Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Every morning, on my commute to school, practice, or volunteering, instead of listening to music I find it much more soothing to listen to a podcast about important and relevant topics. I find it to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to educate yourself. I frequent the TED Talk Podcast as they have a variety of topics and very charming speakers. Recently, there have been a lot of episodes about climate change and sustainability, and while I knew that these were important topics, I never truly understood how dire our current situation. I want to make clear that my message is not that the world is ending come January 1st, 2021, but we are quickly escaping the homostatic range of the Earth. We are pushing buttons that cannot be unpushed, which will send us hurtling back in time in concerns of climate change. While, a little bit of a mood killer, I recommend listening to this episode at some point. Johan Rockstrom explains the topic much more proficiently than my best efforts. To lighten the mood, I want to give 5 ways you can contribute to the sustainability of the earth.
1.Avoid Fast Fashion
When shopping for the next outfit for a night on the town or just a little something-something that you knew you must have, I implore you to make an effort to stray from "fast-fashion" clothing companies. But what really is fast-fashion? While seeming like an unbelievable bargain for such a new, hot, and trending look, fast-fashion products utilize thousands of toxic chemicals, synthetic dyes, and dangerous fabrics that end up in the Earth's water supply. Also, these factories tend to be located in third-world countries, so the last thing the workers need after spending a day working with dangerous chemicals is to come home to be greeted with more dangerous chemicals. These cheap and shoddy items of clothing are packed to the brim with lead, pesticides, and many other chemicals. This is because to ensure that a companies items do not hit the shelves too late, shortcuts are made, corners are cut. And while this may be a bargain at that moment, you would be pushing the true price of that item on the Earth and the future generations that will have to deal with the consequences to come. But what can we do to combat fast-fashion while still looking our best? First, the most simple solution, wear your clothes until they are worn out. Picking your clothes more carefully, avoiding fast-fashion brands, and shopping at second-hand stores, and supporting the slow fashion movement and its stores are all ways to stop fast fashion.
For more information check out this link
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I know we have heard the echo of that alliteration for many years. But, I think there's more to the process than we actually give credit for. First, recycle does not always mean put your trash from your latest meal in the recycling bin. There are the plastics and the leftover food of course, but I think there are many ways to go about recycling outside of paper, plastic, cardboard, and glass. For instance, turning your leftover eggshells into fertilizer for your plants, creating a compost box outside of your house for the unwanted fruits and vegetables, or turning ratty old clothes you no longer use into towels for around the house. There are plenty of ways to reduce your footprint on this earth and create new things out of the old. Try to reduce the amount of intake that you demand and make things work with what you are given. Of course, it won't always be recycle, recycle, recycle, but an effort is what counts.
3. Grow your own food
Now this one, I think this one is a little more challenging, but I know that all of you are up to the task. Create your own sustainable garden, it pays itself off. Trust me. Food that has grown in the ground tilled by your own hand is indescribable. Growing everything that you plan to eat might be a little too ambitious at first, so I would recommend herbs that you frequent. If that works you can try some veggies you really enjoy. Let's say everything is still going phenomenal then you can add in some fruit. I truly recommend growing your own food; it is so rewarding. There are plenty of sites and tips to help you out with your gardening endeavors, and I would love to do a post dedicated to that. This is one of my favorites (link)
4. Plant a Tree
Simple as that. Plant a tree. The Earth could use it. Send me a picture; I would love to see it.
5. Stay Updated with Current Climate Change
To fight the problems of environmental degradation, you must be aware of them and their impacts. Stay alert. There is so much going on in the world that you might just miss it. There is a real problem and the only ones who can fix it are the ones paying attention to it. As my personal
hero, one miss Dr. Anaya Elizabeth Johnson has said, " If you are not scared, then you are not paying attention enough." There are hundreds of great resources to fill your brain with the causes and effects of climate change and how to stop it, but it is up to you to listen to them. Read an update while you wait in line for something, listen to a podcast on your drive to or from home, or discuss the climate crisis with your peers in your mundane, daily conversations. Join the fight, but first understand what your fighting for, a future for your kid, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. This fight is one worth having, one worth the strife, change and advocating. It is a fight that will determine the course of the entire world, but it has to start with education.
Here are some great resources:
Check out the legend herself, Anaya Johnson:
Johan Rockstrom's TED Talk:
Dr. Anaya Johnson's and Alex Blumberg's 'How to Save a Planet':