How to Live Earth Day, Every Day
Every year, around this time of year, many big-name brands roll out their “green” marketing content in honor of Earth Day. We, the consumer, are informed – through a barrage of colorful info-graphics, artfully shot photography, and well-crafted Twitter posts – of the various ways that we can live an eco-conscious life according to said conglomerates. We’re also briefed (via not-so-subtle humble bragging) of these corporations’ respective sustainability initiatives and impressive eco-friendly programs.
Can’t you just picture an image of a CEO in a golf shirt and slacks, standing next to a tree he’s just planted in Guatemala? Too bad his private jet flight to Guatemala offset that contribution by 1,000,000 times.
Sometimes it feels like Earth Day isn’t about the planet anymore – it’s about marketing, image, and one-upmanship. So while we don’t necessarily want to succumb to the onslaught of Earth Day content we are sure you’re encountering today, we also don’t want to sit by and watch the spectacle unfold without offering our own perspective on the whole deal.
See, we don’t believe that the principles espoused on Earth Day (eco-consciousness, sustainability) are “trending” ideas that should be capitalized on. We see them as elements of a life well lived every single day. Which is why we wanted to share four of our tips living an Earth Day-worthy existence IRL, not just on April 22nd. Read on.
Earth Day, every day – that’s how we roll
Leave no “waste” – or beet green – behind.
There’s so much talk about “waste reduction,” that we as a culture are almost numb to the idea. As such, I actually like to take that concept and flip it on its head – when you do consume, make sure you are consuming as much of that given item as you can. Confused? Let me explain.
Say you’re buying beets at the Farmer’s Market. Don’t just use the beetroot; incorporate the (crazy healthy) beet greens, into your meal too. Making homemade almond milk? Hang onto the leftover almond meal and mix it into your granola for a protein boost. Have extra beer from a party that you can’t keep in the fridge? Dump some into your hair for a protein-rich conditioner. Be creative with your leftovers and you’ll find what was once “waste” is now the key to a better hair day, a delicious salad, or next morning’s breakfast.
This might seem counterintuitive – but stick with me. When it comes to material items, when you do consume, I believe in “consuming big.” It basically means investing – but truly investing – in fewer, better quality items.
For instance, resist the urge to buy a bunch of cheap, wear-them-once-then-hate-them fast fashion pieces and instead buy one really nice dress you love and will wear season long. Ditch the daily water bottle habit and instead buy that nice, reusableS’Well you’ve been eyeing for weeks. While the upfront cost might feel like more, it actually will be less, plus you’ll be a heck of a lot happier with the things you have. And, oh yeah, you won’t be wasting (or consuming) nearly as much.
…But think of the small stuff, too.
We tend to be so grand gesture-oriented when thinking of environmental impact, but there are so many small ways that you can easily reduce your consumption footprint – particularly when it comes to energy output.
For example, turning off electrical power strips when you leave your apartment or office can save a significant amount of energy. Ditto powering down laptops and even turning off smart mouses.
In your home, instead of blasting your heat, add another blanket to your bed, close your window drapes, light a fire, find a partner, and get your snuggle on. (This is also doubles as romantic advice, so you’re welcome.) In the summertime, in lieu of cranking up the AC, open up your windows, take a cold shower / soak your feet in a bucket of ice water before bed, turn OFF the stove (salad for dinner won’t kill you), and walk around with minimal clothing on. (Again, pseudo-romantic advice.)
Small acts = big changes.
Lastly, be curious and open-minded.
I was in sweetgreen (swoon) recently and saw that they had steelhead on the menu. I had never heard of steelhead before; it’s a type of trout fish and it’s a far more sustainable choice than over-farmed (and increasingly dirty) salmon. While I had doubts about trying a new, rather interestingly named fish, I gave it a whirl. Man, am I glad that I did. It’s delicious.
I wanted salmon but I was convinced to try steelhead because it was a more sustainable choice. It got me thinking: What could we do if we could affect that type of change on a bigger scale? That if we could all be more open to shifting the way we think in the context of the planet, real change could happen.
Here at S.W. Basics, we think beyond the immediate sale and beyond the Earth Day hubbub. We operate as a business that is good for the planet and for you and consider that mission to be the norm — even if that means we’re not producing our products as cheaply as the wasteful, big-ass big-name conglomerates.
But we want our way of thinking to become your norm, too, so we hope you’re open-minded. We also hope you’re curious and ready to start a conversation. We promise it’ll be a substantial dialogue that doesn’t gloss over important social and environmental issues as “trends.” We also promise that we will never, ever show you photos of our corporate tree planting outing.