Sustainability matters more than ever now.
Originally published on Medium.
First I would like to address that not everyone can embrace sustainability and no waste living. Because not all of us have access, or can benefit from equal opportunities like our white race counterparts. We are all working to dismantle white supremacy that unfortunately is a disease that spreads just like cancer. And it has also created this “white washing” stigma in the green living and sustainability communities, just like in movies, music industry and commercial marketing strategies which they portray only the white race as being sustainable and eco-friendly leaders.
Because they are embracing it on social media and are being invited to participate with high paying brands, they are getting more sales and recognition because their white privilege makes it easy for them to do so. But hey! You do not need to be an environmentalist or any particular race to care and do what’s right for your planet any way you can. Yes! It doesn’t help that economically, BIPOC and any POC have to be labeled as “being brave” and other races get to “live free, enjoy” while others are left to fend for themselves. An unequal and unjust system is not sustainable any more. Our planet and our spirits cannot take this anymore. That’s why we are dismantling it and seeking liberation, healing and re-building a more renewable, cleaner, sustainable and equitable systems.
Let’s start with — Here are some of our favorite Environmentalist, BIPOC and POC accounts you can start supporting, learning from and recommending to brands (especially, those who can be the gatekeepers for others to receive the same equal opportunities as you). Collaboration is the root of healing a system designed to divide. Let’s dismantle and decolonize our minds together.
@greengirlleah + @IntersectionalEnvironmentalist
Leah Thomas is an activist for intersectional environmentalism. Along with her Instagram page, she also has a very informative IG account. Go check it out!
Mikaela Loach is a climate justice and anti-racism activist. Her website has a lot of great information!
Aja Barber is a writer and fashion consultant whose focus is race, intersectional feminism, and sustainable and ethical fashion.
Tori Tsui is an intersectional climate activist. She runs a podcast called Bad Activist Podcast which focuses on intersectionality, feminism, climate justice, racial justice, and queer rights. Yes!
Dr. Ayana Eliza is a marine biologist who founded @OceanCollectiv and @UrbanOceanLab. She focuses on climate change as a whole along with marine-focused initiatives. She’s also the lovely co-host of the new podcast I’m in love with @how2saveaplanet!
Kristy’s instagram page is very informational on news relating to climate change and intersectionality. She has a podcast and a blog along with other resources on her website!
Jerome Foster II is an environmental activist, an EIC at The Climate Reporter and the Executive Director at One Million of Us which is a “youth-led voting & advocacy organization that is rallying 1M+ young people to register & turnout to vote in the 2020 election and beyond.”
Corina Newsome is a biologist who focuses on nature education along with bringing people of color into the outdoors (especially birding!)
Unlikely hikers is an Instagram community that brings the “underrepresented outdoor person” into the outdoors. They are “people of size, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, queer, trans and non-binary…people with disabilities and people who utilize the outdoors to aid our mental health”. Love this community ❤
Melanin Base Camp is a group that brings people of color into the outdoors. Yei!
By Ariel -Teaching people about the environment and how to help. Love her energy and her hilarious stories make my day. Highly recommended!
By Summer Dean- Climate communicator, model, & imperfect environmentalist ❤
Making Low Waste + Sustainable Living Inclusive ❤
There are 14 Costless Ways to Live More Sustainably during a pandemic.
I know that it may seem at first that if you want to live more sustainably, you have to buy fancy eco-friendly products and spend loads of money before you can truly call yourself an eco-conscious citizen. The truth is, these 14 costless ways to live more sustainably are super effective and they don’t require any unnecessary consumerism!
Now, why should you care about living sustainably during semi-lockdown?
- Because of the environment
- Because of your own health (living sustainably usually means cutting out many nasty toxins that pollute your body and make you sick)
- You’ll save lots of money! Once you’re done reading the article, you’ll understand how.
Intrigued yet? I sure hope so! Now let’s jump into the 14 costless ways to live more sustainably TODAY.
1. Freeze your food before it goes bad
In the US and North america, about 35% of food goes to waste. Sure, it often isn’t on purpose. Maybe you just miscalculate how much you need and end up throwing out a bunch of rotten food. But if you just freeze all your fruits, veggies, and even prepared meals before they go bad, you’ll save TONS of food in the long run, plus a bunch of money. And use your veggie scraps for veggie broth. Yep, you can literally turn your trash into food! Try keeping a bin of your veggie scraps and once it’s filled, toss the veggies along with some spices in a pot and voilà! You’ve given your scraps a second life!
2. Eat less meat
I know, I know, you’ve probably heard this one before. I’m definitely not pressuring you to go vegetarian or vegan or anything. But something important to know is that the meat industry emits more CO2 than all cars on the road. So if you cut down to eating meat just 2 or at least 3 times a week, that will already make a huge difference!
Example: I love the company Yves. This is my meal prep picture before making chilli that my girls and I love to eat. I still wish there weren’t any plastic-wrapped carrots and tomatoes, but again, not everyone has equal access to certain stores or can afford the stores where these sustainability practices can be embraced. But do tell the store or manager any chance you can. There should not be plastic packaging anymore!
3. Reuse glass jars/bottles
Think about the number of glass jars and bottles you buy and throw out in a year. Now think about how many times they might have come in handy for storing food, drinks, or any other random items. Think hard before throwing out your used jars because the possibilities are literally endless!
4. Bring your reusable shopping bags! Use Reusable Masks!
This is the most sustainable way to bring your groceries home and keep yourself and others safe! Also, it prevents the new polluter now, masks, from being thrown all over the streets, parks and other public places instead of being put in the recycling or garbage. So reusable bags and masks, will not only stop you from using plastic bags and save you tons of money, but you also won’t contribute to the energy and pollution coming from manufacturing a plastic grocery bag and those disposable masks!
5. Reduce your paper towel usage
It’s no secret that most people use paper towels like crazy. I get that it may be difficult to stop using them altogether at first, so try to use just one sheet instead of two next time. And always keep a dish towel in your kitchen for wiping down your hands, counter or dishes. I use old t-shirts, socks, or you can get dish towels from the dollar store. Use your imagination!
6. Don’t use plastic straws
I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of pictures of straws stuck in the bodies of poor marine animals by now. Plastic straws can literally be fatal to them. I haven’t been using them because I carry my own reusable ones. Here is the brand for the ones I use. ❤
7. Opt for paperless billing
Physical letters from banks are such an unnecessary waste of paper, fuel, time, and energy! Especially since you can get all the info you need online. So if you can do without them, definitely let your bank, phone company and any other company that needs to send you something by mail, send things by email if they have this option available. Or let them know that you don’t want to receive useless paper because it is not good for the environment.
8. Sell/Donate/Recycle your old clothing
Textile waste is HUGE, especially with the rise of fast fashion. So next time you’re done with your clothing, try to dispose of them in the most responsible way possible. After all, some people might be thrilled to have some awesome pieces of clothing that are just lying around in your closet collecting dust.
9. Take advantage of the natural light
Try doing most of your reading, writing, or anything that requires light, while the sun is still up high. You’ll save on your electricity bills and save the planet at the same time!
10. Turn off the water more often when you shampoo/shave/brush your teeth
This one I’m sure we’re all guilty of. I’ll admit, I used to love standing in the shower enjoying the warmth for even up to 30 minutes sometimes! But simply reducing the amount of time you keep the water running and turning it off when you don’t necessarily need it, will go a long way. Also, taking baths reduces stress, and you use the same amount of water, therefore you save water to wash yourself with and you are embracing self-care with a nice relaxing bath. Win-win for you and your planet!
11. Wash your hair less often
I personally went from washing my hair nearly every single day (curly hair life) to just once a week and I’ve been loving it! Here is my reel embracing this change. It will take some time to get used to, but in the long term, you’ll save tons of water, products, and packaging. Plus, it’s much healthier for your hair to wash it less often.
12. READ MORE less TV or IPAD.
If you’re a bookworm like me, then you know there’s nothing more amazing than reading any chance you can! Grabbing a new novel and then enjoying it with a cup of tea. But why not visit the library next time? Honestly, I can’t wait until I can go back and enjoy a good day in the library. Here in my city we can go but only stay for 60 mins… And only to grab not many books. However, remember we have a bookshop affiliate that helps us and other local bookstore. Enjoy reading!
13. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them
Seriously, turning off the light when you leave the room is definitely not a huge inconvenience. And you’ll be surprised how much cheaper your electricity bill will be!
14. Don’t use pesticides on your lawn
A perfect lawn is certainly not worth risking your health and polluting the environment. Pesticides used on lawns have been linked to so many serious and deadly diseases that it’s just not worth it. Check out this article by Global Healing on natural pesticide ideas instead.
Yep! so there you have it! 14 absolutely costless ways to live more sustainably. There are more, and I can’t wait to keep on finding it and sharing this journey with you too. It’s really the simple things that make a difference. And as you can tell, not only will you help the environment, you’ll also save loads of money. And honestly, who don’t want to save money and improve their health plus their planet during a world pandemic? Also keep connecting with others? Sharing your experiences can inspire others and we can all grow together. So there’s literally not a single reason NOT to follow these 14 steps I listed here.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that you found the advice valuable. Please let me know what you think in the comments and also what you’d like to read about sustainability, climate change, creativity through adversity, Parenting, and/or creative writing in the future!
Be kind to your planet, to you and others. Leave me in the comments which one is your favorite to do so far and if you have more to recommend. We highly appreciate it ❤
Thank you for your support!
Love and Light,
If you liked this blog make sure to subscribe, follow us, leave us what you think in the comments (let’s start real conversations) and share it with someone that needs to read this today. Edited by Vanessa H ❤
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Where are we going next? Podcast @your_story_matters and bringing solutions with other change makers, leaders plus amplifying those who are voiceless. Creativity for intergenerational justice unleashed. Stay tuned!