Scientists are saying it’s “now or never,” if humans want to limit global warming. Mother Nature is in desperate need of help. And govs across the globe are falling short of making changes that matter. Leaving more and more individuals to ask: What can I do?
Now, we’re looking inward. While not every change may seem like a major shift toward helping the planet — every bit counts. And with April being Earth Month, we asked six Skimm HQ’rs what they do to live more sustainable lifestyles. Here are their tips on how you can plant the seeds of change — from the small alternatives at home to the big changes in your commute.
Reuse And Reduce
One study found that the average American produces 286 pounds of plastic waste a year. But life in plastic is not so fantastic. Here are two ways HQ’rs are cutting back:
Look for alternatives. “I try to avoid using paper towels as often as possible. And I’ve been gifted really cute dish towels and napkins from Anthropologie (see: this, this, and this). Since they’re fun and colorful, it’s encouraged me to use them more often while cutting down on paper waste. [Another idea is] ditching makeup remover wipes. I recently heard about micellar water working as a makeup remover and did some research. It’s a great way to cut down on individual wipes.” — Maria McCallen, Skimm News & App Editor
Ditch the plastic. "I live in Manhattan so I have to carry my groceries home — often through the subway or crowds. I can carry more groceries and keep them more secure with my…reusable bags. Plus, they've come in handy for plenty of other tasks like moving, traveling, or sending food home with a friend.” — Kamaron McNair, Skimm Money Writer
Invest In ‘Green’ Beauty
Raise your hand if #makeuptok is your fave. Depending on what's on your FYP, you might not always get tips for how to make your makeup bag more 'green.' Here are some tips on how to get started, thanks to Sales Brand Strategy Manager Tara Rotondo:
Read the ingredients. “I know a lot of brands place stickers or labels on their products that say 'clean', 'green' or 'natural' but what really matters is what's on the back (or in the ingredient list). I also always make sure there is a fair trade symbol (fair wages and sustainability) and Leaping Bunny [logo] (cruelty-free) — those are usually easy to spot."
Get techy with it. “Download apps that scan products and ingredient lists. I like Detox Me, Think Dirty, and CodeCheck. They're really easy to use and very eye-opening. I've switched a lot of my products because of some of the product scans I've done.”
Take it one step at a time. “It doesn't have to be all or nothing. When I first started getting into clean beauty, my first thought was ‘must throw away all current makeup and skincare.’ But then I thought 'that's very wasteful and counterintuitive.’ Everyone's skin, routine, and needs are different and I think making small changes and swaps are so much more realistic and effective [in the long term].”
And if you’re more of a DIY person, Account Manager Sidney Young recs natural products like raw cocoa and shea butter.
The number of electric vehicles out on the road has increased in recent years. With about 1.8 million EVS registered in 2020 — over triple the amount in 2016. Skimm Money Writer Liz Knueven has switched to a plug-in hybrid car and shared these tips, if you’re considering doing the same:
Confirm you have the right infrastructure. “If you live in an apartment building, you're going to have to talk with your landlord about getting a charger. If you're going pure electric — even if you're buying a plug-in hybrid — you're pretty much gonna have to have a charger.”
Shop around. “Tesla's not the only thing [out there]. You can totally go buy a cheap, used Nissan LEAF. There are a ton of other options.”
Keep up with the car maintenance. “You don't have to totally swap your whole car to get better gas mileage. Keeping up with your maintenance like inflating your tires properly will make a big difference.”
Get Inspired And Motivated
If you’re still working through how you’d like to make a difference, theSkimm's Senior Audio Director Graelyn Brashear recs this book:
“The Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson. “He’s primarily a science fiction author, and this latest (acclaimed) novel imagines a world where humanity decides to avert climate disaster. It's gut-wrenching and inspiring. The kind of book to change hearts and minds and get us mad in the ways we need to be.”
Also, it doesn’t hurt to consider the motivations behind creating a new habit and what kind of planet you’d like to leave behind.
“Because of all the alarm bells and research around climate change in the past few years, I’ve been more cognizant of how much waste I produce — and the easy alternatives to cut back. All of this has also made me think more about how we should leave the planet for our kids, their kids, and future generations,” Maria added.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the doom-and-gloom news from climate scientists. But there are ways to answer their alarm bells — even if it's by taking small actions in your daily life.
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