“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
— Jane Goodall
We all want to live more sustainable lives and be kinder to the environment. Luckily, there are some easy ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint, and there are small changes we can make to our lifestyles to ensure a healthier planet.
- Leave No Trace in the Great Outdoors
Whether it’s a walk in the park or a hike in the mountains, your actions can impact the environment. A simple rule of thumb: if you pack it with you, pack it back out. Bring a bag along with you for your trash, recycling and even compostable items. Mother earth, the wildlife and those that follow you will appreciate it.
- Minimize Your Food Waste
Just imagine the time, effort and cost it takes growing food, shipping it around the world, and buying the food with your hard-earned money – not to mention the water and land usage. Only purchase what you know you will be able to consume before food spoils. Consider composting your food scraps. A great DIY project (and chef’s secret) is saving all of your vegetable scraps in a freezer bag in the freezer, and making your own home-made vegetable stock. Simple, healthy, delicious and free.
- Shop In-Store, Not Online
Although it’s hard not to love the convenience of online shopping, the effect it has on the environment is hard to deny. The process of packaging, shipping and delivering products to your door contributes in large part to CO2 emissions. The vast majority of plastic packaging ends up in landfills, and billions of trees are pulped yearly to produce shipping cartons. Skip the click and shop locally.
- Consider Alternate Transportation
E-bikes and electric scooters are a great alternative to cars for getting around the city or running quick errands. They offer a pollution-free, sustainable mode of transportation, not to mention you can enjoy the perk of getting exercise at the same time. Being in the fresh air is a great way to reduce stress and take advantage of a more laid-back commute.
- Use Glass Jars and Storage Containers
Glass containers are much more environmentally-friendly than disposable plastic and they last forever. Gone are the days of warped containers from the dishwasher, and unsightly stains – plus they look pretty stylish in your kitchen. Wide mouth mason jars are excellent for storing both dry and liquid ingredients. Heating plastics may also cause dangerous chemicals to leach into your foods. Considering less than 10 per cent of plastics actually get recycled, this is a no-brainer.
- Purchase and Consume Products that are Eco-Conscious Brands
Invest in foods and products that are made well and are interested in your health, and the health of the environment. This send a strong signal to their competitors that change is necessary. Look for packaging that displays a recycling symbol, uses natural plant-based ingredients, and is void of chemicals. Ultimately we are all working together to create a healthier self and planet.
- Skip the Fast-Fashion
It’s no secret that fast-fashion is detrimental to the environment. The fashion industry is responsible for as much as 10 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, not to mention the use of toxic dyes and plastic fibres are polluting the water systems. With cheap materials being used to create clothing, the quality does not hold up and therefore, they are replaced more frequently than high-quality garments.
- Shop at Thrift and Second Hand Stores
We’ve all done a great job at donating unwanted clothing and other items to second hand stores, but have you considered shopping at them? As we become more aware of how unsustainable it is to buy everything brand new, consider a little treasure-hunting and you will be surprised at what you may find. From designer clothing to furniture and décor, sometimes the thrill of the discovery will even outweigh the bargain price.
- Shop Seasonally When Possible
The transportation of food is responsible for six per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published in the journal, Nature Food. Produce makes up the majority of these emissions due to the demand for out-of-season items and the refrigeration required to transport them. So, fill up your plate with local, readily-available fruits and vegetables when you can to help reduce your carbon footprint.
- Spread The Plant-Based Message Positively
Many of us already understand the benefits of a plant-based diet for our health and the well-being of our planet, but it isn’t something that should be pushed upon anyone. It could mean introducing a friend or family member to an incredible dining experience, or favourite recipe. Who doesn’t love great food? Change takes time. Being a good role model and living by example is an excellent place to start.
Interested in eating more plants?
Here’s your inspiration: IMPACT Magazine’s Best of FOOD Edition – over 200 pages of plant-based recipes and nutritional advice from our experts.