This Earth Day had me feeling a little guilty. I volunteered for an aquarium all throughout college. Nothing makes you feel like you’re protecting the ocean like talking to a hundred people on a Friday about ocean acidification, you know?
I haven’t been volunteering for a little over a year. Earth Day was the 22nd. It seems like a good time to reflect on what I’m doing to help protect the planet, and what I could be doing better.
Things I’m Currently Doing
– Take public transit 90% of the time.
27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US are from transportation. Public transit options in the US are pretty atrocious. If it’s not feasible for you to stop driving you could also try to shop more locally to cut down on transportation on that end.
– Carry a reusable water bottle and don’t drink bottled water.
Bottled water is dumb. It’s expensive. It’s wasteful. So is soda. You can’t promise me that a bird wont eat your bottle cap and starve to death because its stomach is full of plastic.
– Use reusable menstruation products.
If cups and reusable pads aren’t an option, you can buy tampons that don’t have applicators. You don’t need a plastic or cardboard tube.
– Use stainless steel straws when I can.
There are very few instances that you NEED a straw. I keep these (not an affiliate link) in my bag for restaurants for when ice is out of control. You can read more about how awful straws are here.
– I eat meat like..once a week.
It’s the inverse of a Meatless Monday. Food is complicated (and still produced with actual slave labor) so blindly following a diet without looking into the supply chain isn’t enough. Beef is pretty inefficiently produced, though.
– Vote for people that support environmental policies.
We need more oversight and regulation to solve these problems. It’s nice that I can know that I didn’t personally choke a sea turtle, but the sea turtles are still being choked.
Things To Integrate Before Next Earth Day
– Stop buying paper copies of books that I haven’t read before.
I feel old. I can remember when we were more fussed about the paper clogging our landfills than we were the plastic in the ocean. But really, there’s no reason for me to go out and buy books that I might not ever want to reread. I have an e-reader and can walk to the library.
– Clothing shop entirely second-hand or non-synthetic.
The issue of synthetic fibers isn’t one that people talk about as often because it’s not an easy problem to solve. I know that I can’t personally afford to throw out all of my clothing and wear exclusively natural materials. I’m on the email list for a Cora Ball if those ever enter production (EDIT: They have! The day I posted this. I’ve ordered one). And now that my wardrobe is in a good place, am planning to thrift or buy natural fibers for anything new. Thrifting synthetic materials isn’t a fix, but it at least prevents a new polyester shirt from entering the cycle.
– Stop buying sheet masks and other single use beauty items.
Guys, we need to cut our sheet mask habit. I have a ton laying around that I will still review and use, but they’re wasteful and expensive.
Tell me something that you do (or are going to try) to help the planet in the comments!