How to Save the Planet (A Little)
Happy Earth Day! Oh, Mother Earth (but who are we kidding–God), you beautiful, wonderful living thing. I wish I could jump on the Earth celebrations with everyone, posting their uber cool rock climbing ventures, jumping into foreign oceans, praising trees, talking about the beach… my heart is actually feeling a little bit heavy about Earth.
Over the past two years, I’ve changed our whole world: we went completely organic on our pantry, cut out poor chemicals from our care products, and then was suddenly smacked right in the face with millions of miles of evidence about our planet. While I originally jumped on the bandwagon because the title of the book “How Not to Die” appealed to my paranoid self, I’ve since become overwhelmed by how much damage we’re doing to the planet – and how simple it is to fix it.
So, while I am far from perfect (my pantry post-Easter is absolute evidence of that), my little family is working towards becoming less wasteful, buying better, and finding ways to lessen our carbon footprint. So, I thought I’d share a few of those with you.
Here are some of the easiest, most basic baby steps you can take to give Mother Earth a little break this year:
Glass straws (or no straws)
It’s very easy to avoid straws. Step one: skip the lid and straw and drink like your parents taught you. That’s all. Or, better yet, bring your own foldable straws or glass (these babies are in everything I drink). Restaurants everywhere are cutting back on this handout, and you should too! Having these glass straws at home are my favorite thing, and they’re easy on the environment.
If you don’t follow @Just.Ingredients on Instagram, stop and do it. She’s convinced me to shed everything in my pantry and bathroom and exchange it all for non-cancerous products that are – what do you know? – also easy on the environment. Plus, things that are harmful to the environment are definitely harmful on and inside of your body. Buy better – she’ll teach you how!
I’ve been doing this for about two years, and feel very strongly that buying organic produce and cutting negligent, dangerous hormones from my beauty and care is one of the reasons I had no trouble getting pregnant. While that’s certainly not everyone’s story, these chemicals are definitely impacting the scary fertility crisis. Just… try for yourself.
Skip the mini bags at the grocery store
Did you know that you can opt out of putting all your little lemons and limes in a mini plastic bag? Nobody ever asks questions as I romp up to the counter, a cart full of miscellaneous produce. Once, a Trader Joe’s employee even told me it was easier this way, so she could quickly see the labels. Stop grabbing bags! (And if germs scare you, you’re not washing your produce enough. Hehe.)
Reusable Grocery bags
The first time I brought my canvas reusable bags to the counter, I almost had a panic attack. Not sure what to do with them or how to present them, I shoved them into the cashier’s hands while he was finagling my food. Ugh. But, it’s been a couple years now, and the bags are abundant – and required, in some places. Now there’s nothing more casual than crashing the counter with your reusable bags. You’re saving the planet! This one is my newest favorite (and it’s biodegradable).
Stop buying single-use plastic for your family events. Opt for a full load of dishes instead. Even the “long term” plastics (like toddler utensils and especially tupperware) have eco alternatives all over the place. Start searching for those eco-friendly labels, if you just can’t avoid the garbage. And investing in glass storage sets is a happy, far more durable alternate to spaghetti-stained tupperware (you know exactly what I’m talking about).
Cut out the plastic wrap
I have a couple little ways to cover food: first, glass bowls with sealed tops. Second, beeswax food wraps. My friend introduced me to these and while I hesitated at the price at first, I’m quite certain they make better preserves than even lids do. These eco alternates will save time and storage in your home, while reducing your plastic waste. They have some over in the cleaning section of Trader Joe’s, too.
While it may not be much, these are massive leaps for some of you. I feel that. And trust me when I say these tiny steps will surely snowball. And, hopefully, they’ll offer you and your family a healthier living. When we help the planet, we help ourselves.