Earth Day (22 April), is an occasion to stand up for environmental change, originally founded in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell, who proposed a day to honour the planet and the concept of peace, at the UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement, a historic treaty aimed to put in place climate protection standards, was signed by 122 countries.
Today, Earth Day is an opportunity to spread the message about living eco-friendly in order to tread more lightly on our planet and implement small yet significant changes in our lifestyle and our environment. For most of us, that means making tweaks to our everyday lives (although collective action is crucial to making substantial changes – see this story from Eco Warrior Princess on why). We at Team Vilda have rounded up a few easy tips that will make eco living that bit easier.
Tweak your diet
“Eat local and seasonal food. The amount of food in our supermarkets that comes from far away places is insane. I am not only concerned about the added costs and pollution caused by transporting this food around the world, but also about the exploitation of local workers who are precariously employed to produce cheap and non-seasonal food for our consumption. By shopping locally, I know that I support farmers and food producers who are local to me, often working under great pressure to stay in business. Eating and shopping locally and seasonally also gives me back my connection to the food I eat. I learn the value of every bite I take and have a better understanding of how much goes into producing the food on my plate.”
-Kathi Kamleitner, Travel Writer
Cut down your plastic consumption
“Choose products with minimum or no wrapping. Plastic pollution is among the worst environmental challenges of our time. It’s a threat to our oceans, harms wildlife and contaminates our food and water.
– Switch to reusable containers. They will also look prettier on your kitchen shelves than standard supermarket packaging!
– Choose farmer’s markets over supermarkets, as usually there is much less wrap involved because of the lack of transportation
– Look for shops in your town that offer refills for products such as pasta, grains, legumes, washing-up liquid, soap and much more.”
-Giulia Panna, Innovation Officer
“My husband and I started composting a few years ago. It definitely felt different when we first started but now we don’t even think about it. Composting is excellent —even if you don’t use the “black gold” for any gardening activities—because it allows food waste to actually biodegrade, which it won’t do in a landfill, as least not in any natural, relatively quick way. Right now I’m working on my plastic consumption, and my concrete goal is no more coffee to-go cups, and I tote around my reusable mug. It’s a small goal, and it doesn’t solve all of my plastic-use problems, but these little changes add up and eventually become the new norm. They can help if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed with getting started.”
-Mary Hood Luttrell, Beauty Editor
Don’t shop ’til you drop
“Buy less clothes. The way we currently over-produce and over-consume fashion is poisoning our air and water, contributing to climate change, endangering wildlife and killing countless animals, not to mention contribute to human slavery. To break the damaging cycle, we all have to act collectively to drastically reduce the things we buy and use. Buy things that will last. Support smaller, ethical retailers and choose second hand whenever you can. Build up a wardrobe that works for many occasions. But most importantly, fall in love with what’s already in your wardrobe – it’s buying less and consuming less that will ultimately make a difference. ”
-Sascha Camilli, Founding Editor
Re-examine your daily routine
“We all lead on-the-go lives, and it’s easy to feel like there’s so much commitment and time needed to invest in being eco-friendly that it’s not possible to make a difference without a huge time commitment. However that’s not true!
Look at your daily routine, see where there are actions or items you do weekly or daily where it would be an easy switch with more sustainable or reusable actions or items.
You don’t have to do everything, just do something. Once that action becomes a habit, and it’s second nature and therefore feels easy, then add your next item in.
For example plastic straws were a huge one for me – in the USA we use 500 million plastic straws a day! Plastic straws have climbed to the number 5 item found in our oceans.
Buying a pack of metal straws, having them at home, and throwing one in my bag to bring to work, or wherever I am was super easy. Knowing that when I enjoy my delicious drink, a turtle won’t later end up with that straw in his nose, feels great.
Other easy swaps include:
Giving up eating meat.
Walking more and driving less.
Keeping a reusable cup with you.
Cloth napkins over paper.
Keep a reusable bag in your larger bag at all times for use at the grocery store.
Switch to paperless billing, more efficient and less to throw out!”
-Djuna Da-Silva, Fashion & Social Media Editor
For more eco-friendly living tips, follow Vilda on Twitter
Photos by Daniel Hjalmarsson, Rawpixel and Nielsen Ramon via Unsplash