Okay, so ~making an effort~ to turn off the lights as you leave a room on Earth Day is kind of like only checking in on your friends on R U Okay? Day. It’s good to do but we can do way more. Our sustainability efforts can’t be tied to just April 22nd, this year’s Earth Day and the 50th anniversary of the event.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. “The enormous challenge—but also the vast opportunities—of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.”
Climate activism and making more planet-friendly choices is a constant priority, and Earth Day is a good way to remind ourselves that and then keep it going. We’ve rounded up a few simple ways to do Earth Day at home, regrowing your spring onions is optional.
Eat More Sustainably
I think about this quote from Joel Salatin, a farmer and agrarian author a lot, “the wonderful thing about food is that you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world.” What Salatin is saying is that food is one of the most impactful places we, as individuals, can shift the needle on the climate crisis. We know that food from animals requires a higher volume of resources to produce, as well as creating far more greenhouse gas emissions. The above graph from Bon Appétit‘s sister mag Healthyish shows the proportion of CO2 produced for different proteins, the take away being we should probably eat less beef and way more beans.
This doesn’t just mean going completely vegan and subsisting off oats and Oreos forever. Most drastic diet changes don’t stick and could potentially be unhealthy anyway. What we’d suggest this Earth Day is looking at the way you eat now and see what you can swap out comfortably, and what consumption habits you can work on changing slowly. If you already like a particular curry or pasta, can you make a version without meat or sub in a legume or tofu? If lots of your foods are highly processed and packaged, can you figure out a package free version? Consider buying truss tomatoes instead of cherry, or opting for loose oranges rather than ones in a net.
And when you do get your animal products, why not get them from reputable, local suppliers. It’s not just the food itself that contributes to emissions, but also how and where it travels from. If you’re in Syd, we’re into Penny’s Cheese Shop for fromage needs and as well as their amazing organic veggie bags, The Local’s Market has eggs in recycled cartons straight from the ethical and sustainable farm.
Consider Your Self Care Habits
As well as what we’re putting inside our body, how we take care of our flesh sack’s outsides is an arena for greenifying too. Syrup previously spoke with a few of our favourite beauty journalists and experts about how self care doesn’t necessarily need to mean a sheet mask a day. It’s a tonne of wasteful packaging and you run the risk of overwhelming your skin with too much all at once. If you still want the soothing effect of a mask application, try some DIY skincare. Have a look through your pantry for basics like olive oil: a multi-use wonder for some quality time with your jade roller or gua sha tool, add a couple of drops of your fav essential oil for a body moisturiser or mix it with the coffee grounds from your Aeropress for a body scrub, without all the plastic packaging.
If you feel like wearing makeup? We support. It’s meditative and creative in a time when we’re all only interfacing through our front-facing camera. Have a dig through the #shopmystash community on Instagram for some inspo on how to get the products you already own to spark some joy again.
Support Your Local Depop Gang
The same goes for your clothes too, we know that fashion has a sustainability problem. This is not only in how the textiles industry produces waste and taxes the environment but also the human costs too. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to rewear clothes, thrifting tips and entry-level guide to sustainable fashion as some starting points. Anecdotally, despite not posting for ages, my Depop is suddenly popping off? People are online and they’re shopping, so if you’re up for it now is the time to clear out your closet and get some extra coin. Plus, it keeps clothes out of the landfill and problematic donations to non-Western countries.
Learn From Indigenous Cultures
Though it’s kind of hard to remember, there was a time before our world was full of microplastics, oil spills and wild carbon emissions. Especially with the memory of the summer’s catastrophic bushfires still lingering, it’s more important than ever to foreground and listen to the Indigenous cultures who’ve historically managed the earth. Responsible, nurturing relationships with the environment we live in and its resources are built into many Firth Nations people’s cultures.
If you’re looking for a starting point this Earth Day, check out the incredible work being done at Indigenous Climate Action. Some recommended reading is Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. It’s an incredible read about the reciprocal nature Indigenous people had with the earth as well as a reminder that we can still learn from and implement their teachings.
Get Involved In Citizen Science
One way to feel like your actions are tangibly connected to other’s and making a difference is getting involved in citizen science. Using the Earth Challenge 2020 app, you can collect data about air quality and plastic pollution in your community. This builds out data sets and helps us understand more about the ways problems are occurring and how to address them in different regions.
Tune Into A Live Earth Day Event
As well as Earth Day’s citizen science challenge you can also tune in to one of the many live online events that will happen this Earth Day. I promise you it’ll be more informative and less infuriating than old mate Vanessa Hudgen’s live talks.
Ring Your MPs And Tell ‘Em To Give A Shit
This one is probably obvious, but could there be any sweeter feeling than ringing your local member oh… say, once a week, every Monday at 4.50 pm for a chat about what climate initiatives they’re working on building into their parties policies. If climate science is something you’re passionate about, use your voice to ask your states Minister for education to emphasise it in the education curriculum. Happy Earth Day to my local MP!
Keep Your Activism Active
Just because we’re sequestered at home, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to be an activist online. For more ideas beyond contacting your representatives, get involved in youth activist organisations like Sunrise Movement, Zero Hour, Extinction Rebellion Youth, and Fridays for Future. We’re particularly inspired by these young activists changing the world, chuck ’em a follow to keep the inspiring content in your feed even after Earth Day 2020.
Get Into Nature
One of the easiest ways to celebrate Earth Day under the pandemic world order is getting into nature. Reminding ourselves to slow down, take a deep breath and reflect on how Nature Is Fucking Lit. Even though we’re socially isolating rn, you can still get your outdoors fix. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, take a blanket or a yoga mat out there to enjoy your morning coff in the sun. If you don’t, take a stroll around your neighbourhood. As cute as Animal Crossing is, trust us when we say strolling around with your villagers is not gonna help your suffering Vitamin D levels.
Reduce Your Plastic Consumption
Okay, I know that takeaway coffee places right now can’t accept a Keep Cup, but consider how much plastic you use in your day to day life and if there’s a way you can limit it. We mentioned choosing packaging-free foods before, but there’s a tonne of ways you can reduce plastic use in your household. Most of it is a pretty simple swap, so on Earth Day, start with this resource on going plastic-free from Anne-Marie Bonneau, aka @zerowastechef.