sustainable

9 Ways To Live Sustainably

Happy Earth Day! I’ve been a realist [not an environmentalist] for almost 7 years now, each Earth Day we highlight amazingly awesome humans doing great work to preserve the planet. Sometimes I get stuck in my little eco bubble and forget that some people, old and young, don’t know how to begin living a lifestyle that’s in-sync with the planet. Welp, I have yo back….

1. Get a Reusable Bottle

Bottle water marketers like to tell us that bottled water = healthy water, fortunately Jay-Z reminds us that men lie and women lie, but numbers don’t. In theory, bottled water in the United States falls under the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration. Only about 70% of bottled water never crosses state lines for sale, making it exempt from FDA oversight. Which means, the feds aren’t watching. However, our water systems where tap water comes from is regulated by the government. There is very little evidence that shows that bottled water is better for us than tap water. The plastic in bottled water requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. You might be telling yourself, “But I’m a good person because I recycle”. Great job being a steward of the planet but just because we throw items in the blue bins does not mean they are being recycled. This is the part where I give you another daunting statistic but let’s just get to the solution…. Klean Kanteen is an amazing brand that produces high quality stainless bottles. Klean Kanteen’s  insultated bottles are magical. If you are fancy like me, you like drinking out of glass bottles, buy a mason jar and reuse it.

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2. Embrace Meatless Mondays

Water is needed to not only produce everything we eat but also to produce almost all of the products we use everyday. Unfortunately, we can’t tell from appearance only how much water was used to get meals on our plates. I will let you use your context clues to figure out where the water was used. One egg uses 50 gallons of water. One cup of coffee uses 35 gallons of water. One pound of chicken uses 500 gallons of water. One hamburger can use anywhere from 4,000 – 18,000 gallons of water. You can save a significant amount of water by opting out of meat one day of the week. It’s also good on your wallet and will give your digestive system time to chill.

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3. Shop at Your Local Farmers Market

Is there anything cooler than buying your fruit and veggies from the people that used their blood sweat and tears to produce them? Okay, there might be, but let’s act like there isn’t for the next few sentences. Supporting your local farmers is not only great for planet, it’s great for your community’s local economy. Many small farmers that you can find at your locals farmer market, invest in you by refusing to take government subsidies to ensure that we can buy chemical free produce. Not taking government subsidies prevents them from making top dollar for their hard work, so let’s support them. Find farmers markets near you here. If you are like me and can’t remember which days farmers market are open around your neighborhood, look into buying a CSA basket. CSA baskets are purchased on a weekly or monthly basis and can be delivered to your doorstep from the local farm of your choice. Another way to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables, buy the produce when it’s in season, the prices won’t be outrageous. Find out what’s in season here.

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4.Buy Eco Personal Care Products

What products are used to produce your lotion, body wash, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream and makeup? If you can’t answer that question, be very afraid. If you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize the ingredients on the back of your  products, it just might mean that it’s a petroleum based product. It’s all good. The Environmental Working Group has your back. EWG has created a database where they rate the toxic level of over 80,000 personal care products that we use everyday. Check out the Skin Deep site here and use alternative brands like Burt’s Bees, Dr. Bronner’s, Carol’s Daughter, Dessert Essence, Shea Moisture, and more! Invest in brands that invest in you.

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5. Get Outside & Enjoy Nature

We have the privilege of living on this remarkable planet and I’m pledging to ensure that I take time to enjoy it more. Do you live where there are mountains? Go on monthly hikes.  Find a local park to eat lunch, study or work at on at least once a week.  Sit back and gaze at the clouds. Take a nap at the park while the birds sing to you. Beach cleanups are cute and sometimes they are important, but don’t go to the beach to clean, enjoy the ocean. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to trek to the woods to connect with nature. Enjoy your urban nature. Take time to notice the flowers on the sidewalk as you walk into a building, listen to the birds chirp as you walk to your car in the parking lot, set an alarm that reminds you to go watch the sunset every evening. Science says your brain on nature is a brain worth uploading.

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6. Become a Frequent Thrifter

I love thrift shopping. In LA, we have amazing vintage shops like Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange, American Vintage and more options to find unique pieces that belonged to someone else once upon a time ago for as much as 75% off. Thrifting is not only cost effective, the greenest option is the one that already exists, it’s a win for you + your queso + the planet. Goodwill is a national thrift shop that you can take clothes, electronics, furniture and more for them to resell after giving you a tax-deductible refund. Explore your local vintage shops and enjoy.

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7. Use Non-Toxic Nail Polish

This would not be an entire tip if I was not obsessed with nail shop but since I am…. Most conventional nail polishes found in stores offer consumers a noxious ingredient list of substances including formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, or DBP. Formaldehyde is the  the same chemical used to preserve dead things, is a known human carcinogen [a substance directly involved in causing cancer] and can also cause throat and skin irritation. DBP is a known reproductive and developmental toxin, while toluene is a possible reproductive and developmental toxin and can also cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Unfortunately, all of these chemicals can be absorbed into the body through the nail bed. Luckily companies are defying the status quo and deciding to not pollute our bodies for the sake of saving money. Zoya is an amazing nail polish brand, the only one that I wear, with an amazing palette of colors and lots of customer deals. They are not only a non-toxic eco brand, they rank the highest quality nail polish by most fashion magazines.

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8. Call A Climate Denier A Liar

The goal for this post was to keep it positive but this one is hard so I’ll keep it 100. Let’s begin calling out people that continue to deny factual information. Climate change is real. It’s not about politics. These are facts. We have already begun seeing the effects of a warm climate. Droughts across the nation are effecting local economies where agriculture is life like in The Southern region of the United States. Natural disasters are stronger than they’ve ever been, making significant strains on the economy and killing people. Droughts will turn into hunger, which is already a reality in The Horn Of Africa. There is no longer a climate debate. #FactsOnly. The next time someone tells you that they don’t believe in climate change, as if it isn’t real, kindly tell them that they have taken the idea of everyone being entitled to their own opinion way too far.

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9. Share This

Let’s empower people with information on how to live a sustainable lifestyle that benefits them and the planet. Share a tip that you’ve just learned.

Jordan Howard is a Co-Founder of GenYnot. Jordan works with nonprofits and corporations to engage and activate youth to be champions of social causes. Yes, she is dope.
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