Words By: Tanya Cramp
Let's Take a Minute to Talk About It
“Going green” sounds great but is it really possible to do in everyday, modern life? The short answer - yes. Read on to get information about how daily habits impact the environment and learn how to make lifestyle changes and embrace the power of green.
The concept of “going green” can be interpreted in many different ways. To us, it means making a deliberate lifestyle shift and prioritizing care for the planet over convenience. And because regulations and big business practices have a while to go, there are things you can do at home that feel small but make a positive impact on reducing your environmental footprint.
See below for some of the biggest threats to our environment and actions you can take to make a difference.
Power Through Food Choice
The food choices we make every day impact the environment. Going beyond frequently-debated examples such as plastic water bottles and straws, what we are eating also contributes to environmental issues - specifically, the consumption of meat and organic farming. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is responsible for 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. It also takes more than 1,500 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef, adding to the resources needed to support meat production. Having better alternatives in food practices such as organic farming helps, but there is still plenty of work to be done in the agricultural industry as a whole to help cut down on this resource consumption.
Be deliberate in your food consumption choices with these tips:
- Embrace meatless and non-dairy options - even one meal swap a week makes a difference
- Buy organic whenever possible - organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy
- Shop local - locally grown products are transported a shorter distance (think less fuel and travel pollution) and are picked closer to peak stages of ripeness
- Consider growing your own food - greens, herbs, vegetables and more can be easily grown inside and outside of your home and gives you access to fresh food - Check out Miravel's Simple Garden
Focus on Reducing Plastic
Yes, we are going to talk about plastic. Why? Plastic packaging accounts for about half of the plastic waste in the world and only 9 percent of the world’s plastic produced (estimated at nine billion tons) has been recycled. Most end up in landfills and in the environment. To add to this - 40 percent of the demand for plastic comes from single-use plastic products. Single-use (disposable) plastics are designed to be used once before being thrown away or recycled and can be anything from the cup, lid, and straw for your iced coffee, to the plastic container your vegetables come in. This means almost half of plastic is designed to be thrown away with no way to reuse or recycle the material.
We eat to live and live to eat - here are small ways to be thoughtful as you shop and dine:
- Avoid single-use plastic in grocery stores, restaurants or convenience stores - this is especially true for plastic grocery bags, which take up to 500 years to turn into microplastics (they never fully decompose)
- Rethink produce bags at the grocery store - swap them out for organic cotton drawstring bags or opt-out of using a bag (you need to wash your produce anyway!)
- Avoid paper bags as well - of which the production is responsible for mass amounts of deforestation and habitat destruction
- Invest in reusable bags to carry groceries, farmer’s market goods, and other items
- Go for a home-cooked meal instead of takeout to cut down on disposable items
- Consider growing your own food - Check out Miravel's Simple Garden
Swap Daily Goods for Reusable Options
Related to single-use plastic in food consumption, plastic materials designed for “one-time-use” are lurking in all corners of our homes. From our toothbrushes to shampoo bottles to paper towels, this “use and throw away” approach has become second nature and can be an intimidating habit to break. Luckily, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to reduce waste.
Take a look around your home and see if there are plastic or one-time-use items that you could replace for a reusable option. Below are a few common household items to start with:
- Upgrade from dryer sheets to dryer balls - traditional dryer sheets are made with synthetics and are non-recyclable. Dryer balls are reusable and can cut drying time, reducing your energy usage from the dryer as well
- Bonus points if you can air-dry your clothes - this will cut your energy usage (and extend the life of your clothes!)
- Choose everyday options that are refillable - many beauty, household, and hygiene brands are now offering refillable pouches that can be recycled or packaging that can be composted. These little swaps will save you countless bottles of plastic
- Consider growing your own food to reduce all grocery store waste - Check out Miravel's Simple Garden
Knowledge is power but action changes the world. Comment with other ways you’re shrinking your environmental footprint below.