Many of us want to take the sustainable route but do not know where to begin or if we can tick off all the boxes of sustainability. Being a vegan sounds so demanding to a person who loves meat, but even the most hardcore environmentalists admit that they aren’t perfect in every aspect. It’s a learning process similar to running a marathon; it all begins with the small steps we take to lead us across the finish line eventually. Listed below are some easy first steps that we put together that will make the transition less painful.
1. Reduce dairy and meat consumption
According to the scientists who have analyzed the damage farming does to the planet in an article by The Guardian, switching to vegan alternatives and not consuming dairy products and meat is the ‘single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.’ The analysis shows that even the lowest impact dairy products and meat still cause more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal grown.
The easiest way to begin is by having one vegetarian day per week that can slowly transition to a vegan day by cutting out the dairy products. If giving up a particular dairy item or meat is too difficult for now, for instance, cheese, start by cutting out other meat and dairy items and reducing the intake of cheese until ready to take the next step. In the end, it’s about progress, not perfection.
2. Shop secondhand
Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did back in 1980, which eventually ends up in dumpsters, according to research done by Mattias Wallander, C.E.O. of USAgain, a textile recycling company.
Think of quality over quantity and invest in pieces that can be styled for multiple occasions. With the bloggers picking up on the sustainability trend, it is now easier to find new ways to style a single top or dress to reduce our wardrobe and limit us from spending mindlessly. Thrift stores are also great alternatives to buy trendy and fashionable clothes; we would recommend Maeven Vintage or ThredUp. This helps us save money while doing our bit for the planet. A win-win situation indeed!
3. Fix and mend things instead of replacing them
With the descent of speedy deliveries and e-commerce giants like Amazon, we can now order a new piece of furniture at the tip of our fingers, which leads to us often not second-guessing our choice to throw out the old and buy something new. But where does that lead us? With overflowing dumpsters and a waste management problem.
There’s an easy solution for every broken shoe or broken piece of furniture. Cobblers near the subway can quickly fix a broken shoe in under 10 minutes, while a carpenter will have your furniture looking as good as new in 30 minutes. There are solutions all around us; it’s up to us to find the most sustainable one.
4. Avoid toxic beauty products
Reading the ingredients list in a beauty product is a tormenting task. It is incredible how many chemicals you will spot, from carcinogens to endocrine disruptors – not only are they toxic to our planet, they are harmful to us as well.
Most safety regulations demand that manufacturers ensure that consumer goods comply with the ‘general safety requirement’, with no specific instructions to ban chemicals or carcinogens. This leaves it in the consumers’ hands to be wise and choose products that are good for our skin and won’t harm the planet. We recommend K.V.D. Vegan Beauty, Milk Makeup and E.L.F. Cosmetics.
In conclusion, we leave you with this quote by Julia Butterfly Hill, American environmentalist, “You have to hold yourself accountable for your actions, and that’s how we’re going to protect the Earth.”