April is Earth Month, which means it is the perfect time to think about becoming more environmentally conscious. Saving the Earth may sound like an overwhelming task, but here are suggestions for small ways you can contribute that make a big impact.
Look for earth-conscious brands
Rethink the beauty products you are using daily. Switch to brands that use environmentally friendly ingredients, or that give back to environmental causes. For example, Burt’s Bees uses all natural ingredients and donates to programs that protect the Earth. Eminence Organic Skin Care has a program called Forest for the Future, where they plant a tree in a developing country, for every product sold.
Ditch the plastic
How often do you find yourself using plastic bags at the store, or getting a plastic straw in your drink at a restaurant? Plastic contributes to pollution in a variety of ways. It takes a long time to decompose, and releases toxic chemicals into the air. Plastic also affects our oceans. Reusable bags and paper straws are a great way to start cutting back on pollution caused by plastic products. And when you’re offered a plastic straw at a restaurant, just say no.
There are a few obvious ways to do this, such as turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth or taking shorter showers. It seems simple, but this could cut down your water usage by 200 gallons a month. You can also use an aerator on your faucet. This adds air into the water flow, which cuts down the amount of water used.
Eat Less Meat
Not only does eating less meat have health benefits, it helps the environment as well. The meat industry is one of the leading contributors to climate change by producing greenhouse gases. Nearly half of all water used in The United States is used to raise animals for food. (Growing fruits and vegetables uses a lot less water.) Raising animals for food contributes to deforestation because more land is needed for the animals as the demand for meat increases. If eating less meat sounds difficult, start with going meatless for one day a week, and then cut back more as you feel comfortable.
Make an effort to buy from businesses that follow responsible and ethical business practices. This includes supporting businesses that are Fairtrade and B-Corp certified. For this, businesses must meet strict standards, including environmental ones. By adhering to these standards, businesses are able to contribute to sustainability.
Reduce Food Waste
Chef Kyle Nottingham, Executive Chef at Miraval Arizona, has some tips from his Conscious Cooking program that will help you cut down on food waste. Instead of throwing away excess fruits or vegetables, try canning or pickling to save them for months when they are not in season. Parts of food that are usually discarded can be used in a variety of delicious ways. Get creative and find ways to utilize overlooked foods, such as sautéing beet greens for a side dish, or adding carrot tops to a salad.
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