So you eat a mostly plant-based diet, avoid fast fashion, and always get your oat milk latte in a reusable cup. What other ways are there for you to inject some more eco-consciousness into your daily routine?
The truth is, we all (should) never stop growing. There is always a way to live a little greener, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be about making huge changes. Usually, all we need to do is keep learning, and improve as we go.
To help you on this journey, we’ve compiled a list of four easy changes you can make this week to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Simple and fun, these ideas will immediately fit into your daily routine, and can build up to big improvements overtime.
Get less packaged products
Reducing our waste can be tricky in today’s world of pre-packaged snacks and single-use plastic. Many of us aspire to live like our favorite zero-waste influencers (Hi, Lauren Singer!), only to then get discouraged by the realities of daily life.
To combat this, try setting yourself smaller, more concrete goals. This week, pick one item you would normally buy wrapped in plastic, and replace it with a package-free alternative.
This can be a meal (e.g. bringing your own lunch salad rather than getting it from the supermarket), a grocery item (buying rice in bulk rather than in a packet), or a cosmetic product (getting a shampoo bar instead of a bottle).
By choosing to concentrate on just one thing, you focus your attention and make it easier for yourself to follow through with your resolution.
Every week, you can try adding one more product to your package-free list – eventually, all the items will add up and will help you reduce your plastic waste significantly.
Listen to a podcast
Knowledge enables us to practice critical thinking and make better, more informed choices. One of the most important things you can do as an (aspiring) eco-activist is to continue learning more about environmental problems and the steps we can take to prevent them.
Podcasts are a great (and free!) way to expand your awareness, and luckily there are many that focus exclusively on sustainability and ecology.
Environmentalism is a vast sea of information, so it can be hard to get an understanding of all its different aspects. This is where podcasts come in handy, as each episode introduces you to a different topic within the world of eco-activism.
Some podcasts focus entirely on a specific area of eco-friendly living (we recommend listening to The Minimalists). Others, like the Deliciously Ella podcast, have expanded their scope to include a multitude of topics, such as veganism and fast fashion.
Whichever one you end up going for, tuning into a podcast while you do the dishes is bound to have a dual positive effect – it will ensure that you are well entertained while doing your chores, while also improving your understanding of environmentalism.
Cook dinner using only products you have at home
What's the common thread between the wilted spinach in your fridge, those overripe bananas on the kitchen counter, and the sad bag of crackers sitting in the cupboard? They are all by-products of making one-too-many purchases at the grocery store.
It can be tempting to always get exactly the ingredients we want or what the recipe calls for, but this often leads to tonnes of wasted products (like that jar of capers you bought and never used again...).
The truth is, most recipes can be adapted so that they work with the products we already have at home. Sure, you might prefer having your risotto with peas, but the green beans you bought the other day will probably work just fine.
Set yourself the goal of cooking a dinner using only items you already have at home. You are not allowed to make any extra trips to the grocery store – if there’s an ingredient that you’re missing, you can adapt by either replacing it with something else, or skipping it altogether (so long as it’s not essential, of course).
This cooking challenge is a fun way of spearheading your creative thinking, and will leave you surprised by how much you can do with products you already have at hand. Better yet, doing this regularly will help you use up a lot of the “forgotten” items in your kitchen cupboards.
Bonus points if you invite some friends to enjoy the finished result!
Share the inspiration
The thoughts we share – both on social media and in real life – can have a ripple effect, changing the world in either positive or negative ways. This is why speaking up about environmentalism is an important aspect of living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Make it your conscious intention to spread the word about eco-activism in any way that you can. Use your social media platforms to either amplify existing environmental media (by sharing articles on plastic pollution, for example), or to generate your own “green” content (e.g. by posting plant-based recipes).
You can bring the conversation out into the real world, too. Offer your friends to join a green rally together, or talk to your parents about the importance of eco-activism.
You don’t have to be a social media influencer with millions of followers to be able to make a difference. You also don’t need to have a perfectly eco-friendly, zero-waste, vegan lifestyle in order for your efforts to count.
All you need to do is educate yourself and make consistent, positive changes.
And what better time to start doing that than right now?
Images from www.pinterest.com