5 Unexpected Ways to Practice Sustainability

You've heard all the standard "sustainable" tips - Use a reusable coffee cup! Switch to non-toxic cleaning products! Bring a tote bag to the grocery store! Or my personal least favorite - paper straws!! Let's get real - the climate crisis is not going to be solved by you carrying a tote bag around with you. But, individual action can actually make a difference if you know where best to put your energy. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to practice sustainability in everyday life in 2024 - in ways that will drive the world in a positive direction.

Make your money green - literally

Taking on the environmental impact of big, bad corporations can feel like an impossible task. But where you choose to put your money can actually make a difference. Environmental finance - ever heard of it? You can make a strong statement by supporting ethical, climate-conscious firms and financial instruments. Reward the corporates that are doing their part by investing in green bonds, climate-friendly funds, and ESG-dedicated equity funds. Don't know where to start? Check out this article on socially responsible investing.

Do a closet audit

Did you know that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, contributing 10% of the human population's carbon emissions? Fast fashion brands reign supreme in 2024, because they make being on-trend accessible. Slow fashion & sustainable fashion brands aren't necessarily the solution, because there are no regulations around what can be considered "sustainable," and their price points are often out of reach for most people. The most sustainable fashion decision you can make is getting creative with the clothes you already own. I bet you don't even wear most of the clothes in your closet (calling you out!!). Next time you have a free afternoon, go through your closet and take note of every single item of clothing you own. Knowing what you already have will help you get creative with styling & simple alterations. We're inspired by Megan McSherry's Closet Audit series to make your current closet the closet of your dreams.

Delete your online shopping apps

Whaaat? Did I just say that?! This applies to pretty much all online shopping. Let's unpack. Having apps like Amazon on your phone make it easy - too easy - to constantly be shopping & placing orders that will be shipped individually to your house. Sure, it's convenient, but the environmental impact of shipping every little thing in its own box to each person in the world is a LOT of extra packaging waste and a LOT of emissions from transportation. How many things that you bought on Amazon could you have found at a store close to your home? A little bit of effort to shop in person reduces your environmental impact (and gives you the option to shop a local business & support your community too!)

Unplug your devices

How often do you unplug your phone from the charger, but leave the charger in the outlet? Most electronics still use electricity when left plugged in, even if you're not actively using them. This wastes energy - and can ruin your devices' batteries. Unplugging when you're done using them may seem like a lot of work, but it can significantly reduce your energy usage and energy waste. A great option to incorporate into your home this year: smart outlets/smart plugs that regulate the time and amount of energy used by a given outlet.

Go outside

Next time you find yourself scrolling through Amazon hauls on TikTok for a quick dopamine boost, take a beat, put the phone down, and step outside instead. Studies show that spending as little as 20 minutes outside reduces stress and anxiety, and helps you sleep better! Sustainability includes mental sustainability & wellbeing too. And the more time you spend outside every day, the more likely you are to do environmentally-friendly activities like riding a bike, shopping locally, recycling, and so much more!

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