Live Every Day Like It's Earth Day
Each year, Earth Day comes around on April 22nd and we get motivated to make positive changes in our lifestyle that will help the environment. But how can we make sure that the effort we put into being environmentally-conscious that day doesn't slip away as the days and weeks go on?
The key is simply to start small. Pick one thing you can focus on for the next week and stick to it. Over time, those small habits will become second nature. Just like in your yoga practice, start where you are, give it a try, and keep practicing every day.
If you're not sure where to start, we've compiled a short list of ways to live every day like it's Earth Day.
1. Ditch the plastic
This year's Earth Day theme is to End Plastic Pollution - an ambitious but necessary goal. We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use. More than 8 million tons of it is dumped into our oceans every year (Plastic Oceans). You can use the Earth Day Networks' plastic consumption calculator to estimate your annual plastic usage and make a plan to reduce it. Be warned, plastic is everywhere and it can be challenging to completely eliminate it from your daily life, but every choice to opt-out of plastic helps.
- Refuse plastic bags as often as possible (make a habit of carrying a canvas bag with you in case you need it)
- Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic water bottles
- Look up local plastic recycling centers - most plastic bags and packing material are not recyclable in your municipal recycling program.
2. Consume consciously
On the market for new yoga clothes or gear? With the growing trend of conscious consumption - the business practice of embracing a more sustainable production methods and including a way to give back with the purchase - it's now easier than ever to buy products that give back. Check out these yoga companies that integrate sustainability in their business:
- Satva takes sustainability into account in every aspect of their business. They use organic and recycled materials, produce them in a way that's safe for the environment and beneficial for workers, and invest in education and livestock in the rural area's where Satva's organic cotton is cultivated.
- Girlfriend Collective's new Globe collection - a beautiful rich sea green color - donates 10% of net profits to the Rainforest Action Network
- Jade Yoga Mats (my personal favorite) plants a tree for every mat sold. (Great minds think alike)
3. Green your skincare routine
Every morning, you (hopefully) wash your face and get yourself ready for the day. But some common skincare products contain very environmentally harmful ingredients. One that's been making headlines for the way it pollutes our water resources and ecosystems is microbeads. are tiny bits of plastic found in exfoliating body washes and facial scrubs. The UK has already banned them, but the US has not, leaving it up to us to make the conscious choice to buy products with natural exfoliants rather than plastic microbeads. In addition to environmental concerns, it's worthwhile to investigate the health impacts of some of your favorite skincare products. Use the ThinkDirty app to scan the items in your bathroom cabinet and assess their safety and find healthier alternatives.
4. Take it outside
For a change of scenery, take your yoga or meditation practice outside! With the temperatures finally warming up, it's time to start planning your spring and summer hikes. Practicing yoga outdoors, breathing in fresh air, and being surrounded by nature is an incredible experience. If you're in the New England area, check out Backcountry Yoga, an outdoor adventure company that leads hikes and yoga classes in the trails and mountains of New England - and beyond. They also offer retreats, trainings, and other fun local events. Whether with a group or solo, getting outside only strengthens your connection to the natural environment and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the health of our planet.
5. Stop sucking
Plastic straws suck. By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. A major contributor to that probem is single-use plastic straws. Now, we're not saying you can't ever use a straw to enjoy your favorite beverage, but consider some environmentally-friendly options. Strawless Ocean has put together a great list of straw alternatives to keep your conscience clean when you're enjoying your iced coffee or favorite beverage. Does your local coffee or juice shop use compostable straws and cups? Even better! If not, kindly suggest to the manager or owner to consider making the switch.
6. Eat more plants and less meat
Even moderate changes towards a more plant-based diet can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 percent and food-related water footprint by up to 36 percent (Food Tank). Growing plants is far less energy and water intensive than raising livestock, meaning there's a much lower impact on the environment. Additionally, choosing locally-grown food cuts down drastically on the amount of fuel needed to transport it to you - saving the atmosphere from harmful greenhouse gases. When eating meat, refine your meat consumption and choose products from companies who are striving to be socially and environmentally responsible. We see the most environmental harm from conventional livestock operations, but free range and grass-fed livestock have a slightly lower impact.
7. Practice on an eco-friendly yoga mat
If you're anything like me, you probably have a slight emotional attachment to your yoga mat. So how awful would it be to learn that your yoga mat is made from plastic and will end up polluting the earth in a landfill? Clean up your practice and make the switch to a natural rubber or other recyclable material yoga mat. Check out our latest article on how to find a great eco-friendly yoga mat and why it matters.
8. Waste less food
Around the world, some 1.3 billion tons of edible food go to waste every year and food waste contributes about 9 percent of all total greenhouse gases. But tied to the food waste itself, emissions tied to industry (the production of fertilizer), transportation (moving food around), buildings (to store food), energy (to refrigerate it), and agriculture all contribute it's environmental impacts. Making a priority to save more of your food will not only be helpful for the planet but also for your bank account.
- If you've got fresh produce that you think you might not be able to cook before it goes bad, freeze it! Or simply buy frozen fruits and vegetables, they retain their nutritional value and won't go bad and contribute to waste.
- Check out the comprehensive toolkit of tips and tricks for reducing home food waste, including an online recipe book and a storage guide, visit SaveTheFood.com, a joint project of the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Happy Earth Day, everyone! Let us know if you have already or plan to incorporate any of these earth-friendly habits into your daily routine. Let's make every day Earth Day.