101 Ways to Show Love for Our planet (Earth Week Special)
Dear Conscious Fashionista,
We know - you care about the welfare of other people, and you care deeply about our planet. You love plants and animals, and nature never ceases to amaze you. You feel fortunate to have the blessings you have in your life, and they fuel your desire to personally contribute to our world's greater good.
But regardless, you still occasionally forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room. Sometimes, you just want to take an extra long, hot shower to unwind. Maybe you're a clean freak and just want to run the water longer while you wash your dishes and toss your clothes in the washing machine after every wear. And perhaps once in a while, you unintentionally leave something at home and just have to drive a dozen extra miles more than usual to make up for it.
And that's okay.
As much as we want to do everything we can to lower each of our own environmental footprints, we are human and imperfect (also, what is perfect, anyway?); sometimes, situations outside of our control affect our decision-making; and changing habits is undeniably difficult even if we have the best intentions.
Regardless, as Earth Day approaches, it's on your agenda to practice more compassion towards our planet and to instill new habits that can help you better conserve our natural resources.
So, we put together the following 101 ways you can lower your environmental footprints — many of which you have already heard of, and others you may not have consciously thought of.
But don't get overwhelmed - we came up with this many options just to show you how many different things you can do for our planet. Our recommendation is for you to just pick one - an earth-loving tip that excites you, that is super doable for you, and that you can act on this week.
- Shower 30 seconds to a minute less than you do now.
- Shower less frequently and only when you feel the need to.
- Flush the toilet only when you feel the need to.
- Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
- Turn off the tap while you soap up your hands and/or body.
- Check that your pipes are intact and fix any leaks you find.
Get a faucet aerator to install on all of your faucets.
- Use the dishwasher to bulk-wash your dishes when possible (and use it only when it’s full).
- Hang your clothes in the sun to air out and sanitize instead of always using the washing machine.
- Wash your clothes less often than you do now.
- Opt for cleaning products made with nontoxic and biodegradable ingredients.
- Opt for clothes made with nontoxic, natural dyes and finishes.
- Buy less virgin cotton shirts and more recycled ones.
- Bulk-soak your fruits and veggies in water to rinse rather than using continuous running water.
- Reduce your meat consumption (especially beef, which has the highest eco footprint of all meats).
- Support research and development for water conservation innovations and technology, such as drip irrigation, vertical farms, grey-water recycling tools, etc.
Opt for native plants over exotic ones.
- Collect natural rain water to water your plants with.
- Water your plants in the early mornings while the ambient temperature is cooler (when the water won’t evaporate as quickly).
- Go to car washes that recycle their water instead of hosing your car down at home.
- Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the drying machine when possible.
- When using the washing machine, use warm or cold water instead of hot.
- Let your dishes air dry instead of having it use its internal heater.
- Replace old, inefficient electronic appliances for newer ones with the Energy Star Label.
- Shower with warm water rather than hot water.
- Install low-flow shower heads that help save energy when you use less hot water.
- Shop for groceries at your local farmers’ markets to reduce food miles.
- Bulk-cook your food when possible.
- Don’t leave the fridge door open when you’re taking things out or putting groceries in.
Opt for room temperature water.
- Maximize your use of natural daylight and keep your lights off as much as possible.
- Turn on the heater / AC only when you’re overheating or freezing (not just when you feel a little uncomfortable, because your body can adjust to a certain extent).
- Opt for a hybrid, fuel-efficient, electricity-run, or second hand cars when buying or renting cars.
- Opt to walk, bike, or use public transportation whenever it makes sense to.
- Avoid driving during rush hour or traffic if you can.
- Route and bulk your errands in advance to reduce emissions from transportation.
- Opt for direct flights over ones with transfers when traveling via plane.
Opt for leisure activities that don’t require the use of electronics.
- Turn off your electronics when they are not in use.
- Switch out old light bulbs with compact, energy-saving fluorescent bulbs.
- Shop in bulk.
- Cut down on buying packaged foods.
- Bring your reusable water bottle and containers with you wherever you go.
- Keep some reusable bags in your car trunk and smaller ones you can roll up inside your purse.
- Take your thermos with you when buying hot beverages.
Swap your single-use paper towels with reusable towels.
- Opt for 100% biodegradable or recyclable products over others.
- Practice nose-to-tail, stem-to-stalk eating.
- Opt for products with the least amount of packaging materials (or cardboard, compostable materials).
- Avoid buying face or body scrubs with non-biodegradable, micro-plastic beads.
- Avoid buying new, non-biodegradable, petro-based clothes (made with virgin polyester, nylon, etc.).
- Say no to plastic straws.
- Avoid impulsive purchases and choose quality over quantity.
Opt for second hand, recycled, or up-cycled goods.
- Opt for menstrual cups or reusable pads if they work for you.
- Donate or resell unwanted products that are still in good condition.
- Buy reusable products over disposable ones.
- Opt in to all paperless billings.
- Report or call the places sending you junk mail and opt out.
- Use both sides of paper for your brainstorming sessions or reminder notes.
Learn about ecological balance and how different species live symbiotically and interdependently with one another.
- Eat lower in the food chain if you eat seafood (e.g., shell fish, shrimp, etc.).
- Opt for fish caught using gentler methods, such as “hook and line” or “pots and traps,” and avoid ones caught using “longlines” or “bottom trawlers,” which are notorious for damaging corals and by-catch.
- Avoid eating plant or animal species at risk of becoming endangered (e.g., Bluefin Tuna, Northsea cod, etc.) and opt for seafood with Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) labels (learn more from Seafood Watch).
- Dispose of your waste responsibly to not pollute natural environments and threaten the health of wildlife.
- Avoid products made from illegally poached animals.
- Avoid products that contain palm oil, which often come from deforested plantations.
- Incorporate more local, seasonal variety of veggies into your diet (to support the growth of lesser known crop species).
- Buy food produced in environments that support biodiversity (ideally biodynamic or foraged; otherwise, organic, small-scale farmed, gardened, etc.).
Opt for tourism activities that help to preserve rather than extract from local environments.
- Opt for conscious hotels and resorts committed to preserving their local ecosystems and minimizing their environmental impacts.
- Avoid buying souvenirs made from wildlife, especially when their sources are untraceable (e.g., bones, shells, coral, beaks, tusks, etc.).
- Opt for sustainably harvested wood products and paper with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications or similar.
- Opt to stay in high-rise apartment complexes over new, independent mansions that worsen urban sprawl.
- Leave no waste behind (especially plastic and other non-biodegradable trash) when you go hiking, camping, to the beach, etc., which can harm and suffocate wildlife.
- Do not buy exotic pets or plants and then release them into the wild, where they may become problematic invasive species and harm local biodiversity.
Support organizations working to fight climate change (which contributes to ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, mosquito-borne illnesses, etc.) from all angles.
- Support wildlife conservations and reputable captive breeding and reintroduction programs.
- Keep an eye out for and report any poaching, illegal hunting activity, or black markets you suspect of.
- Avoid buying products made with toxic materials that can indirectly harm healthy environments.
- Cultivate more plants within your home.
- Help to plant some trees in deforested areas in your region.
- Opt for carbon-offset shipping when mailing packages.
Pack and travel lightly.
- Opt for experiential purchases over material ones when possible.
- Volunteer at local nonprofit organizations during your spare time.
- Donate to nonprofit organizations (which are often underfunded) that have conservation and environmentalism at heart.
- Support research and development for renewable energy.
- Voluntarily offset your personal carbon emissions at the end of each year through transparent, established organizations.
- Support laws and regulations that tighten environmental policy and help protect our planet more.
- Take care of your own health first so you have the energy and motivation to act on your selfless values.
- Set good examples to people around you through action more so than words.
- Become more aware of the direct and indirect impacts of your daily habits and choices.
- Get to know the histories of the products you buy to better understand their holistic impacts.
- Support eco-oriented businesses using their power and influence for good.
- Dollar-vote for products and services that contribute to sustainability.
Learn as much as you can and share what you learn humbly with others.
- Practice gratitude towards everything that Earth has blessed you with in life.
- Savor and appreciate the simple beauties of nature.
- Contemplate the idea that without a healthy planet, there is no way we can be healthy as humans.
- Connect with nature more so you can hold on to and stay true to your purpose-driven desire to help our planet thrive.
Which tip rises to the top as what you want to act on this week? Share it with us on @consciousfashion and remember to give yourself some grace and celebrate every thing you do do.
Eco-living tips from 10 conscious fashionistas we've featured on @ConsciousFashion:
"One of my goals is to shop my closet and truly assess what pieces bring me joy (incorporating Marie Kondo) so I can start the season with a wardrobe that inspires me and truly makes me happy!" -- Cynthia, YouTuber at Inspiroue
"I always recommend that you start with the big four. The big four are plastic straws, plastic bags, water bottles, and coffee cups." -- Kathryn Kellogg of Going Zero Waste
"When you need something new, shop online from ethical brands or make a trip to your local consignment or sustainable boutique. If you're willing to put a little thought and research into it as you get started, shopping consciously will quickly become second nature." -- Aléna Tran, blogger at AllyCTran.com.
"Avoid setting unrealistic goals, and let the eco-process come naturally. It's not about reducing waste, it's about WANTING to reduce waste. Change your habits slowly but surely, because crafting a lifestyle takes time!" -- Brianna, zero-waste blogger of HABITS
"I've made it a goal to wear more of my mom's old clothes rather than buying new." -- Frances, slow living blogger
"Focus on filling the immediate needs of your closet with eco conscious fashion instead of trying to do an overhaul all at once. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed!" -- Kristen, blogger at Terra Vitae
"Do what lights you up. When I started doing (and being okay with doing) the things that lit me up, my life changed. I had more energy, I had better relationships, and had the right mindset to create a life that I had only dreamed of." -- Jackie Hope, writer and consultant
"Begin by simply being more mindful of the little things throughout your day. When you wash your hair, think about the potential impact your shampoo might have on your health and the planet's health. As you head to work, consider whether you're taking the most earth-friendly form of transportation. Paying attention is the first step." -- Abigail Davidson, conscious life coach at The School of Wellbeing
"I have been trying to really adopt a meditation routine that's proactive rather than reactive. Slowing down and taking the time to look within and just 'be' is so important to me. It helps recenter my mind and body from the inside out and also helps me wake up if I'm ever in a fog." -- Kara Ladd, blogger and conscious cancer survivor
"In regards to fashion, an easy solution is to buy vintage clothing, aka saving beautiful pieces from the landfill and giving them a new life!" -- Alex Goldsmith, vintage fashion hunter and blogger at Stay Goldy
Note On The List:
The categories we've listed in terms of environmental care are not absolute (i.e., we could have approached grouping the tips based on land-use efficiency, pollution control, green house gas reduction, etc.), nor are they mutually exclusive. For example, cutting down on meat consumption has multi-benefits for the environment - helping us to conserve water and energy while reducing green house gas emissions. Or, choosing native plants over exotic ones can help us to save water, reduce footprints from transportation, and offset carbon emissions.
Although this is a long list, it is by no means exhaustive, and we highly encourage you to find tips beyond the ones mentioned for yourself. These tips may not all work for you, so please focus on the ones that are most feasible to you right now and take baby steps forward. As you dive deeper into your conscious lifestyle journey, please also remember to be gentle with yourself, stay openminded to challenging what you already know, maintain a curiosity to learn more, and experiment to find what works best for you.
If you've found this article helpful or think it can help a friend, please pass it along so we can empower more people to savor life while making the world a better place, and join us on Instagram @consciousfashion.