“It is our collective and individual responsibility … to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.”
Growing up, we all dream of saving the planet in one way or another. Now we can. But there's a catch – we'll have to do it together, and there will be no superpowers involved.
Instead, it's the little choices we make day to day that'll save the planet, causing global warming, pollution, and resource fatigue a thing of the past. So, whether you quickly searched "how to reduce my environmental impact," were sent here by a well-meaning friend or however else you happened upon this article – we respect your devotion.
And in return, we'll help you figure out exactly what can be done. There are several ways to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the burden on the planet, and since time is of the essence – without further ado …
First things first:
Why reducing your carbon footprint matters
As the climate crisis intensifies, vulnerable communities worldwide are being harmed by droughts, heatwaves, rising sea levels, and more. Animals are faring no better, with many species teetering on extinction as their ecosystems are made inhabitable. Unfortunately, the damage and destruction continue to progress.
However, we're not helpless to change the tide. Instead of standing by, we can get active and choose change.
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact
1. Broaden Your Vegan Horizons
Every day you forgo meat and dairy, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds— or 2,920 pounds a year. But that's still leaving a sizeable amount of pounds on the table. How?
We don't need to tell you that eating less meat is a sure-fire way to tread easier on the world – you already know that. However, what tends to slip the mind is that veganism goes beyond meat. In fact, by being a lifestyle, it slips into our day-to-day, finding its way into furniture, cars, and our primary interest – clothing.
"a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals." So far, so expected.
But that's not all - there's an also – and it's a significant also. A vegan is "one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather)."
If you're now eyeing up your leathery office chair or taking a closer look at your favorite shoes, you're already on the right track. But don't worry, you don't have to throw them aside just yet. Instead, hold on to them in the interest of sustainability.
What you can do, from now on, is keep an eye out for commercial indicators signaling a product is vegan, cruelty-free, or produced using sustainable practices. At Liv&Grace, we take pride in our vegan-sourced collection, and we make no secret of it over at our online boutique – feel free to check it out!
What to Avoid?
Unlike with fur, the "say no to leather" movement hasn't quite taken off yet, but it is making traction. Fur has become a faux pas while, ironically, faux fur is a must-have. It's only a matter of time before leather and other material/clothing types make the same transition. After all, is there anything more 'en vogue' than being eco-conscious and cruelty-free? Where possible, steer clear of feathers, felt, flannel, fleece – and before we run out of 'f's – wool, silk, suede, and so on, so forth. If you have doubts about whether or not a material is vegan, don't hesitate to look it up online.
"But how does shopping vegan reduce my environmental impact?" We hear you ask.
Good question! Firstly, your environmental impact comprises multiple elements aside from energy usage, emissions, and waste. Taking care of the planet involves caring for its ecosystems and the life that inhabits them.
Secondly, the farming and breeding of animals for by-products is resource-heavy. If you demand less, they'll need to produce less and, in turn, use fewer resources - simple.
But that's not all we have to say about consumption and consumer choices …
2. Shop Until Your Impact Drops
It's true. Fashion wreaks havoc on the planet. It accounts for 10% of the world's carbon emissions. Fashion production is a severe eco-pain point. And that's before leaving the manufacturing premises. Post-production clothing covers a lot of ground, emitting a flurry of emissions and guzzling fuel along the way.
Fortunately, caring for the planet is the ultimate good look. And by taking a few simple steps, you can alleviate pressure on the planet's resources while still looking great.
If you want to reduce your environmental impact, you will have to start shopping differently. Find sustainable marketplaces like ours, and shop there instead. Here are two other meaningful yet straightforward changes you can make to drop your carbon footprint drastically:
Quality That Lasts
Mass Market and Throw Away Fashion, more popularly known as 'fast fashion, are two significant culprits for clothing's influence on the environment. However, a countermovement has risen among textiles, called sustainable shopping.
Sustainable shopping is exactly what it says on the tin. It's shopping for clothing that'll go the distance. To shop sustainably is to focus on durability. In other words, to always be on the lookout for quality.
The more use you get out of a product, the better. Of course, that means you'll have to spend a little more, but the quality is always worth it, and it's all part and parcel of shopping consciously. So, henceforth, make shopping an investment.
In doing so, you'll be joining part of the slow fashion movement, which, contrary to Fast Fashion, is making rapid strides towards the future of all things fashion.
Smart Ordering & Online Shopping
Ordering online gets a bad rep, especially within consciously community. But, in reality, research has proven differently. In fact, most analyses to date have suggested that online shopping tends to generate fewer carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, made clear by a 2013 study by MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics. In addition, that same team determined distribution systems of the large U.S. online stores, thanks to their efficient and optimized distribution chains, contribute to an overall lower environmental impact than in-store shopping. However, a journalistic investigation published in 2019 found that the net positive can be outweighed by factors such as returns and various delivery attempts.
So, the more items you buy in one go, the less impact per item purchased. Yes, you heard that right. While not precisely an incentive to buy more, you now have an excuse if you do. You can reduce your environmental impact by planning your shopping, concentrating on a single trip or shipment.
3. Think transport
Standing alone, transport accounts for around 1/5th of the earth's emissions. But that doesn't mean we should standstill. On the contrary, there are plenty of ways to get around that are kind to the planet and even kinder on your bank balance.
Make Good Use of Public Transport
An interesting fact: Did you know that public transport is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile. That means you can reduce your chance of being in an accident by more than 90% simply by taking public transit instead of commuting by car.
We'd consider that a double whammy – taking care of yourself and the planet.
Better still, according to APTA, you could save $10,000 yearly by owning one less car and taking public transit instead. Or around $833 per month.
Modern-day life is allergic to inertia. If you're not at work, then you're picking up the kids. If you have no kids, you're picking up the shopping. For some, it's both and absolutely everything in between.
And as anyone who's not living in the heart of a city will tell you, that's a lot of travel. The miles rack up fast, whether by personal car, metro, train, etc. And let's face it, slowing down isn't a choice.
However, rethinking how you go about your travel schedule is a choice, and it's one we can all take with ease.
Electric cars are great for the environment and are expected to be the standard by 2050. But we can't all afford to make the transition just yet. So in the meantime, fuel-efficient alternatives are a great choice.[caption id="attachment_37403" align="alignleft" width="304"] Model wears an entirely sustainable outfit[/caption]
4. Zero waste
Scrolling through your social media feeds, you've probably come across a peculiar phenomenon. Who are these people who proudly hold up a humble mason jar, claiming their entire waste for the year is inside? The zero wasters. They refuse to conform in a word of overconsumption, single-use, and disposable plastics.
While their efforts to keep from contributing to landfill pollution and plastically muddied water are devout and unfeasible to most, we can all still try to reduce our waste levels. Fortunately, zero waste and sustainability go hand in hand. So, be sure to buy once-off quality products and skip plastics where possible.
The zero waste movement is broad and varied, and every member approaches waste-free living differently. So, be sure to check it out and see how zero waste suits you!
5. Reduce Your Environmental Impact by Increasing Your Activism
We're all trying our best to do our bit for the environment. And, if you're reading this article, you're already on the right track. Of course, you can do everything in your power to reduce your carbon footprint, but that's just the beginning. For most, the goal is to pass on what they've learned along the way to help others go easier on the world.
And while there are no statistics on exactly how beneficial activism is, we do know we're moving in the right direction because of it. We'd say that makes activism and awareness-raising one of the most worthwhile carbon footprint lowering endeavors.
Still, you don't have to make large donations or start a green blog. Mostly, you have to be the example. So don't hesitate to flaunt your new green lifestyle or inform others of any eco-conscious changes you've made and why you've made them.
Delving into a greener world can also help keep you clued in and updated on the changing green scene while supporting another activist. It's as easy as following some environmentally friendly influencers such as Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah) or Ashley Renne Nsonwu (@heyashleyrenne) or signing up for newsletters.
A closer look at your community may also illuminate areas for change. You can reduce your environmental impact by saying something when you see it. Get involved in community efforts. Contact your local representatives and politicians – a simple email or letter goes a long way.
And there you have it, the top 5 ways to reduce your environmental impact. The earth is what we all have in common. It's on us to come together and help our planet in its fight for ecological harmony, for a better, brighter, and greener future.
Just by taking the time to read this article, you've already shown that you're motivated to make some changes – we say that deserves many pats on the back, a healthy dose of self-congratulations, and maybe even a little treat. Why not give yourself the thanks you deserve and get started on one of the changes above by browsing our vegan collection? You're well on the way to reducing your carbon footprint. You may as well make those steps in style (see: our line of vegan shoes. Shopping consciously and living green has never been so easy – enjoy!