It’s actually cool to be environmentally friendly these days. Let’s embrace that with open arms! Here are four ways you can action green living.
1. Be a minimalist
Everyone’s heard of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, last season’s Netflix sensation. But what can we learn from it? Using less is SO GOOD for the world!
The foundation of the program is that decluttering helps you find joy. Get rid of what you don’t need, or what doesn’t make you ‘feel’ something. This helps you to want, need, and buy less. The outcome is less waste. Minimalism is very eco-friendly and an awesome way to live green!
One way to be a minimalist is by having a capsule wardrobe. Have a few timeless essential items, which you can partner with seasonal pieces. Build your capsule wardrobe from ethical and sustainable fashion brands. There’s hundreds out there! Some of my favorites are C. St. Quinton, People Tree and Afends.
Sustainable fashion can be more expensive, but it’s high quality. The Good Trade is super helpful for eco-friendly ideas. Also, if you’re online shopping, don’t buy loads of stuff ‘to try’. It gives you a horrible carbon footprint. And often, returned items aren’t sold again.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, check out goodwill or charity shops. Old-school is IN, so embrace the vintage trend! Up-cycle and repurpose your old stuff. The Spruce has some awesome tips on how to repurpose things. Like up-cycling plastic bags into a skipping rope. Or use them as stuffing for outdoor patio cushions.
Trade and borrow with your friends. Wardrobe sharing can be fun. And someone else has put in the hard work to find something fash-wan for you to wear! If you don’t have stylish mates, use Facebook groups or websites like Freecycle.
Minimalism isn’t limited to decluttering your house and wardrobe. It’s about simplifying life. Using less – of everything! Use less energy. Instead of planes, trains and automobiles – walk, run or cycle. It’s usually more fun and refreshing and you see more of the world. If you have to use energy, check it’s from renewable resources. Modern technology makes it easy to switch to eco-friendly providers.
Minimalism is in vogue and not only because it’s cool, it’s good for the world too. So, ask yourself, what can you do to simplify your life? If you had to pack a 50L backpack for a year of life, what would you pack? I bet it’s all that you need!
2. Go plastic-free
Plastic is not in this season. It’s official. And everyone’s known about it for a while. Luckily, that means there’s already hella cool plastic alternatives out there.
The saying goes: reduce, reuse, recycle. But the world’s decided there are now four ‘R’s’. Jack Johnson’s going to have to do a new recording. The fourth ‘R’ is REFUSE. Refuse single use plastic. Unwrap that banana from its cellophane wrap in the supermarket. Give it back and tell them it’s their responsibility to dispose of that unnecessary plastic. Refuse products that create waste. There’s a better way to live!
There’s a lot to say about plastic-free alternatives. Food comes first, always, as a general motto in life. So on that topic, get your reusables sorted. Pack your own lunch. It’s most likely healthier if you make it yourself too (bonus)! Use beeswax bags, or a metal tin, or even a plastic one. As long as it’s not single use plastic, you’re on to a winner.
Use less pre-packaged food. There are so many cool zero-waste stores around now, even in the smallest cities. And at some of them you don’t even need to forward plan and BYO container. Some provide old glass jars on site.
Don’t break David Attenborough’s heart – ditch plastic straws. Use a metal one, or don’t use one at all. Take your water bottle and carry cup everywhere.
Next up in the world of plastic free – beauty! Try soap and shampoo bars instead of plastic bottles. Use a metal razor instead of single use p lastic disposables. Make your own reef-safe sunscreen in a reusable container. Plastic free is the fad. But go paperless too! Choose alternatives, like reusable make-up cloths. Or don’t wear make-up at all. You’re probably more beautiful without it!
Last, but not least – bags. It’s great to have plastic free reusable bags. Taking a turtle bag to the local market makes you look super woke. But there’s a better option. Reuse every single bag you own or come across before you buy something new. Including plastic bags that already exist! It takes 20,000 litres of water to create an organic cotton tote bag. And none to reuse a plastic bag that already exists. Apart from appearing less eco-friendly for a sec. Remind anyone who judges you of the just-mentioned statistics.
Usually, going plastic free requires a little forward planning. But the world is becoming more accommodating to green living. Small changes in habits can make the shift pretty easy! And there’s plenty of information out there to get you inspired.
3. Go Local
The ‘go local’ movement has gone global. It’s much more environmentally friendly and sustainable to buy local. The most obvious benefit is reducing your carbon footprint.
Food comes first (as I said, it’s a recurring theme in my life)! To eat in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, go local. Buy organic, local grown, in season food. It reduces climate change emissions and protects the environment. Having your own allotment or herb garden is the ideal. But that’s a pipe dream for most of us. There are some pretty cool ‘plan B’s’ though.
There are organisations like Farmshare, which are environmentally friendly. You can pay a subscription and collect your local organic produce each week. These schemes also encourage a variety of plants and wildlife diversity. Unfortunately, this kind of diet isn’t always cheap. Health stores such as Whole Foods are the aggressive epitome of the cost of green living. But you’ll still save moolah if you pack your lunch versus buying lunch out every day.
On the topic of food, the most green living thing to do would be to (controversially) go vegan. Have you made the error of educating yourself by watching ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘What the Health?’ After I did, turning a blind eye to the negative environmental impact of eating meat was too hard. But in reality, we’re a generation brought up on McDonald’s. So flexitarianism is more achievable for most of us. It’s better to have a more manageable goal to reduce meat intake rather than have none at all.
The go local vibe isn’t restricted to food. Go local with any products that could have a negative environmental impact. Or a big carbon footprint. Furniture, clothes, cars. Anything with mileage.
Go local isn’t only about buying stuff though. It’s about local communities. Be a part of yours. Find environmental focussed groups who organise local litter-picking or beach clean-ups. If you’re lucky to live somewhere you can dive, join eco-dives! Gili Shark Conservation does Dive Against Debris every week to be eco-friendly in the Gili Islands. The old saying goes, take only memories, leave only bubbles. But it needs updating. Take only plastic, leave only bubbles!
Have a staycation. I am a fiend for travelling, so that’s not appealing. If you do travel, try to do it plastic free. We can’t all be Greta Thunbergs and sail with no carbon footprint. But we can pack light, travel overground and act in a sustainable way when on the road.
4. Get inspired by green living gurus
There’s a ton of inspiration out there these days. Follow some inspirational Insta accounts. My favorites are: @grumpyturtlecreative, @plasticfreemermaid, @trashyradical, @kennaaloha, @ecowarriorprincess, @ecolifechoices, @the.eco.warrior, and @thegreenhub_.
Get inspired by nature. See the great outdoors! Take part in citizen science projects. Doing this helps track animal species for scientists and conservationists. Learn more about conservation. Read books, educate yourself, keep up with news. Make small changes and create new habits. Even little change with the goal of living green is a start!
Green living is all about making conscious decisions about how you spend your time and money. Everything you do is a choice and expresses a belief about the world – what are you supporting by what you buy? Put your money towards what you want to encourage. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to invest, do so in sustainable funds. Have a net positive impact on the world. Reduce your carbon footprint. Use less of everything. What you do use, use the environmentally friendly, plastic free alternatives. Green living will improve your health and the planet’s!