How We Redefined Our Impact on Our Community and the Planet

After my husband and I got married we criticized and then redefined our impact on both our community and the planet. Today, in celebration of Earth Day, I urge you to do the same.

First, look at how your lifestyle (and possible overconsumption) can be minimized. Second, do the research so you’re inspired to maintain the lifestyle changes. It’s easy to be inspired on Earth Day – perhaps even for the few weeks that follow, but if you Google the impact of some of your habits that you believe may be impacting the environment in a negative way, you’re more likely to stick with the changes. It’s a scary read.

These are the easiest things we/I did to minimize our/my impact. If we made it happen, you can too. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to try. Our planet needs everyone to just try.

1. Forgo the straw.

When you’re eating out tell your server you don’t need a straw. We have smoothies and protein shakes on the regular. At home, we have stainless steel straws so we don’t have to contribute to the waste by buying plastic straws.

2. Donate blood regularly.

In early November 2017 I started to feel like there was little I could do to make a difference. (Do you remember what happened in November 2017 that might make one feel helpless? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Donating blood is one of the most direct things you can do for your local peeps (unless you’re getting paid to donate, that means it is for research and not hospitals). When your birthday comes around this year why not ask everyone to donate blood instead of buying you a gift?

3. Limit (or stop) eating meat…and dairy.

The idea that you need to eat meat to be healthy is a lie that’s transcended generations (similar to how you “need to have cow milk for strong bones.”) You don’t have to go full vegetarian, or even vegan, just attempt to limit your animal consumption.

It takes five times more land and way more water to produce animal protein than equal amounts of plant protein. Although I can’t verify this, I’ve seen articles that claim we wouldn’t have children starving to death if we didn’t have a meat industry. Can you imagine the difference you could make if you choose to eat vegetarian or vegan just one day a week?

Can you imagine the difference you could make if you choose to eat vegetarian or vegan just one day a week?

4. Use your canvas bags, always.

I abandon my cart and walk back out to the car for my canvas bags at least once a week because I forget to bring them into the store with me. If you just have a few items, tell your bagger that you don’t need a bag and carry your goods the full 50 steps to your car.

5. Shop local and/or from organizations with a “mission,” especially during the holidays.

Every holiday season I challenge myself to only purchase from small businesses or businesses that support a mission. Of course, I also “opt-out” of well-marketed black Friday and cyber Monday hoopla.

These are some of my favorite organizations that have a “mission:”

  • BOMBAS – this organization sells funky socks and for every pair purchased they donate a pair to a homeless shelter
  • the elephant pants – this organization claims to have “the most comfortable pants” and they donate 10 percent of the profits to the International Elephant Foundation
  • Happy Earth – this clothing line donates 50 percent of their profits to organizations that support the environment
  • 4Ocean Bracelets – the purchase of one bracelet funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean
  • dignify – this organization makes beautiful handmade quilts, employing woman in India who have been redeemed from sex trafficking

6. Pick up trash when it’s in your way.

You are not important enough to step over a piece of trash on the sidewalk or in your driveway. If your body will pass over the piece of trash, pick it up and deposit it in a trash bin.

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