Every year on April 22, Earth Day serves as a reminder for us to be grateful for our beautiful home. Started in 1970, Earth Day gave a voice to the public concerns about the state of our planet after 20 million Americans took the streets to protest the government’s environmental ignorance.
Now, Earth Day is celebrated globally by 1 billion people. While some people take the day to clean up wild spaces, host eco-friendly events, or share inspiring posts on social media, many people like to think of it as a time to reflect on how they can make a better impact on the planet.
Earth day Sustainability goals
As I did with New Years’ (check out my resolutions here), this year I took some time to evaluate my environmental impact and set some sustainability goals for the year.
Before I dive into my goals, I think it’s important to say that the climate crisis is a systematic problem. Like many of the things wrong with our society (racism, sexism, poverty, lack of healthcare, education, etc.), global warming is a systematic problem that is rooted in capitalism. In fact, just 100 of the world’s companies have caused 71% of the greenhouse emissions that cause global warming.
And unfortunately, a lot of the blame for the climate crisis falls on us as individuals. We are told that we need to buy XYZ and stop using XYZ because the planet is dying. News flash: it’s not the plastic straws. It’s the system that was created by our government and major corporations. And who is left with the guilt and anxiety of the planet dying? I can guarantee you it’s not the CEO of ExxonMobil.
With that being said, I can’t sit back and do nothing. I have the power to make individual choices to lessen my environmental impact. I truly believe that individuals have the power to do collective good and I’m sure as hell going to do everything I can to make sure this planet is alive and healthy for future generations.
So while I try to minimize my environmental impact as much as possible, there are some things I would like to do to be more eco-friendly.
(re)start my compost bin
Composting is an amazing natural process that transforms your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. It reduces waste in the landfill and saves money and resources. Since I’m currently in an apartment, I don’t have the space to create a proper compost bin. But once I have some more room, I’m looking forward to learning all about composting from my good friend Shota, who works for a local compost company called Tank’s Green Stuff.
shop second-hand 80% of the time
I grew up shopping second-hand and still love to hit up thrift stores for clothing and home decor. In fact, about 60% of our belongings are second-hand! This year, I would like to improve that number because I recognize how much waste the fashion industry creates. If I’m not shopping second-hand, I will try my best to support companies that support the planet. Some of my current favorite (affordable) sustainable shops are UpWest and Quince.
Grow my own veggies
My husband and I have eaten a plant-based diet for the past 5+ years and for a long time, we have dreamed of growing our own vegetables. But as I mentioned, we currently live in an apartment (that gets bright, direct sun all day) so we don’t have the best space to create the garden we are dreaming of. Once we have some more room, we plan on building raised beds and growing zucchini, squash, carrots, greens, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, and lots lots more with our compost!
Clean up my beauty routine
Years ago I had a clean beauty company as a client at a marketing firm I worked for. Writing their blogs opened my eyes to the cancer-causing chemicals (parabens, phalates, formaldehyde, lead, and more) that are in the products we use every day. Not only do those chemicals go into your bloodstream through your skin but they are also washed into our water with every shower we take. Even though my beauty routine is minimal when I need to purchase a product I will ensure it’s clean and cruelty-free.
buy less plastic
Not only are plastics a major contributor to global warming, but they also stick around for ages! And when they finally decompose, they release toxic chemicals into our soil (which goes into our food and water). Plastic is terrible for everyone, yet it seems to be everywhere. While I’m good about my reusables, I want to be more mindful about the foods I purchase at the grocery store. Even though I can’t change the fact that a majority of foods are sold in plastic wrappers, I CAN use my money to “vote”. The less plastic you buy, the less of a demand there is. It’s a slow and painful process but if we all take a stand to buy less plastic, eventually less plastic will be produced.
ditch traditional kitty litter
I love my cat, Kelso, with all of my heart but his litter box is the bane of my existence. We use traditional clay litter and it’s messy, smelly and absolutely horrible for the planet. Not only is creating clay cat litter extremely damaging to the planet (i.e. mining, depletion of natural minerals, dust, etc.) but it’s also not biodegradable. While I still have some research to do on better alternatives, I have a feeling making the switch to eco-friendly cat litter will make the biggest impact in my life. I told my husband that the next cat we have will be toilet trained (lol).
There will probably never be a time when I’m doing *all* of these things perfectly but I truly believe small changes add up to a big impact.
What are your sustainability goals? What should I add to my list?