In the spirit of honoring the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we look to ways that we can make positive changes to ensure the health and survival of our precious planet. If there is a silver lining to be grateful for during the COVID-19 crisis, it can be found in the clear skies, clean air, and the heartwarming images of wildlife swimming in cleaner rivers and oceans and a lone kangaroo happily hopping down the deserted city streets of Australia. It is not lost on us that our reluctance to change the way we behave and consume was taken out of our hands by Mother Nature, and so like good little children, we must continue to listen, act, obey and make her proud. Here are some top tips for being green and glorious.
Forget fast fashion
Now that we have some time to clear our heads and our closets, it’s the perfect opportunity to adopt the rethink/reuse/recycle mindset permanently. Take the advice of top personal stylists Beckie+Martina, who recommend a wardrobe declutter and investing only in pieces that you need. (The majority of us wear only 20% of our wardrobe, and the rest ends up in a landfill.) That said, forgo fast fashion in favor of more considered, sustainably made, built-to-last staples created with eco-friendly fabrics like Tencel and organic cotton, including a versatile dress, high-quality tees, a boyfriend blazer, and a timeless pair of wide-legged jeans. Not only will you save money, time, and effort, you will do your bit in saving our planet. And commit to buying a Cora Ball to toss in with your laundry to catch the microplastics present in synthetic fibers and prevent them from ending up in our waterways and oceans. The stats show we are consuming the equivalent of one credit card each week in microplastics, ugh!
Fight food waste
The shock of seeing our grocery shelves empty is another reason to pause, reflect, and recalibrate. One-third of global food produced (1.3 billion tons) is wasted annually, and one billion hungry people could be fed on less than a quarter of the food wasted in the US, UK, and Europe. Inspired by our newfound scarcity, we’re naturally embracing belt-tightening, stockpiling, cooking, and enjoying homemade meals. The new normal includes being more thoughtful about the foods you buy, prepare, and conserve. Only buy what you need and embrace imperfect produce (the stuff that’s not sprayed in chemicals). There are new subscription-based services here to help make it easier for you to do just that. You can also preserve fresh produce by pickling, freezing, or turning it into soup. Revisit the cans at the back of your shelf, empty your freezer, and then fill it back up with leftovers. And vow to eat less meat (skipping meat once a week is the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road) or switch to a plant-based diet (animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s transport system combined). Now is also the perfect time to support a local food bank.
Embrace remote work
You’ve got the WFH thing squared away — so let’s hope this leads to collective change. From autonomy to feeling happier and less stressed, the buzz and benefits of remote working was getting louder even before COVID-19. A stunning 80% of job seekers said they’d choose a job with a flexible WFH policy over one without. So rise up, and demand more flexibility, as you and our planet stand to win. With fewer commuters flying, driving and taking public transportation, we lower our carbon emissions and also reduce office waste and energy use. Take notice of when and where you can walk or ride a bike, for your health and Mother Earth’s.
Choose sustainable self-care products
Your health is directly related to the health of our planet, so embrace more natural, sustainable health, beauty, and wellness products. Read labels and choose all-natural remedies that are cruelty-free, vegan, and non-GMO, like our Save Your Sanity supplements and Energy drink mix (mix it with water in a reusable bottle, and enjoy an eco-friendly vitality boost). And rethink your sunscreen: just one drop of a chemical sunscreen is enough to contaminate a coral reef environment the size of 6.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. For more ways to choose sustainable products and practices, check out Drawdown by respected environmentalist and activist Paul Hawken, which offers 200 solutions to reverse global warming.
Take a virtual tour of Arcadia Earth (temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but it will be back) an 18-room exhibition powered by artificial reality that takes you on a mind-bending, multisensory journey through Mother Earth. There you will explore underwater worlds, mystical forests, and underground caves — including one made out of 44,000 discarded plastic bags: the number used in New York state every minute. (Thankfully NY State banned single-use plastic bags in March, let’s hope other states follow.) Created by experiential artist Valentino Vettori in association with Oceanic Global, it spotlights the most significant environmental threats facing our planet today. And it also inspires us all to make small lifestyle changes today that will have a substantial and lasting impact tomorrow.
As Vettori says, “There is no plan B — we must focus on what we can do, and not just continue to have fun in a bubble. And we can’t sit around waiting for the scientific community to solve this — it’s on us and we have the power to bring change. Say no to single-use plastic, eat less meat, waste no food, and shop more responsibly.”
(Photo: David Mitchell / Courtesy of Arcadia Earth)
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which came with an unprecedented, unanticipated planetary pause, let’s take that message to heart comforted by the knowledge that when we change our habits, we change our world. Mother would be proud.