The New Year is typically a time for making resolutions, but let’s be honest the list of potential lifestyle improvements is so inexhaustible that it’s difficult to know where one should start: giving up chocolate, running, learning a language – these all sound like good options but where to begin? Well, as the first episode of Blue Planet II aired in the US last weekend, it seems appropriate to start by putting leading a little greener lifestyle at the top! This doesn’t have to be a huge burden, many of us can help the planet by making a few easy lifestyle changes – well easier than going without chocolate anyway!
- Go Seasonal
Being able to garnish your ice cream with strawberries all year round might seem like the epitome of luxury living, but having these summer treats on hand all year has some serious environmental consequences. By avoiding products that have more air miles than Simon Cowell’s private jet, we can significantly reduce the number of carbon emissions that come from the food industry. This doesn’t actually have to be as bad a sacrifice as you might think. For one, locally sourced seasonal fruit and veg tend to be a lot tastier than artificially ripened foodstuffs. And, like in many other cases, the Earth has a way of naturally providing for the seasons, in the summer heat you can enjoy fresh salad leaves and cold fruit salads, but when the nights draw in and the cold snaps come, the earth will provide you with hearty root vegetables and nutritious leafy greens.
- Borrow Don’t Buy
Have you ever faced the frustration of having to splash cash on an item that you only need to use once? Not only is it annoying to pay for a one-off purchase but it’s also fueling the waste culture that sees us sending so many things head to a landfill. Thankfully, there is now an option that makes renting almost any item super easy. The online peer-to-peer rental platform, Fat Lama, recently launched in the US. It’s designed to allow people to list anything (from household items like bikes and drills to professional gear like DJ equipment and drones) for rental to people in their local area. Not only does this benefit the lender, making them some extra cash from their unused stuff, but it helps the environment by making the most of the resources that are already in circulation. If we all embrace renting over buying, we can make a real difference to the number of products that are being produced and then only used once or twice.
- Try Ecotourism
‘What is ecotourism?’ I hear you cry. Well, the idea is that tourism, so often associated with swollen carbon footprints and damage to natural beauty sites, can actually be a source for environmental good – if it is managed properly.
This can be anything from volunteering at a conservation project to staying in places where the tourism industry is providing a source of sustainable development for the local community. The options are surprisingly broad with countries from Bulgaria to Bolivia investing in environmentally friendly tour operators which provide local employment and cultural education to their guests.
- Recycle Your Clothes!
One of the most surprising statistics I have read recently was published by Environmental Protection Agency. It stated that the US is now putting 14 million tons of clothes in a landfill a year. That’s a whopping 84% of all unwanted clothing. This is putting the textile industry on a par with unrecyclable plastics for filling up the planet with rubbish. So if you are purging your wardrobe of those disco pants that were definitely a good decision for 2013 but aren’t so 2018, buck the trend and make sure you recycle them!
- Look into Fashion Conscious Brands/ Create a Micro-Wardrobe
Following on from my previous theme, you could try going one step better and tackling the clothes wastage problem at the source. There are two positive steps you can take: number one, say no to being at the beck and call of the whims of high street fashion and create a micro-wardrobe. In order to keep abreast with the cutting edge of fashion, consumers often invest in huge quantities of cheaply made high street clothing. Though this may make you look ‘pretty fly’, they are likely to wear out almost as fast as the trend moves on and (you guessed it) end up in a landfill. So if you are feeling like going green why not use the money you would usually spend on five cheap tops and invest it in one high-quality piece instead. You will have a lifelong piece and you can feel great about the waste you are saving. Alternatively, if a fresh look is what you seek you could is to look into buying from fashion-conscious brands. This is becoming increasingly mainstream with high street stores like H&M and ZARA running labels made from recycled and sustainable clothing.
- Bee Responsible – Don’t Mow the Lawn!
The suburban garden with its lawn mowed to perfection is a familiar sight across most American cities. Though this might denote suburban bliss, resisting the urge to mow is a really easy way to help the planet by saving the bees! Research has shown that bee populations are on the decline which is bad news because they are one of our best pollinators. So maybe it’s time to sacrifice our lawns to keep our flowers – plus it even gets you off the hook of doing that weekend chore!
- Go Paperless!
This is a move that will save you time and more importantly a LOT of paper. There are so many ways you can cut down on the amount of pointless post you receive every day. You can start by moving all your bills and bank statements to online accounts. If you are feeling super proactive, then you can contact the people sending you free advertisements and opt to be taken off their mailing list. Simple steps which will make a big difference!
- Hit Up The Charity Shops
Shopping in charity shops has received a certain bad rep: some people simply don’t want to wear the coat of someone’s deceased grandad (with the exception of Macklemore). However, if we all stop being squeamish and embrace having a good rummage, you could genuinely find some great bargains – especially if you visit ones in affluent areas! Picking up some stuff second hand, even if it’s just a picture frame, is a great way to help reduce the number of things with ‘life left in them’ being thrown away unnecessarily. It also saves you money and the proceeds go to charity so it’s literally a win all around.
Some really great tips so far from the peeps at Fat Lama, thank you so much, guys! 😀 You can also check out some of my own eco-friendly tips here. 💕
Peace & love,
What are your favorite tips for living a more eco-conscious life? Let me know below!
Also, you can learn more about Fat Lama here.
*Post was a collaboration with Fat Lama and was written by Tim Slater.