A new monthly feature I’m introducing on Bummed Out Bailey is easy, sustainable swaps.
Often, people are too busy to research climate-focused lifestyle changes and do things the way they always have because it’s become automatic. I’m thinking especially of parents of young children, especially those parents who also work outside of the home. People often just do what they know, and I suppose doing what you’ve always done can seem easiest. A lot of people are in survival mode financially, emotionally, mentally, etc., and I understand environmental concerns taking a backseat to things like a crippling swing of Bipolar Disorder or a sick child or parent.
I am in no way a zero waste person, and most of the way I consume remains problematic. I am working on it, though, and have done a bit of legwork (rich white lady privilege strikes again) in terms of swaps and tips to plug into your day to day to help take better care of our world.
Sustainability applies to reducing both consumption (think of all those point-of-purchase, plastic trinkets in Target’s $1 section) and reducing waste (think of single-use Ziploc bags, food scraps, junky marketing trinkets from companies, etc.). Unfortunately, even if you do find time to spend in the tedious weeds of finding a recycling center for every item you dispose of, the solutions are often laborious to employ and require a lot of unrealistic time and effort on the disposer’s side. Unless a sustainable lifestyle is quite literally your livelihood (like the trailblazing Trash is for Tossers, run by Lauren Singer), changes in how you consume or dispose are likely slow to adopt. Individual changes are made even more challenging by the fact they’re mostly grassroot efforts and in opposition to corporate juggernauts who choose capitalism over environmentalism without fail. Instead of feeling helpless, though, remember that you vote with your money. Your money directly correlates to a company’s sales and how they profit. If demand for something is going down due to poor environmental practice, companies will be forced to alter their ways to maintain their bottom lines. And then they’ll start marketing green practices as if they cared all along. IT’S A TRAP!
Nudging governmental organizations to enact laws regarding environmental and climate preservation has been an exhausting, relatively fruitless effort. If changes aren’t coming from the top fast enough, we can continue putting pressure on representatives while starting from the bottom with our every day decisions, with every dollar we spend, and work our way up from there.
It’s imperative that companies and conglomerates committing egregious acts deteriorating the world’s climate be held accountable, but we can start with ourselves, one choice at a time.
So, once a month I’ll be sharing a sustainability tip or an easy swap in consumption routine to better care for the planet. Environmentally conscious change doesn’t always have to be expensive, laborious, or extremely time-consuming.
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