Every April since 1970, the world has celebrated Earth Day with the collective goal of improving the state of the planet. This year, the call to action is to invest in our planet“For Earth Day 2022, we must act (boldly), innovate (widely) and implement (fairly). It’s going to hold us all accountable. A partnership for the planet.
If you’re looking to make a change in your life, big or small, here are nine lifestyle tweaks to consider, as recommended by the Treehugger team.
Become a climatologist
Lloyd Alter, Design Editor
I became a climatologist in 2020 when I started writing my book, “Living the 1.5 degree lifestyle“, and measured the carbon footprint of everything I did, including everything I ate.
It is a term heard for the first time in 2015 in The New York Times: “A diet whose main objective is to reverse climate change. This includes eating locally produced foods (to reduce the energy spent in transport), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and use every part of the ingredients (apple cores, cheese crusts, etc.) to limit food waste.”
Being a climatarian is much easier than being a vegetarian or a vegan; you are not committing to give up meat, only certain types of meat. You’re not giving up strawberries or tomatoes; you eat them seasonally and think how good they’ll be when you get them. It’s really not difficult at all, and if more people did it, it could lead to serious carbon emission reductions, and as Hannah Richie of Our World in Data notes: “It would free up billions of hectares for natural vegetation, forests, and ecosystems to return.”
Call your local authorities
Maggie Badore, Associate Editorial Director
If you want to push for a system change, consider saving your elected official’s office number on your phone. Then, when there’s an environmental policy item that needs to be voted on, it’s easy to give them a call and make the case for sustainability. Most of the time, you’ll be leaving a voicemail or message for a staff member, so it’s best to keep your comment polite and short. Politicians really pay attention to the number of calls they receive regarding different issues.
Our Favorite Nonprofits for Gifts That Give Back
The writers and editors at Treehugger reflect on environmental issues day in and day out and thought we’d share our collective wisdom. Discover favorite nonprofits for gifts and donations that are actively helping, not harming, this beautiful orb we call home. If you can, consider these charities to give back.
Consider a capsule wardrobe
Susmita Baral, editor-in-chief
The pandemic caused an interesting change in me: I accidentally adopted a capsule wardrobe. Not needing clothes for work and going out, I found myself buying items that were comfortable enough for indoors and presentable enough for running errands. a grocery run.)
This lifestyle change allowed me to be more selective about where I buy my clothes and took the stress out of coordinating an outfit. When the seasons changed, I saw how an outfit could be repurposed before investing in another item.
For anyone wanting to see if this might work for them, I would recommend starting one outfit at a time. Choose a look that you love so much that you want to to wear it every day. And then create three to four looks (or however many you need!) a season that you can take turns repeating.
Buy Dr. Bronner’s by the Gallon
Mélissa Breyer, Editorial Director
I’ve adopted countless eco-friendly habits over the years, but the most satisfying and life-changing hack was buying Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap by the gallon. We were able to replace dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, floor soap and all-purpose cleaner with this one product. We keep the pitcher by the laundry room for clothes and general cleaning, and we fill a pump jar by the sink for hands and dishes. It can also be used for body soap, pet shampoo, and for people, teeth, and I’m pretty sure just about anything that needs cleaning.
Dr. Bronner’s is one of the most environmentally friendly and progressive companies out there, so I’m thrilled to be able to use their soap for so many applications. And I love the incredible convenience, low cost, and great ecological impact of not having to buy a bunch of different products in different bottles. I know this sounds like an advertisement; I’m not, I’m just a huge fan!
Try reusable coffee filters
Hayley Bruning, Associate Editor
Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who can’t function without coffee in the morning. My roommates and I have a Keurig, and I recently purchased reusable K-Cups on Amazon to reduce waste. A bonus: we’ll save a little money by buying grounds instead of K-Cups and single-serve coffee filters.
Rent a plot in a community garden
Christian Cotroneo, social media editor
Mine is the durability hack that keeps on giving. I’m talking about a humble piece of land that we rent in the community garden. It’s a modest affair – kale, garlic, tomatoes (so many tomatoes!), squash and a watermelon that tends to get stolen every year. All is well, because often our little garden produces far more food than this family of three will ever need.
When it comes to sustainability, growing your own food goes without saying. But there are so many other benefits to joining a community garden. Namely, it is in the name: community. When we grow too much of something (like tomatoes), we leave it for someone else to enjoy. Likewise, we often use the bumper crops of our neighbours.
In the end, nothing is wasted. Because even that sad orphan tomato that no one takes will eventually end up in the compost heap, paving the way for next year’s bounty.
Make lifestyle changes big or small
Mary Jo DiLonardo, Senior Writer
The biggest lasting decision we made was to limit ourselves to one car. This might not seem like a big deal to people who live near public transit or can walk, but it’s a bit more difficult in suburban Atlanta. I know this is not feasible for many people, but since my husband and I both work from home, we are lucky not to have to commute. We try to combine our runs so we can do a lot on each trip.
For the little steps I take in a lot of puppies and they help to “reuse” cartons and milk cans as toys before they head to the recycling bin. That way we don’t keep buying an endless stream of toys that could end up in a landfill.
Invest in an electric cargo bike
Katherine Martinko, Editor-in-Chief
I’m starting to sound like a broken record to co-workers, friends and family, but my electric cargo bike from Rad Power Bikes is the biggest addition to my house in recent years. I started riding in November 2020 and now find it hard to imagine life without my beautiful bright orange e-bike.
The load capacity means I don’t have to plan ahead how to transport groceries, packages or children, as the basket and extra seat are already there. I can select the level of pedal assist I want from the motor, which means I don’t arrive at destinations all hot and sweaty. But if I want more training, I can reduce it. Usually I don’t, because the bike works like a car replacement for me.
People stop me everywhere I go to ask about my bike. They are curious and eager to try it. When they ask me for my opinion, I tell them that my only regret is that I didn’t get it sooner. It’s a real pleasure to ride and I look forward to each ride, as do my children who love riding on their backs.
Embrace the Big Culture
Lindsey Reynolds, Content Quality and Visual Editor
I’m deep into spring planting mode and have tons of large containers/planters to fill, but the cost of potting soil can really add up. I was inspired by the practice of Hugglkultur permaculture, which is basically building raised garden beds without digging from old branches, leaves and grass clippings.
I “harvested” lawn debris from my garden and neighbors, filled my large pots three-quarters full with branches, leaves, etc., then covered them with potting soil. Tada! Save money and recycle garden scraps no one wants.