We are all aware by now that our planet is in crisis. Whenever you turn on the TV, radio or internet at the moment, you are flooded with scary news stories that make it sound like Armageddon is mere days away. So, how can you continue to practice self-care in the face of all this fear? The answer lies in caring for yourself through caring for the earth.
Step Up and Be Counted
Although it may not feel like it sometimes, your actions and decisions can make a difference to the fate of the world. International companies and organizations are the ones who can create a positive impact on a larger scale, so it is up to us to make sure that they maintain a healthy awareness of and focus on important social and ecological issues. Strategies that aim to reduce waste, increase recycling amongst employees and use sustainable materials are slowly becoming the norm in many companies from a wide range of sectors. Consumer pressure is the strongest contributor to this move forwards, so it’s up to us to put our money where our mouth is.
Alternatively, initiatives like Earth Day are a great example of how many individuals and organisations coming together to act on the same issue can have an enormous positive impact outside of consumerism. The reason that Earth Day has been so far-reaching is because it combines simple, yet effective action that is accessible to everyone with the promotion of a clear, understandable message. It’s all well and good being a conscientious consumer, but it’s the meaning behind it all that carries the most importance. Getting involved with fun activities that are not only good for you but also good for the planet really drives the idea home.
In the spirit of making things as easy and accessible as possible, I’ve made a list of actions you can take that will not only benefit the environment, but also yourself!
1. Green Groceries – The average American family can spend anything from $150 – $300 a week on groceries. That’s a lot of spending power! Rethinking where you do your weekly shop can have a significant impact on the earth, save you money, introduce you to new products and forge ties with your local community.
Depending on where you live, you will have different shopping opportunities available to you. The number one best thing that you can do is shop local. By this, I mean patronize local independent businesses, particularly those that sell produce grown or assembled in the local area. The less travelling your food has done, the less impact it has on the planet and the more yummy nutrients it retains for your benefit.
Shopping at local independent businesses also means that you’ll receive a more personalized experience and may even cultivate meaningful relationships with the business owners themselves. This is great for strengthening your sense of community and for combating any loneliness that may arise from your living situation.
2. Cruelty-free Cosmetics – Another area to consider when parting with your hard earned cash is cosmetics. Everything from face cream to shower gel to make-up to toothpaste falls into this category, so you can imagine how profound an effect your choices can have.
The first label to look for is ‘cruelty free’, which ensures that no animal testing has occurred in the production of the product. Using this as a baseline, you can then go on to look for other labels like ‘organic’, ‘ethically made’, ‘fair trade’, ‘paraben free’ and so on. Global companies with a conscience, like Lush and The Body Shop are dedicated to creating cruelty free products and making them easily accessible to customers. Treating yourself to a heavenly bath bomb or a new body cream from one of these manufacturers is the perfect way to indulge in a little me time, safe in the knowledge that nobody had to get hurt for you to do so.
3. Radical Recycling – As consumers, we get through millions of plastic containers every year, many of which end up in landfill or our beautiful oceans. To combat this tidal wave of trash, you might want to consider recycling old bottles and packaging to give them a new lease of life. Many places now offer to refill your used cartons with new products, rather than selling you more plastic wrapping. You could even choose to go plastic-free and fill your favorite glass jam jars, Mason jars or milk bottles with shampoo, olive oil or dried foods. Not only will this method add a kooky, crafty vibe to your home, it will also reduce your single-use plastic waste. And it’s a great excuse to get out your label maker!