Small Changes for Earth Day

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Earth Day is an opportunity to reevaluate our daily actions; a chance to step back and look at what positive changes we can make for the environment. It is easy to look at climate denial in the world’s richest countries (looking at you, Mr Trump) and suggestions that UK green energy targets will be scrapped post-Brexit and become disheartened with our pretty disinterested collective effort to create a better world for us all to share.

It’s easy to think that there’s nothing we can do, as individuals, that will change things. But there are a bunch of ways that we can make simple, easy changes to the way we live that’ll make a big difference in the long term, if we all get behind them.

This is our manifesto of small changes to create a greener society, without having to wait around for our governments to sort their environmental policies out.

Shop locally and seasonally

Stop by your local farmers market or subscribe to a weekly vegetable box instead of doing your entire shop at the supermarket. Farmers markets are full of local, organic and seasonal produce so your pennies will be going toward supporting traders and small farms in your area.

Shopping this way also means that the ingredients in your kitchen will have travelled the shortest distance possible from field to table, meaning they are both fresh and environmentally responsible. You might have to wash it before you eat it, but it’s worth it.

If you can’t get to a farmers market regularly, sign up to a veg box scheme. It’ll save you money and lend your schedule the structure of a weekly shop. If you’re not sure what your nearest one is, search it online.

Eat less meat and more veg

If you’re concerned about climate change, reducing or eliminating your meat consumption is one of the most powerful actions you can take on an individual level. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than the combined exhaust fumes generated by the entire transportation industry. You can check out more information on this here.   

If you want to reduce your consumption of meat but aren’t sure where to start, #meatfreemonday is a great way to begin reducing your meat consumption. For many people, doing this one day a week becomes the springboard towards eliminating meat on weekdays and – eventually – altogether.

Most importantly – get clued up! Watch documentaries such as Cowspiracy or Before the Flood and see for yourself the environmental effects of eating meat.

Try dairy alternatives

While we’ve been told since birth that drinking milk makes our bones strong, it’s pretty much the opposite. Countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.

Milk is the primary source of nutrition for baby calves before they are able to digest other types of food; conversely, we are the only species on the planet that continues to consume milk in adulthood – and from another species, as well. 

Non-dairy milk alternatives are readily available in all supermarkets and convenience stores. We love Alpro’s soya milk and almond milk, but if you’re allergic to soy there is still oat, coconut, and hemp. Oatly also do a great chocolate milk.

Go reusable

It takes between 500 – 1,000 years for plastic to degrade, yet we chuck away 15 million bottles per day in the UK – and every single piece of plastic that’s ever been created still exists in some form.

Going reusable is an example of a small change that is super easy and will save you money in the long run. Pick up a tote bag for your grocery shopping instead of buying plastic bags and invest in a refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles every day. If you can’t resist a coffee on your way to work, buy a reusable thermos and make your own. Your conscience (and your wallet) will thank you.

Recycle

We can all manage this one. Buy one bin for recycling and one for food waste. Sorted.

Shop ethical brands

Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, after oil. It used to be that clothing was an investment; now, it has become a convenience. With the price of clothing driven way down by stores such as H&M, Zara and New Look, we can buy an entire outfit for just one occasion or forget to return something if it doesn’t fit, which is a hugely wasteful way to consume.

Ask yourself if you will wear an item thirty times before buying it; this will clarify how suited to your day-to-day wardrobe it is. It is also important to shop brands that communicate their code of conduct clearly on their website. We like Asos Eco Edit, Beyond Skin for shoes and Olive Clothing in Cheltenham for timeless pieces.

For more facts on fast fashion, follow @fash_rev on Instagram and follow the #FashionRevolution hashtag.

Check out our video below on small changes you can make to live more sustainably.