BRONX, NY- Happy Earth Day! Every day is Earth Day for me, because our planet needs our help now more than ever. Has anyone noticed that while we have been in quarantine, the earth has been slowly healing itself? Less pollution and human interference have led to the ozone layer closing. Animals are roaming free in places they did not have access to before. The smog has cleared up in Los Angeles and people can see the city skyline. Italy’s waterways are so clean now that dolphins and jellyfish have returned.
All this proves that we humans are a virus to the planet. We need to do better to help Mother Earth continue to heal. Believe it or not, there are smalls ways you can go green at home that can make a huge impact. I have implemented these tips into my own lifestyle and refuse to go back to my old ways. There is even a way to make your cell phone environmentally friendly.
- This one is a given: turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth and take shorter showers. Gallons of water are wasted while the faucet is running. Fish are our friends. Use a bamboo toothbrush and switch to a vegan toothpaste or make your own with a few natural ingredients. Check out Bite Toothpaste for a sustainable alternative to your oral healthcare routine.
- Millions of cotton swabs end up in our oceans every year. Earth Insider provide reusable swabs to solve this problem. I been using the swabs for a few months and love it. Easy to clean! Bamboo make up wipes are also sold. There are also eco-friendly razors on the market. You can keep your face and the earth clean.
- Mason jars are great for storage. I use one as a toothbrush holder and another to dispense soap. Look into homemade soaps, shampoo bars and conditioners made from natural ingredients. The bars avoid the use of plastic containers.
- Who Gives A Crap makes toilet paper from recycled bamboo plants. Not only does the company have a great name, but it also uses 50% of the profits to build toilets in third-world countries. The paper the rolls are wrapped in can also be reused for fun projects. I wrapped gifts with it.
- Reusable pads and menstrual cups save the planet and money. There is enough stress during that time of the month and thinking about our impact on the planet shouldn’t be one of them. Did you also know sustainable feminine hygiene products are also healthier? Go for it!
- Meal prep is your best friend in the kitchen. Do you have any idea how much food waste happens when meals are not planned out? How much money you can save if you stick to a weekly shopping list? The answer to both questions is A LOT! I started meal prep last year and the benefits have been amazing. I am more health-conscious of what goes into my body, which means my overall health has been improving, and my pockets have a few more dollars in it. There are so many ways to reduce food waste with meal prep. If you want a good start, I recommend Fit Men Cook. Support farmer’s markets to get organic foods and products. Always wash produce when you bring it home.
- Look around your kitchen and count how many cups, bowls, and utensils are made from plastic. I bet it’s a lot, right? I had a “holy crap” moment when I took inventory of the plastic in my own kitchen. Switch to ceramic, glass, metal, or silicone materials. The planet will thank you. Check out NetZero Co., Stojo, and Stasher for earth friendly products. Final Straw is a company that makes reusable straws, which I highly recommend because I am tired of seeing videos of sea turtles having plastic straws stuck up their noses. Let them breathe!
- A water filter is a must for keeping things sustainable. Water filters eliminate toxins in the tap water. Aluminum and BPA-free reusable bottles are perfect to stay hydrated. Reusable bottles come in different sizes and reduce the amount of plastic bottles that end up in our oceans and landfills. I carry one with me all the time. Use a glass pitcher to store water in your fridge and refill it when empty. It is important to keep your body hydrated, and if plain water is not your thing, you can infuse the taste by using different fruits.
- Recycle! I cannot emphasize this enough. Recycle all your trash and use the correct bins.
- If you have the space, grow your own herbs, fruits, and veggies. It will save you money and a few trips to the grocery store. You will also feel better about using them in your meals since the produce came from your own home (pesticide free).
- Consume less dairy and meat. Go plant based. I know how difficult this can be because I still struggle with this one. I switched to planet-based milk like almond, oat, and soy. Try vegan recipes and see what works for you.
Living Room and Bedroom
- Energy efficient light bulbs last longer and lower your energy bills. Keep your home cool in the summers with black out curtains, or warm it up in the winter by letting the sunlight in. Open windows provide fresh air when needed.
- House plants are perfect at providing clean air at home. Succulents, spider plants, and snake plants are basic ones to start out with. I am not great at taking care of plants, but I am sure the rest of you can handle it.
- Clothing can be reused. Tear old t-shirts to make cleaning rags. T-shirts can be transformed into pillows or tote bags (the ideas are endless). Cut up and hem long jeans into shorts. I tuned a pair of denim shorts into a tool belt. Donate clothes you no longer wear to someone in need. Blankets, bed sheets, towels, and old sweaters can be given to animal shelters.
- Unplug all electronics when not in use or invest in an eco-friendly power strip. Most tech devices now come with power-saving features, so use it! Lowering the brightness on your phone and purchasing glasses with blue-light protection can save your eyesight. Pela sells biodegradable phone cases because plastic cases are another nuisance in landfills. Retail stores like Staples and BestBuy recycle your old electronics for you when you bring it to the store.
- Cleaning your home can also be green by using a few ingredients from your kitchen: lemon, baking soda, vinegar, water, and essential oils. This alternative is important to me because strong chemicals from certain cleaning products triggers my asthma. You can find various green cleaning recipes online. Mix it up, pour it in a spray bottle, and get to making your home squeaky clean. There are also recipes for replacing laundry detergent.
I can continue the list to make your life as green as possible, but I do not feel like overwhelming you. I understand it can be expensive to switch to an environmental- friendly lifestyle, but the investment is worth it. Try to find a green alternative to all aspects of your life. Fashion companies are looking into sustainable clothing. Thrifting has become the best way to find dope fashion.
Attend climate change rallies and let politicians hear your voice. Many do not believe in climate change but continue the fight. Corporate greed is leading to the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest. Oil companies continue fracking in the arctic. Smog is caused by major manufacturing industries and waste is being disposed in our oceans. We need to be a voice for animals and the environment.
Climate change is a big deal to me because I grew up around nature. Spending my summers in Puerto Rico taught me various lessons on taking care of the earth. If you are kind to the planet, it finds a way to thank you back. As Jane Goodall says “what you do makes a difference. And you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Stay safe!
Image Banner: Rosa Elena Burgos
Last Updated: January 14, 2022