Conscious living transitions can be massively overwhelming. Everywhere we turn there are documentaries, articles, and petitions about the latest environmental and health movements – it’s normal to experience information overload. However, some progress is better than no progress. So here are five ways to live a cleaner life and decrease our personal environmental impact without feeling pulled in a million different directions. Let’s not allow information overwhelm to inhibit our live better journey!
- Patronize local farmers. Consider taking a weekly trip to your local farmers’ market before you go to the grocery store and see what items you can cross off your shopping list. Doing so decreases oil consumption, supports your local economy, and applies pressure to the industrial farming industry. According to BarrelsMarket.com, we could reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per week if every U.S. citizen ate just one local and organic meal each week?
Tips: Most markets now accept SNAP and WIC and some vendors will consider bartering if you have a product or service you’d like to share.
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- Support Environmentally Friendly Brands. You don’t have to be fully committed to a new lifestyle in order to begin voting with your dollar. Consider switching the products you use regularly while you continue to research and grow. Often times you can find an ethical product replacement within a similar price range. Here’s what you might look for: Organic, Vegan, Non-GMO, Cruelty Free, Antibiotic-Free, Grass Fed, etc.
Tips: Visit Organic Consumers Association’s Come Clean section for more information on bath and body products that are toxic to your body and the environment and to find out what store brands offer better alternatives. It’s even better if you can replace those items with products from local vendors.
- Buy organic wherever you shop. Here is another opportunity to vote with your dollar. Maybe you don’t have enough time to make multiple trips to the grocery store and farmers’ markets; however, you can still buy organic fruits, veggies, and foods. Larger retailers and suppliers are responding rather quickly to consumer spending and demands, not necessarily because they care to do better, but because consumers are voting with their dollar and hitting them where it hurts. A revolution is happening now, because millions of individuals make choices like these every day. You are a part of that!
- Support your passion. What are you passionate about? Does the thought of animal cruelty make your skin crawl? Research and choose not to support brands that condone animal cruelty. Do you know someone who has battled cancer? Research and choose not to support brands that use carcinogenic ingredients. Are you highly concerned about product safety for kids? Research and choose not to support brands that promote or sell toxic kiddie products. Hone in on the things you are most passionate about, learn those few topics well, and become an advocate among family and friends for change in that specific area. You won’t have to ask yourself why, because your reason is already close to heart.
- Decrease your carbon footprint from the kitchen. There are a number of ways to decrease your environmental impact. Maybe you’re not quite ready to go vegan, but you ARE still contributing by cutting back on meat. Poultry is less greenhouse gas intensive than beef; so it’s a step in the right direction to consider eating chicken only. Also consider cooking smaller meals and being more aware of the amount of food you’re throwing away. A large portion of food waste is transported to landfills which are an environmental issue because of emissions.
There you have it! Five ways to help transform the world we live in. Integrate one, some, or all of these suggestions or feel free to use them as a starting point for research. Remember that some change is better than no change, big changes start with you and me, and that knowledge plus action is power. Happy go greening!