized that once I started picking up trash that wasn't mine, or even just helping people in need, it was a ripple effect. We can't expect to take care of our Earth if we cant even care for our people. You don’t have to become vegan, compost everything, or live like a hermit. If you just start by being mindful and doing what you can, it's a start. That is better than doing nothing at all.”