Here's How to be Sustainable and Eco-friendly this Summer

June 21 - Taylor Marshall

As we approach the long and hot days of summer, we may find ourselves with a little more time on our hands. This season is a time where things slow down, at least a little, and you often find more time to assess your patterns, routines and habits.

With such a buzz around the alarming state of our environment, one thing you may realize is where you fall on the eco-friendly scale: Are you making a real effort to cut down your carbon footprint, or is there more room for improvement?

Specifically, speaking in the world of women, sustainability is a huge movement. Many largely influential individuals in this space are taking huge steps in the eco-friendly direction, and they’re asking us to come with them. There’s no better way to get motivated than seeing seriously amazing women doing seriously amazing things and drawing inspiration from the fact that you have the same exact ability. We rise by lifting each other, after all.

For inspiration and proof that eco-friendly moves have a place on the stage of the business world, here are three successful women with activism in the first sentence of their job description:

Katherine Wilkinson, author of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reduce Global Warming, spends her time hosting educational events and delivering gripping speeches that enforce and set into motion her ultimate mission: saving our planet. Her biggest power source? Women. Her biggest climate change solution? Educating and empowering women to act. Wilkinson says:

“Women are vital voices and agents for change on this planet, and yet we're too often missing or even barred from the proverbial table... To rapidly, radically reshape society, we need every solution and every solver, every mind, every bit of heart, every set of hands.”

Women have a huge role in saving the planet simply by inhabiting it and, as Wilkinson says, it’s time to step into our power.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, spends her time fighting for better climate policies in her homeland of Sweden while also influencing the rest of the world. Her words and acts of courage influenced the Youth Climate Strike, where 1.4 million kids around the world skipped school for the sake of our planet in March.

A motivated young woman with big goals, Greta pays no mind to letting her dreams be dreams. She summed it up perfectly when she said:

“The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, is serious about the need for businesses to stand up for climate change. Patagonia is one of the most active companies in the fight for the environment, with multi-million dollar programs covering everything from mending torn clothes for you to prevent buying new ones, to investing over $100 million in eco-friendly startups.

Since Marcario joined the team in 2014, Patagonia’s revenue has quadrupled, proving that companies standing strong for what they believe in will have ample support.

It’s clear by these women in the workplace that people care about caring for things, and that’s the perfect way to look at your own life through an eco-friendly lens. It’s cool to care!

By looking at reducing your carbon footprint and being kind to the planet not in terms of “have to’s,” but instead as just showing you care, the transition will be a lot smoother. What do I mean exactly? I’m going to share five ways to work towards saving the environment simply by being a kinder and more caring human… no to-do list additions required!

  1. Care about your community and the earth by always picking up your trash.

No one likes to see the sides of the road, or especially somewhere like a park or nature area, covered in trash. Keep others’ feelings in mind when you’re deciding what to do with that little piece of waste. Throw it away and keep things looking beautiful for the next person. You’re saving the earth big time, too.

2. Show some effort by sticking with reusable grocery bags.

Did you know that plastic bags take anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to decompose? Just save the hassle and carry up less groceries by using larger, reusable bags instead! They’re cuter, anyway.

3. Be considerate to animals and the planet by cutting down on meat and dairy.

According to a study on different protein choices, producing 1kg of kidney bean protein requires 18x less land, 10x less water, 9x less fuel, 12x less fertilizer, and 10x less pesticides than producing 1kg of beef protein.

4. Shop secondhand.

Caring about your style, the environment, and your budget all at once? It’s a pretty obvious yes to this one from me. Not to mention that making just 1kg of fabric generates 23kg of greenhouse gases—so why not just buy something that already exists, and costs less, too? You don’t have to change your whole shopping style; just start with baby steps.

5. Sort your trash.

Take a second to look at what you’re throwing away. Is there plastic, paper, or cardboard? Chances are, there is a place to put those instead of throwing them away. Most places having the recycling option, and some places even tell you what to put where, so there’s really no excuse not to! You are educating yourself and helping the environment, big time.

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