To celebrate Earth Day, we want to take a look at what we can do at home to make a difference.
As of April 2019, the Earths population is at 7.7 Billion people. That is a lot of people. A lot of resources. A lot of pressure.
To put it into perspective, imagine you have two kids at home. That seems do-able. Sometimes things are a bit tight, but for the most part, life is good. Resources are available for all in the family. But then you find out you are pregnant, with twins! Those adequate resources quickly turn into too little. The pressure is on. Mom and Dad feel stressed. You are selling off things to make ends meet and eating less so you can feed your four hungry mouths.
It’s the same for the planet. At this time, Earth has resources for all. The problem, however, lies in that humans are not eating for one. They are not dressing for one. They are not living for one.
Overconsumption and Waste.
Overconsumption is a disease in our modern culture. We have too much stuff. Look in your closets. Is it a wardrobe for one, or many? Look in your garage with stuff crammed into boxes. We all have too much stuff, and we also eat and waste a shocking amount of food.
Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilograms but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 per cent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 per cent, or 683 million tonnes, of the world’s waste.
Many countries are in dire poverty and need the very basics in life. Yet the first world suffers from something far more insidious – overconsumption. It is not the fault of the people. We are raised from the get-go to buy into it all. If you have never been shown anything else, how would you know anything different? But knowledge is power and knowledge put into action is wisdom. It’s available to us all. Together, we can all add up to a significant change for the better.
Ways you can make a powerful impact on the Earth.
ATTENTION: This won’t always be easy. People may poke fun at your takeaway utensils and over the top recycling. But that’s OK. Kill it with kindness. You may also forget your reusable cups or shopping bags. Don’t get yourself down. It will become second nature over time.
Recycling and up-cycling are fantastic. They are great ways to reduce waste and also reduce the need for raw materials in production. Sadly, it’s not enough. Recycling has become quite efficient and is terrific at reducing landfill mass; however, at the end of the day, it’s not enough when there are 7.7 billion people in the world. REcycling still requires the use of raw materials and a lot of what we think can be recycled, can’t.
We need to realise that we don’t need so much stuff. We don’t need to have 20 shorts and 15 pairs of pants and a million pairs of shoes. Kidding aside, women on average have 19 pairs of shoes and 15% have over 30 pairs. The catch is that women only really wear five pairs regularly. We all have too much stuff and most of it we don’t use.
Minimalism is a concept creeping into the cracks of consumerism and its gaining traction. But what defines minimalism? Does it mean you have nothing but a mattress and a cup in your house? Of course not. Minimalism means having that which you need only and that’s that. If you are honest with yourself, do you need beyond what you use?
How to implement minimalism?
- Clean out your closet, clean our your home. I love Mari Kondo. She is power women from Japan, promoting the idea of living in a space that sparks Joy. Everything in your home sparks Joy in your heart. Follow her advice in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. She also has a slot on Netflix now; a must watch to see how she can transform your life.
- Buy only when you really need something. It can be a hard lesson. Impulse buying is real. It’s a practice to walk in a shop and see something and stop yourself. I usually ask myself, “Do I need this?”
- See all the stuff in your home as energy in your life. Something that helped me was to view all my things as my energy extension of myself. I had to use my energy to look after it all—cleaning and storing takes from our energy reserves. I also found by lightening my stuff load; I had more space for other amazing opportunities to come my way.
- Enjoy the money you save for things that matter. Buy saying no to the things you just don’t need; you can save money to do something that genuinely brings you joy. You can also consolidate debt by spending less.
- Don’t keep things for in case. Maybe like me, you are a “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” kinda person. So letting go of the stuff, I thought I might need was not easy. But what I learnt is that you can easily ask to borrow or even rent things.
I love The Minimalists. They are changing the game of consumerism and showing people our stuff is clouding the path of joy in our lives.
Support Ethical Brands and Companies.
There is a lot of controversy within the vegan world – should vegans support fast food companies? Big food companies like McDonald’s are launching vegan burgers. On the one hand, this is great. They are offering a better option. On the other hand, however, by buying from McDonald’s, we are supporting a company that still have adverse effects on the environment and people.
It’s interesting; the focus has been on people to change their spending habits and purchasing decisions to create change. But maybe this is an easy way out. Of course, as consumers, we can make a difference in what we buy, and request better waste management, production practices and fair treatment of workers.
But if the people that run the organisation don’t genuinely care, then corners will always be cut. Profit will forever dominate. We should call on business owners to stand up for what’s right. To make the best choices when it comes to what raw material they use, how they treat their employees and what they do with waste.
And companies are doing just that. Companies and brands that pride themselves on their ethical principles. These are the companies we should support and boycott the others that don’t fall in line. Is it not worth your future, the future of our kids to demand better?
There has been a significant movement towards reducing plastic. Plastic has infiltrated our environment on every level with around 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste across the planet. That’s almost a ton of plastic for each person on this Earth.
The problem with plastic is it takes centuries to break down. And even when it breaks down, it breaks down into tiny micro pieces of plastic. You can find this microplastic across our oceans, rivers and lakes. We drink them, and for those that love seafood, you eat it.
Plastic is useful, no doubt. But the impact it has on our environment, and people far outweigh the benefits. Not only is it polluting our environment, but plastic also has severe effects on our health.
As plastics break down, they release tiny fragments into the environment that humans can swallow or inhale. Doing so can cause problems like inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis and necrosis, which can lead to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other potentially deadly or chronic ailments.
So what’s the solution?
- Reusable carry bags
- Reusable Fresh produce bags
- Use your own stainless steel lunch tin
- Buy an eco-friendly reusable coffee cup for coffee stops
- Reusable water bottle
- Invest in a bamboo cutlery set
- Add in some metal straws to your on the go cutlery set.
- Use glass for food storage
- Reusable silicone food bags
- Buy beauty products in glass, biodegradable plastic or try shampoo bars
- Create eco-bricks with unrecyclable plastic waste.
The point is not to be perfect. It is to do what you can where you can. Don’t go and throw all plastic out and bankrupt yourself. Take it slowly. Start making better choices now and phase out the bad stuff. Up-cycle or adequately recycle the non-eco-friendly goods in your house as you bring in the more ethical options. Every little act counts. Slow and steady wins the race.
Consider having Smaller Families.
A quite controversial idea. But there is merit. It’s not to say don’t have any kids, we all have that right. We can, however, make better decisions. The human population is growing exponentially, and it’s nearing its limits. Our resources can simply not keep up with the growing population.
Choosing to have a smaller family means you are taking into consideration their future. It’s not about us now, it’s about them, and their kids. If we are cautious now, they can live in a world that’s beautiful and full of life. If we carry on like we are, they will be forced to have no children. They may live in a world where gas masks are routine, and people will only know wildlife from books in the history section.
Overpopulation is a major cause of most of the world’s problems. Whether it is a question of food shortage, lack of drinking water or energy shortages, every country in the world is affected by it – or will be.
Paul Gerbrands, Overpopulation Awareness
Making a conscious decision only to have one child may feel limiting now, but its a choice for the future. It’s an intentional action taken to ensure that our children and their children have a beautiful, healthy and stable future.
Support the Environment
Along with all the above, there are some things we can do to support our more substantial home, planet Earth. You can do these with friends and family. For educational purposes or just a fun Sunday.
Plant some Trees
Many amazing organisations take on reforestation projects locally and in places of need. You can either do a great eco-holiday with the family where you plant some trees and help local communities. Alternatively, you could go to your local nursery and ask about some indigenous trees you can plant in your yard.
Also, support companies that support the Amazon. The role of the Amazon in our global weather system is crucial. We need to support and preserve.
Create a garden that supports biodiversity
Gardening for biodiversity is a great way to support your local environment. You can grow indigenous plant species that attract local insects and wildlife. You can also grow your own vegetables. This is a great way to save some money and also skip on the nasty chemicals that come along with commercial food crops.
Space is of no concern. There are great inventions out these days to do vertical gardens or balcony gardens. If you don’t have space for that, why not band up with some locals to create a community garden.
Community gardens are amazing. They bring people together. They support locals with healthy fresh food and also help the natural environment. A clear win-win!
Support local wildlife
The diversity of animal species is declining. We are losing species of animals at an alarming rate. It doesn’t feel serious sitting in Starbucks, but we are all part of the eco-system, and sooner or later, it will catch up to us.
Typically, between one and five species will go extinct annually. However, scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, with multiple extinctions daily. Numerous species will disappear before we learn about them or the benefits they bring to our planet.
Support initiatives that are looking after habitats that are the homes of different wildlife. There are many amazing organisations; it’s just a matter of searching on the net and finding the one you resonate with the most.
Of course, a great way to preserve natural habitats is to eat less meat. It’s a common misconception that the soy that ravages the Amazon is grown for consumption, most soy is grown to feed livestock, and only a small fraction is grown for human use. Cutting back on meat is a sure way to reduce demand and production. If you do choose to eat meat, then opt for organic locally sourced. Yes, its more expensive, but are those few pounds worth the devastation of the planet?
Small Changes, Big Effects
For most people, thinking about changing the way they do things seems intimidating and also like a lot of work. But once you allow yourself to connect to the reality of what’s going on, change comes quickly.
For example, if someone is vegan, it doesn’t mean that sometimes wouldn’t enjoy a toasted cheese sandwich. What stops them is the reality of the dairy industry. When a person feels lazy to organise their recycling, great motivation is to remember the big garbage patch in the Pacific.
The smallest of changes all add up. Take on what you can where you can. Share your inspiration with others and get accountability. Make it fun for the family and enjoy the journey with your partner and community.
Be brave. Do what’s right.
If you have any questions about where to start or how to go about an idea, please contact Dolma Vegan Perfumes. We are always happy to help.