I just wrapped up my third day of a DREAM gig cohosting What A Day (listen, subscribe, I’m on every Friday!!), and even though it’s been great, I gotta admit—I’ve still been a bit down this week. If I had to guess, I’d say the latest about our planet’s impending doom probably had a liiiittle something to do with it.
I’m assuming pretty much everyone here knows the basic facts—that what humans have done to the planet is bad. That if we continue what we’re doing, it will get (much) worse. That we’re running out of time to make the changes we need to avoid a “permanent emergency.” And that the people with the power to make the biggest changes seem to not care so much—maybe because it’s easier to avoid the realities of climate change if you are rich and/or old and/or planning to ship your waste to the moon?
If the biggest companies and governments don’t do something major, all of us cutting back on charcuterie and single-use plastics won’t be enough to get us there—I know that. But I feel like a lot of let that excuse us from doing much of anything? We can post an Earth Day IG from our vacation pics and vote every few years (especially when there’s a huge recall election happening in CA), but then we get a pass on all of our to-go coffee cups and regularly making impulse buys with next day Prime shipping? We can read that low income communities here and around the world will be the ones to be hit first/the hardest, but we have a little too much going on to do more than feel bad? We as singular people aren’t directly responsible for the situation we’re in—sure—but at least to me, doing things the same way we have been just doesn’t seem so great.
I’m currently sitting next to an empty, single-use bag of Smart Sweets that I bought at Amazon’s own Whole Foods, so it’s not like I’m comfortably on a high horse here, but I am feeling a bit motivated to Do Better™, so that is what we will be doing this week—content calendar be damned!
The following is a list of pretty easy shit I’m doing/not doing/trying to do in order to be a little better to/for the planet (and then a link to my faves from the Dermstore sale because you shouldn’t miss out on a good deal while you’re trying to save the world):
- I’m brushing up on the recycling rules where I am because they are MORE COMPLICATED THAN YOU THINK. I loved the LA Recycling Quiz (and did a lot worse than I was expecting to!), and the Household Guides on this site are also helpful to learn what you can/can’t recycle, and to ID the trash you can cut back on (I realized I’m a big offender when it comes to paper towels).
- I’m making my life a little more energy efficient. I’m not a homeowner, but apparently there’s still A LOT you can still do to use less energy in a rental. Some relatively easy fixes: Doing your wash on cold (hot shrinks stuff anyways), unplugging appliances when they’re not in use (think computer monitors, lamps, kitchen shit you use once in a blue moon), weather-stripping your windows, etc. Even though it’ll require me to not be perpetually running 20 mins late, I will ALSO be attempting to cut back on unnecessary driving/Lyfts with the public transit, biking/walking, and the occasional CARPOOL (a great idea that gets you into the HOV lane and makes trekking to dinner across town way more fun).
- I’m trying to cut down on my waste with more reusable things. Here are my big ones:
- I love my expensive ass water bottle, but I really don’t care what you use as long as it’s not plastic. It’s 2021 and the planet’s burning—in the immortal words of one Kim Kardashian, “I gotta be real with you guys, you look like fucking clowns.”
- I kept a Porter Mug on my desk to avoid disposable coffee cups at work (great gift, thanks Nik!), but I rarely think to bring a reusable cup when I buy coffee on the go (those paper ones are not recyclable). I’m picking up a Stojo Collapsible Cup to keep in my bag specifically because they fit really easily into a purse or jacket pocket. They’re also cute and affordable, and come in different sizes.
- I realized that a lot of my single-use waste happens in the kitchen, so I got a few Stasher bags, which are basically reusable Ziplocs. They’re on the pricier side, but my bigger one gets lots of use marinating proteins and carrying spillable products during travel. These reusable wraps are also great to swap in for plastic wrap.
- I’m pretty good about using reusable bags in the grocery store (this XL tote has stood up to all my grocery/farmer’s market hauls), but I want to up my game with some reusable produce bags for greens and veggies. I’ve been super impressed with Public Goods’ quality in the past, and this price is next to nothing.
- Speaking of groceries, is it time to start composting?? This might be too far for some of you, but if my grandma can figure out how to do it in New Jersey, I’m pretty sure I can in Chicago/LA.
- This is small, but I’m opting out of plastic utensils with food deliveries because they’re awful and flimsy and 9/10 times I’m ordering to my house anyways.
- I’m doing more of my shopping/selling secondhand. I’ve found great dresses and jeans on theRealReal at WAAAAY better prices than regular retail, and have sold a bunch from cleaning out my closet via them, Poshmark, and ThredUp. I’m also trying to cut back on using rush shipping options/walk to places like CVS or the grocery store instead of driving or ordering online.
- I’m being more intentional about what I’m eating. You know what works for you, so if forgoing meat and cheese more often does, then great! It works for the planet too! I’m also doing more research about what’s in season where I live so I can buy food that’s fresher/wasn’t shipped crazy long distances. I’m planning on pulling this link up the next time I’m grocery shopping and keeping an eye out for produce and items made locally.
- I’m trying to go beyond voting. Obviously I will continue to vote, but I’ll admit that I really don’t know much about the issues/action happening where I live. I don’t have all the answers on where to start, but I did find a cool newsletter from the LA Times about climate news/issues in LA, and I’m planning to ACTUALLY READ AND NOT DELETE IT so I can be a little less lost. If your city/local paper has journalists covering the topic, maybe that’s a place for you to start too. If you have other suggestions on how to educate yourself/get involved, please send them my way so I can use/share!
That was six(ish) things, but I feel like all of them are pretty doable? If you feel inspired, maybe try a few, or send me your suggestions if you’re already way past making these swaps (esp if you have composting tips!). All I do know is that it can’t hurt, and even doing a tiny bit of homework here has helped me feel like I’m making a conscious effort to help instead of passively doing the opposite.
As promised, I do have a Dermstore sale roundup for ya with a lot of the anti-frizz products you recommended. Currently experimenting with the Olaplex ones in there—will keep you posted on how it goes!
Big hugs to you and our big green (well, mostly blue) planet,