Gone are the days when it was uncool to care about the environment.
Now Leonardo DiCaprio, Alecia Silverstone and Brad Pitt are all proving that it’s cool to save the planet.
Here are five low effort, high impact steps you can take today to reduce your carbon footprint.
1) Goodbye Plastic Bags
Did you know that one million plastic bags are used every minute? That's crazy! Most of it ends up in the ocean or in landfills. There's good news and bad news.
Bad news: One million seas birds and more than 100,000 marine animals are killed every year due to plastic in the ocean. Nothing that we use for five minutes should pollute the ocean for 500 years. There's really nothing cool about plastic bags.
Good news: It's super easy to start using reusable bags! Bonus: you can match your bag to your outfit and look stylish at the supermarket!
2) Slow Fashion is Hot Fashion
I've always loved design - I was making clothing out of beads and paper since I could walk. I believe fashion is art. But the excessive stream of clothing that we are consuming is out of control and is having detrimental effects on the planet, and the people and animals who walk it. So here are a few ideas that I try to live by:
a) When buying new, buy forever. I try to buy clothing that fits well, washes well and looks great. I always make sure it's made from sustainable, non-animal origins (because animal agriculture is the single largest industry carbon emission industry - even more than transport!). A wardrobe with a few, staple pieces that I love is far more valuable than a closet stuffed with fast-fashion finds and "never have anything to wear".
b) Buy second-hand. So much clothing is thrown away or donated after just one wear. There's a surprising amount of good quality apparel in Op-Shops. Take a look at the vintage dress I wore on the Red Carpet in Hollywood. It cost me eight dollars.
c) What's the true cost? $4.98 for a t-shirt? That wouldn't even cover the cost of the shipping from China. But the company still makes a profit. So if I'm not paying for it, who is? A child forced into making t-shirts in sweat shop? A woman who isn't even getting paid enough to feed her children? It definitely makes me re-think those quick, bargain-bin buys. You can find out the ethical rating from A+ to F of any company you're buying from here.
d) Break the spell. Stores are shiny, gorgeous and make it oh-so-easy to fall into the consumerist trap. My mum always says leave the store and "break the spell." If you still want the item tomorrow, you can always come back and get it, it's not going anywhere!
3) BYO Bottle
Three billion pounds of plastic is thrown away every year - and that's only from plastic water bottles! What about recycling? Only one in five bottles are recycled. Plus, recycling isn't a solution, it's only a temporary fix. It's time to Bring Your Own water bottle! Reusable water bottles are great, especially if they're made from metal, because they last longer than the plastic ones. Let's avoid as much plastic as we can. Bonus: there are some super stylish ones out there!
On the same note, excessive numbers of coffee cups are thrown away - so it's time to BYO reusable coffee cup too. I love how pretty they can be - I've got a gorgeous glass one that I take with me in my backpack to university incase I need a coffee (or tea, because I'll drink an English Breakfast any time of the day!). Lots of coffee shops give you discounts if you bring your own cup too. Win-win!
4) Brush with Bamboo
The pandas are onto something. Bamboo grows quickly and is more sustainable than regular wood, but most importantly, it's better than plastic. I brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush to eliminate pointless plastic from my beauty routine. Bamboo toothbrushes are inexpensive, so you know you're keeping your wallet happy too. Too easy!
5) Bulk up, baby.
Not only is it better for the environment and for your health - it's better for your wallet to buy in bulk! Bring your own jars and bags to the supermarket and fill up flour, beans, spices and rice from the bulk bins. Plus, then you can have a Pinterest pantry with all sorts of eco-jars and labels. That's got me sold!
Also, have you ever noticed that supermarkets will sell pre-packaged plastic-wrapped avocados right next to the loose avocados? Or tomatoes, or mandarins? This seems silly to me, it's no more difficult to pick your own. Send a message to the stores by ditching the plastic.
So, you're ready to get your eco groove on!
Have you got any sustainability tips you want to share? Let me know your ideas in the comments below.