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“The sky is falling!”
The sky may not be falling, but we know it’s getting worse. Our air isn’t clear. Our earth isn’t clean. I recently moved to a city with the second-worst air quality in the US. I’m still not used to the black dust on my kitchen counters. Where I live, it feels like the sky is falling.
Many of us want to do something to help our environment heal, but getting out to march in the streets for change isn’t always feasible. For those of us who are disabled, it’s not always doable. The one thing we all can do is change how we act in our homes.
A lot of environmental problems come from our waste habits. Habits of convenience. It’s more convenient to…
- order meals and groceries delivered,
- buy pre-packaged foods that are quick to prepare,
- use paper and plastic dishes even when we eat at home,
- drive-thru to pick up a meal when we’re too tired to cook, or
- forget how much waste we generate after we’ve put it on the curb.
We all do these things. We have succumbed to the conveniences of our modern world. Waste has become too…well, convenient.
It takes effort to change and move away from wasteful habits. It took years for these conveniences to grow on us. It’ll take time to make the changes we know we need to make.
Let’s start building earth-friendly habits today!
I heard something recently that helps me look at change differently – take complex challenges and make them bite-sized.
I have one overarching goal – to save the planet. Now, I’m not going to sit here and try and tell you that I can do that on my own. Because I can’t. What I can do is choose not to sit back and say Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it. I tackle it in small bites, like tracking my waste and how much I eat out.
Bite-sized habits are a lot easier to obtain
We need to take our big goals and figure out the obtainable baby steps, or little goals, we can focus on to get there. Here are some bite-sized tips that may help.
- Write a meal plan at the beginning of each week.
- Schedule time for meal planning and grocery shopping. It’s easier to get it done right when you set aside time and aren’t as rushed.
- Take food out of the freezer when you need it to thaw for a planned meal.
- Wash reusable containers so they’re ready to carry lunches for the week.
- Use these mini-goals to remind you to take reusable bags when you go shopping.
- Put reusable bags on your shopping list.
- Slap a reminder note on or near your door so you see it on your way out.
- Stick a note on your dash so you don’t leave your reusable bags in the car.
- Use a wall calendar (or your phone) to jot down when you eat fast food or carry out.
- At the end of the week look how often you did it and make it a goal to do it one less time next week.
- Keep working on it until eating out is a treat and not the norm.
- Stop using paper towels and napkins. Pick up cloth napkins at a thrift store.
Have a hard time remembering to do these things? Put it on your calendar or on your phone so it goes off to remind you.
Are the products you buy earth-friendly?
Humans are creatures of habit. We like what we are comfortable with, so we often pull the same brand off the shelf without thinking about it.
Do you have a favorite brand you always buy? Do a bit of research to find out how earth-friendly it is. Making a change can feel like a sacrifice, but it’s a small one when we look at the consequences of not using recycled and eco-friendly products.
- Schedule time once a week to look at the brands you buy. Are they eco-friendly?
- In your search engine put, Is brand / product made sustainably?
- Use Ecosia to search, they plant a tree when you do.
- Earth911 has this guide to finding sustainable toilet paper
- On LiveKindly you can search for articles on how to buy sustainably, and check out their tools for earth month for more great tips.
- EarthHero makes it easy to find products that are sourcing materials responsibly.
Don’t try and do this all. Find what works for you and take it one step at a time. I’ve found Atomic Habits, by James Clear, extremely helpful with this approach. Currently, you can sign up for his free newsletter. It’s helping me to break bad habits and build good ones.
Don’t Forget The Earth
- EarthDay.org gives us these tool kits to help us make changes and take actions that can make an ongoing difference.
- Check out Going Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg. I subscribe to her newsletters and find them helpful and inspirational. Here’s a recent one that is full of great ideas, 18 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home.
Why It’s Important
We need to let companies we buy products from know that we don’t want them damaging our planet. If we buy eco-friendly products, manufacturers will be forced to change to meet consumer demand. That’s the way it works.
If we stop using plastic shopping bags, they’ll stop being made. If we only buy eco-friendly products, more of them will be made. But currently, the most damaging products to our environment are the top-selling brands in the US.
Paper products are a good example. Some of the top-selling brands of toilet paper and paper towels are made with virgin wood. While other companies have found ways to make them sustainably. Cutting down trees emits carbon into the atmosphere and reduces how much of it our planet absorbs. This is a major contributor to our carbon footprint. With a million acres of the world’s forests being chopped down each year, we need to stop buying these brands. The logging industry creates 2X more emissions than cars and trucks in Canada and the US.
With Much Gratitude
That’s it for this week. If you like this post, please forward it to every earth-friendly human you know.
Drop me a line anytime if you have questions or comments. I love hearing from you.
I do not get paid to write this blog, none of the products I recommend sponsor me, so any support you can send my way would help, even a few bucks.
Thank you for reading these tips and subscribing. Pat yourself on the back for doing your part. Remember, every little bit helps.
Don’t fuss if you aren’t always able to do this stuff, keep trying, and don’t give up.
You got this!
All my best,