This year my pledge is to make MINOR changes that can have a MAJOR impact, in all aspects of life. Normally, I never make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I felt really convicted about one thing: how my actions have been effecting the planet. I’m not talking about crazy, radical changes that require a complete 360 in lifestyle, but simply being more intentional and thoughtful about the things I do on a daily basis and choosing better options. I understand that the world’s problems won’t necessarily be solved just by my small changes, but if I can help ,even a little bit, and impact someone else along the way, it’s worth talking about.
Ever since snorkeling in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef this past December, I feel like I’ve had an awakening that’s made me realize how my own careless choices are causing so much precious life and beauty to become sicker, not better. I hear about global warming and the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” motto, but I never actually deeply cared about how much harm I, as an individual, was doing to our planet until I got to see one of the largest coral reefs in the world dying before my eyes. That was kind of my wake-up call where I started thinking about what I could do to make a difference somehow.
Let me start by saying that NONE of the things I’m going to talk about have caused serious inconvenience to me. Every lifestyle change mentioned has been so easy to implement and has not been astronomically expensive. (I’m a cheapo anyway usually.) I want to share some of the ways I am choosing to go greener that I feel like have been very achievable. I hope that you all will consider joining me in this change in the new year.
- NO MORE PLASTIC STRAWS!! I could not be any more passionate about a statement. (Ok kinda dramatic, but hear me out) Americans alone could fill over 125 school buses PER DAY with the amount of straws we use. Every single straw we use is going to sit in a landfill or in our oceans FOREVER. It is projected that there will be more trash than fish in the ocean by 2050. WOAH. At home we don’t use straws; we just sip out of the glass. Why not do that in restaurants too? If the glass is clean enough to drink out of, it should be clean enough to put our mouths on without a straw. By eliminating lids on your drinks and even bringing a to-go cup from home to restaurants, even more plastic can be eliminated.
- Reduce the number of plastic bags you use at the grocery store. THINK ABOUT THIS ONE. There is no need to bag a packet of batteries or a pair of shoes in a plastic bag just so we can get it to our cars. If it can be carried out of the store just as easily with our hands, skip the bag and the planet will thank you for it. Another great modification to the plastic bag is to have a reusable bag in your car that you bring in the store with your purse when you don’t need a buggy-full of items.
- Bring your old Walmart bags back to the store for recycling. I had no idea this was even a thing until a few weeks ago, but most Walmarts have a recycling box at the front of the store that you can drop them in. You better believe I brought my household’s stash of 7,000 bags up there and you should too each time your collection of bags gets high.
- Buy more groceries locally. Not only are you supporting your local farmers this way, but you’re cutting down on the amount of fossil fuels needed to get your groceries to the table which helps with pollution and global warming (It’s the warming of our oceans that’s killing our corals.) Plus, locally grown food always tastes so much better!
- Buy cleaner products. This one actually can be costly depending on what kind of product we’re talking about. I’m talking about buying less “fast fashion” from places where everything is super cheap like Forever 21 and SHEIN (I’m SO guilty of this) and opting for more high quality, expensive options that use fewer fossil fuels. I’m also talking about small things like buying eco-friendly personal hygiene and beauty products for around the same price. An example of this includes buying biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones or getting your lotion made vegan and packaging free from Lush Cosmetics.