Marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson once wrote, “For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’”
Imagine waking up one day and not seeing any trees, grass or flowers. Imagine not being able to take a hike or canoe on a lake. Imagine the day we run out of nonrenewable resources. I know I do not want to.
Living a sustainable, minimalist lifestyle can seem daunting. You may doubt your ability to change old habits. However, once you understand the environmental impacts of your actions, it gets easier.
Vicky Chen, who was in the recycling club her senior year of high school, said that she believes recycling and leading a sustainable lifestyle is important because “by repurposing recyclable materials, we can reduce the amount of waste products disposed in landfills that would otherwise sit for centuries before natural decomposition occurs.”
Chen also stated, “It’s the little things people use and throw away everyday that can make a big difference in the long run.” Choose to start making a difference in the environment today by utilizing this informative advice.
10 Ways to Become More Eco-Friendly Today
Everyone knows to use reusable water bottles and shopping bags, but here are some lesser-known tips to help you lead an even more sustainable lifestyle.
-Start buying and using microfiber towels, old t-shirts, or cotton dish rags instead of paper towels. Dirty paper towels cannot be recycled.
-Start a small garden in your backyard or even on your kitchen countertop. Nothing beats fresh grown produce right from your own home, plus plants help purify the air.
-Trade your current light bulbs for LED or CFL light bulbs if you do not currently own them. They consume less energy than incandescent ones.
-Invest in a shower timer and a water-saving shower head. It will amaze you how much water you have wasted previously.
-When doing laundry, only dry the clothes you are going to wear within the next few days. The other clothes should be air-dried instead to conserve energy.
-Ask for digital notices, bills, and invitations instead of getting them in the mail to create less paper waste.
-Check out trendy and stylish metal straws! They are reusable and come in a variety of colors. Plastic straws are a danger to wildlife, and contribute to ocean pollution.
-Store gift bags and boxes you receive for future uses instead of going out and buying gift bags and boxes—that way they are there when you need them.
-Make your own natural home cleaners. For flat surfaces, water and vinegar are most fitting, and for clothes, you can use saponin from quinoa as detergent. They are eco-friendly because they do not pollute the environment or release toxins.
-Invest in solar energy chargers along with solar water heaters. These can reduce energy costs along with noise pollution and greenhouse gases.
Sustainable Superstar: Laura Preshong
I chatted with the owner of Laura Preshong Ethical Fine Jewelry about how buying jewelry from ethical stores can contribute to a better environment.
How did your brand mission, “make ethically sourced jewelry we would like to wear, treat people the way we would like to be treated and protect our human rights and environment like our lives depended on it” come to be?
The business mission statement comes from my heart. What I believe is the best way to run a business.
What are the environmental impacts of mass-produced jewelry and accessory?
The environmental impacts are the devastation that comes with clearing large areas of land for mining. Mining produces chemicals that leach into the water which disrupts the migration of animals. Any type of large-scale anything is horrible for the environment and usually pays very little.
Where and how did Laura Preshong Ethical Fine Jewelry begin using the manufacturing practices that the store stands by currently?
We started our ethical sourcing and branding around 2010. There was a small movement by independent brands after the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Blood Diamond,” and we joined in.
Can you go into detail and expand on the statement that you “use very little large scale manufacturing or chemical processes in our ethically sourced jewelry”?
We are hand making everything in our Boston studio. Less big manufacturing means less impact and waste on and in the environment. All of our diamonds are sourced from Botswana, Africa, or Canada; all the rest of our materials are U.S. made.
What is some advice you have for teenagers who want to begin living a more sustainable life?
Reduce, reuse and recycle.