Environmentalism

Using Things Up Pt. 2

A few months ago I made it a mission to start using makeup and beauty products up before buying new ones. I’ve been doing fairly well with this. I have definitely slipped up a few times when it comes to makeup, but I would say that I have really stuck with it when it comes to skin care, hair care, and the like. Read on to hear my thoughts about things I’ve finished and if I would buy them again!

Hair Care

Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It (Fine)

This is the product that’s been in my arsenal the longest and the one I was most determined to finish. I bought it almost three years ago because I loved the concept: a hair product that was meant to enhance the texture of your hair and reduce frizziness so it could dry naturally and still look nice. I will say I didn’t really see its benefit until I cut my hair into a pixie cut about six months in to owning it and that was where it really shined. I never blow dried my short hair and this really helped me give it some shape while also helping it look presentable. I am currently working my way through other hair styling products but would consider repurchasing when the time comes. Don’t Blow It now comes in a formula for thick hair, which I would definitely go with next time as I have a LOT of hair, but the original formula served me well!

Vermont Village Apple Cider Vinegar 

In my quest to reduce the amount of plastic in my life, I was on the hunt for a plastic-free hair conditioner. I tried a conditioner bar from LUSH (I absolutely LOVE their shampoo bars) but did not find that it did much in terms of making my hair softer or easier to brush. A few years ago I tried Apple Cider Vinegar as a conditioning rinse and absolutely loved it. As most ACV comes in glass bottles (albeit with plastic caps), I decided to give it another go. WOW WAS MY HAIR SOFT. Also shiny and easy to brush. After finishing this one I bought ACV from Heinz to try out as an alternative and okay my hair was not nearly as good as it was when I was using this one from Vermont Village. Have since repurchased and will continue to do so.

Skin Care

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

Another product I’ve had in my medicine cabinet for while is this lovely facial oil. I am a big fan of Drunk Elephant products and this one was no exception. Very hydrating and felt SO nice going on the skin. Marula Oil is naturally anti-microbial and very soothing so I also loved using it on my underarms and bikini line after shaving to avoid redness and bumps. Would definitely consider repurchasing BUT will probably be going after The Ordinary’s version as it is a fraction of the price ($10 v $72) !!!!!!

Dr Jart+ Tiger Grass Re.Pair Serum

I naturally have a very pink complexion. Redness abounds on the bridge of my nose and cheeks no matter what I do. That was why the Dr Jart+ Cicapair line really intrigued me as it was completely dedicated to lessening redness in the face. There are a few products in the line and I also have the Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, but this is the only one that I’ve used up completely. While a very nice serum, unfortunately I can’t say that I noticed any reduction in my redness. Described as “a highly concentrated, fast-acting serum that soothes skin sensitivity while calming redness and irritation “, I wonder if it would be better suited for someone with acne or a particularly bad sunburn rather than someone whose face is just naturally pink. Was pricey so will probably not repurchase.

L’Oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask 

Love love love this face mask. Have just purchased my third jar. This is made with red clay and is very gritty so it provides excellent exfoliation when you are wash it off. Lovely scent, from the drugstore, and as a bonus it comes in a glass jar (with a plastic cap but still an improvement for the drugstore). Cannot recommend this mask enough and it is currently the only one I use. My dry skin feels so smooth and soft after I use it. There are two other masks in the Pure Clay range so you should be able to find something no matter your skin type!

Nuxe Reve De Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

This is a French pharmacy cult classic so I couldn’t wait to give it a go when I saw it my local Boots while living in London. I picked up the famous jar version as well as it in stick form for on-the-go applications. Nothing worse than having to stick your grimy city hands into a jar of pristine lip balm!  This lip balm has a texture unlike any other I have ever used before or since and the smell is absolutely DIVINE. Slightly lemony. It was also a pretty matte-looking formula, which is very interesting for a lip balm but I enjoyed it because although it was more matte, it wasn’t drying at all. I always felt v French and chic when I was putting it on before bed. Because it is a little harder to get in the U.S. and I have since fallen in love with the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, I don’t think I will repurchase the jar. Although the stick version was slightly different (less thick and better for the day), I would consider picking it up again to keep in my bag because it was super soothing and easy to apply.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Serum

An absolute CLASSIC in the beauty world, I was very excited to try this serum when my friend gave me a cute little sample size of it. Described as “a powerful nighttime renewal serum for radiant, youthful-looking skin; with instant luminosity and hydration”, I unfortunately wasn’t too impressed with it. Like all serums, it feels so nice going on but I didn’t notice any instant hydration or glowy-ness. I know that this is a product that I would need to use long-term in order to really see results, but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be buying the full-size (something my wallet is happy about as a 50mL bottle comes in at whooping $98!).

Makeup

MAC Prep & Prime Fix+

Another cult classic in the beauty industry. Described as “a lightweight mist of water packed with vitamins and minerals, infused with a blend of green tea, chamomile and cucumber to gently soothe and refresh the skin.” I really liked this product. The scent is so good and its nozzle is top-notch. My favorite thing about facial mists is their ability to take a very makeup-y and powdery-looking face and make everything look like skin again. I have dry skin so sometimes makeup just looks heavy on my face and this is where something like Fix+ comes in. It instantly meshes everything together and makes your makeup much less obvious looking. An original in the beauty world, now there are loads of dupes and similar products so I don’t think I’ll be getting this one again. However, if you have been itching to try and just need an excuse to bite the bullet, it is definitely something every beauty fan should try once.

Glossier Boy Brow 

Glossier’s first product was an INSTANT hit when it launched a few years ago and I have to say that the hype is real. This brow gel quickly took top spot against my beloved Benefit Gimme Brow. It just makes your eyebrows look so fluffy and natural while still adding some color and hold. The brush is teeny-tiny and perfect for grabbing all of your eyebrow hairs. It also lasts for ages. I first started using the tube in November and it only fully dried out in May and this is with consistent everyday use. I am currently trying out the new Hourglass eyebrow gel and while it’s very good, I can confidently say that I will be going back to Boy Brow once I finish it up.

Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil 

Sticking with eyebrows (as they are v important to me), I recently used up my favorite eyebrow pencil. I have tried a few (NYX, Anastasia, Bobbi Brown) but this one is by far the best. The point is perfect, the formula is creamy, the color is spot on, and the brush is ace. I would (and have) repurchase but I am currently trying out a brow pomade from Anastasia because 1. It comes in a glass jar and 2. a little goes an extremely long way so I’m hoping that it will be one less piece of plastic I have to constantly bin. Will report back on how that is going, but the Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil will forever hold a place in my heart.

Tarte Colored Clay CC Under Eye Corrector

My under eye circles and I have a long-standing beef. They are hereditary so no amount of sleep or water makes them go away. I was SO self-conscious of them in college and have gone through so many concealers and color correctors in my effort to hide them. I also have the added benefit of my under eye area being very dry, so most concealers would look so patchy and awful. There is only one concealer I have purchased more than once and this one is it. I first used it about two years ago and really loved it, but still wanted more coverage. Recently I have decided to comes to terms with my under eye darkness as something that looks much better left alone than completely caked in product. I, of course, do like a bit of help, but my focus is more on keeping the area hydrated than completely covering the darkness. The Tarte Colored Clay CC Under Eye Corrector is SO creamy and hydrating and is peach-colored so it does a bit of correcting as well. Have just purchased a second one and I think this will be my under eye concealer for a while!

 

Thanks for reading! Have been hoarding these products in a drawer for the past few months so it will be so good to finally get rid of them!

2 Years as a Veggie

The first week of May marks two years since I decided to change my diet from omnivore to vegetarian. Two years since I watched the Cowspiracy documentary and decided that I no longer wanted my diet to play a part in the destruction of our planet. Two years of learning how to maneuver through restaurants and parties for something plant-based. Two years of learning that sometimes there was nothing for me on the menu and that I would just have to wait to eat something when I got home. Two years of committing myself to something and never once going back on it.

I do not eat meat of any kind and YES this includes fish. I can’t tell you how many times people ask me “well what about fish?” when I tell them that I do not eat meat. Yes, of course there are some people who do not eat chicken, beef, pork, etc. but do continue to eat fish, especially when out at restaurants. I just hate fish. Always have. Plus, fish is not a victimless food. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, overfishing endangers ocean ecosystems and the billions of people who rely on seafood as a key source of protein. Without sustainable management, our fisheries face collapse – and we face a food crisis.

A lot of people like to claim that they eat meat because eating plant-based is just too expensive. This can be true, but really only if you are spending on imitation products such as Tofurkey. These are very expensive, but are also not that good for you. Besides, now that I don’t eat meat, I don’t miss it enough to spend my money on something meant to imitate the texture. Canned beans, rice, and frozen fruits/vegetables make up 95% of my diet and are accessible at every grocery store and are extremely inexpensive.

I am the only vegetarian in my family. I know a lot of people who cite this as as a reason it would be hard to go veggie, and yes it would be if your heart was not in it. Decide why you are doing it: to lessen your environmental impact (mine), for the welfare of animals (has now become mine as well now that I’m veggie) or maybe you need to make a health change.  In the beginning you may be jealous about the chicken your parents and sister are eating and ask “well why can’t I have some too? What difference does it make?” It actually makes a big difference. For one thing, you are proving that the mission is important to you and what’s that saying again? “What difference can one person make? – Asks 7 billion people”.

Two years on, I plan to be vegetarian for the rest of my life. There are statistics out there that say something like 95% of vegetarians go back to eating meat at some point in their life. I do not plan on ever eating meat again and am thankful to live in a time when different diets can be more easily catered to (both at home and at restaurants) as I think that will help my goal a lot.

The benefits are vegetarianism are endless: good for the planet, good for your wallet, and good for your health. If you are interested in vegetarianism then I highly suggest the following documentaries: Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Vegeducated (PSA: none of these films contain disturbing or graphic images of animal slaughter so if that particularly affects you, watch with no fear!)

It’s Time for a Fashion Revolution

Every year since 2013, the week of April 24th has been known as Fashion Revolution week in the sustainable fashion world. I wrote about it a year ago and you can read that here. I love this campaign. With a tagline of “We love fashion, but we don’t want our clothes to come at the cost of people or our planet”, how can I not?

We all know that for over a year I have been trying to make a conscious effort when it comes to buying clothing (and things in general). I love shopping at thrift stores and seeing what cool things I can find. I love discovering new sustainable fashion brands and perusing their websites for hours. I follow so many Instagram accounts of awesome ladies who are killing the style game while also lessening their impact on the planet. But sometimes I waver. Sometimes I need/want a very specific item that 1. cannot be found in a single trip to my local Savers 2. is not something people tend to donate as much (plain white t-shirts, jeans that go past my ankles, shoes that are not worn through) and 3. doesn’t cost the equivalent of a ten-hour shift at my minimum-wage job.

Sometimes all I want to do in walk freely into my local H&M (or Zara, or Topshop, or sometimes even Forever 21) and find something I like and spend about $20 on it. Cheap, conviennent, probably trendy, and provides a source of instant gratification. No spending a lot, no perusing eco websites for hours, no paying for shipping and then having to wait a week for the thing to arrive.

This is where Fashion Revolution Week comes in. It reminds me that I am not the only one impacted by my fashion choices and that is it not a harmless hobby. Workers (who are mostly women) that make the clothes for the retailers I find myself caving to live on less than $3 a day, work tortuously long hours doing a monotonous task, and do it all in ramshackle buildings that are prone to collapse. They are exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes on the daily. And those are just some of the effects on humans. Forget about the impact on the planet – according to EcoWatch, the fast fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, second only to oil.

So thank you to Fashion Revolution for helping to remind me of why I care so much about the clothing industry in the first place. Thank you for reminding me that 95% of my wardrobe can come to me secondhand. Thank you for getting me back on track when I slip up and for giving us a week to really reflect on the impact our seemingly harmless clothing addiction has on the world.

EMBRACE ANTI-CONSUMERISM AND FEEL LIKE A MILLIONAIRE

Read on to learn about how to learn to shop more consciously and how to spend money on only the things you really want. This post originally appeared on SixtyandMe.com

“I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I’m not gonna buy it.” Say it three times and walk away. Say it and feel fabulous. You’re a part of a new anti-consumerism movement that will help you feel like a millionaire.

The anti-consumerism movement began as a reaction to the ‘haul’ videos prevalent on YouTube. If you’ve never seen one, here is the basic concept: A young woman (usually) sits in front of a camera with shopping bags filled with her ‘haul’ from a particular store.

She pulls out each item, describes it, says why she bought it, why it is so fabulous, and why you should have it, too. This huge trend has resulted in haul video channels and even videos on how to make haul videos.

Viral Consumerism

Haul videos are but one example of today’s viral consumerism. Viral as in virus, like a disease. Viral as in infection; consumerism has gotten to the viral point. A haul is not just one item but an overdose of purchase. A ‘spree,’ a ‘splurge.’

What’s the purpose of a haul video? To create envy, to demean the viewer and make them feel jealous, and to inspire purchasing. Brands love social media haul videos.

It’s free advertising by young people who have so many followers they are called ‘influencers.’ Often these influencers get their haul products free or are paid in some way so that they keep making more videos. It’s how they earn their living – by shopping for things they don’t need.

Meet Kimberly Clark, the Anti-Haul Queen

Say hello to Kimberly Clark. Not the paper company, but the drag queen. My millennial daughter turned me onto Kimberly Clark, an intelligent, eloquent individual with her own YouTube channel. She posts contemplative, insightful videos on a range of pertinent topics.

Kimberly says, “I want help to build a world in which we are not beholden to blind consumerism, unrealistic beauty standards and the patriarchy. Makeup can be radical as it represents the ability to progress and self-transform.”

The Anti-Haul: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Something

Kimberly began reviewing makeup products that she bought for her drag performances, and then gave it a second thought. She started an ‘anti-haul movement.’

In her anti-haul videos, she presents the marketing world’s top, ‘must have’ products and tells you why “I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I’m not gonna buy it.” She saves you lots of money and freedom from the clutter of products that will go unused and ultimately, tossed.

Anti-haul videos give you a good reason NOT to buy. And, they open your eyes to the power of marketing.

Desire Is Endless

Kimberly says, “Desire is endless, and marketing is made to create desire after desire. You want more, more, more.” Haul videos create envy. Wow, she has the money, she has every color, she must be better than me.

The Power of Marketing

“Consumerism is trying to part you with your money,” she says in her insightful Listen Up series on consumerism. “Haul videos urge you to buy; anti-haul videos give you good reasons not to buy.”

Three Gimmicks That Create Desire

‘Limited Editions’ are just bait. You think if you don’t buy a ‘special,’ limited edition that you’re missing out on something cool. Limited editions are created to jump start a fresh new desire and to create urgency. You’re missing out on nothing.

Beware of sales. Sales are where consumers make their biggest purchasing mistakes and why marketers are so keen on sales. Bottom line: don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. If it’s something you’ve been looking for, buy it. If it’s not something you’d pay full price for, don’t buy it on sale.

Do you really need that set? I wanted a tube of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Then I saw a set with the cream, a lipstick and a body oil for a few dollars more. “Wow, that’s a great value,” I thought.

When faced with sets, ask yourself, are you really going to use the whole set? Guess what, the answer is no. Don’t buy the eye shadow set with 30 colors. Are you really going to use it? No. Buy what you need and nothing more.

Shopping as Entertainment

In the old days, people shopped when they needed something. Today, shopping has become entertainment. You’re bored, you buy a lipstick. You’re depressed, you buy a dress.

Save your money and deal with your emotions in a healthier way: read a book, talk to a friend, cook a beautiful meal, write in your journal, make a phone call.

Bottom line: Buy what you need. Enjoy what you have. Feel good about not spending money needlessly and then having to KonMari your house. Save your money for something else, like a well-deserved vacation. Learn a language. Send your kids to college.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion of how to feel like a millionaire by not spending money needlessly! Do look at the video links I posted in the article. Check out some ‘haul’ videos and see what you think. I’d love to read your thoughts below.

Have you stopped spending money casually? What tricks of the trade have you learned to live more consciously when it comes to spending? Please join the conversation!

By Elizabeth Dunkel

A Climate Change Activist on Why Giving Up Isn’t an Option

This post originally appeared on Man Repeller and when I read it I knew I had to share. Sometimes the problems seem so big and people so uncaring and indifferent that I feel completely overwhelmed about the idea even bothering to do anything about climate change. This article really helped me see things in a different way. The woman interviewed in this article has been a climate change activist for decades and she’s not tired of fighting the good fight despite so many people not bothering or wanting to listen. Truly an inspiration.  

By Jackie Homan

An increasing number of young people are identifying as activists, but to call this a new trend would not only be naive, it would also be a missed opportunity. Older generations offer an important perspective on what it means to be politically and socially active. In an effort to soak up their knowledge, we’re speaking to activists who have been doing this work for decades. We’ve previously learned from 74-year-old Sally Roesch Wagner, 66-year-old Jackie Warren-Moore, 71-year-old Felicia Elizondo and 68-year-old Faith Spotted Eagle. Today, we speak with 67-year-old Nancy Cole.

Though she considers herself more of a “behind-the-scenes type of activist,” there’s no doubt Nancy Cole deserves to stand in the limelight. Cole has spent over 25 years working in outreach and activism with the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she focuses on climate and energy issues. She oversees the group’s campaigns, which hold corporations responsible for climate impact and unite scientists to incite policy change. She’s not afraid to publicly call out companies that are detrimental to the earth and demand better, and while she’s not a scientist herself, she supports them by translating their knowledge to the public.

Cole admits that her job can be frustrating in our current political landscape, with people in power trying to undermine the credibility of climate science despite the research being clear. Her number one piece of advice — essentially, “power through the hard times” — comes as no surprise then. If her decades of campaigning tirelessly for the future of the planet have taught her anything, it’s that none of us has the luxury to quit.

What first sparked your interest in activism?

One thing that was important to my mom and is now important to me is that we all leave the world a better place. I’ve always had a lot of interest in science, but in the ’60s, women were not encouraged in [science, technology, engineering and math]. I grew up on a farm in Illinois, and my small-town high school’s guidance counselor told me girls just didn’t do science. So I wound up being a teacher for my first job.

After I realized I wasn’t going to be a very good teacher, I went to work at the Legal Aid Society, where I was kind of like a paralegal. I really enjoyed that work, and I thought that social change happened through the law, so I decided to go to law school. But three years of law school taught me that that’s not how it works; I realized that social change really comes from activism, citizen engagement and people who care passionately about making things change. That’s where I wanted to be. Law school gave me important skills, really valuable friendships and the self-awareness that I wanted to work in grassroots organizing.

What was your first activist endeavor after law school?

Around 1980, I started at an organization called INFACT [now named Corporate Accountability], which stood for Infant Formula Action Coalition. INFACT ran the Nestlé boycott, which was a campaign to stop infant formula companies from peddling a product in developing countries that they knew could not possibly be used safely there. It was killing hundreds of thousands of babies every year. I thought that transnational corporations really got away with murder, and they weren’t being held accountable for what they were doing. We had a successful conclusion to that campaign — it resulted in the first International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes through the United Nations’ World Health Organization.

I became the executive director of INFACT, and our next campaign focused on companies that were making nuclear weapons. That was in the early to mid-’80s, when we were really worried about nuclear war. We thought we could try to reduce the influence of the big nuclear weapon makers, focusing on General Electric. I worked on that campaign for several years.

How did you transition from corporate accountability activism to climate activism?

I decided I wanted to be a parent and needed a different style of organizing, so I got a job at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in 1992. It was perfect for me to work on issues at the intersection of science and policy because I could work with scientists and bring my skills as an organizer and activist to this arena. UCS helps [scientists] take this complicated stuff and communicate it to the public. One of the contributions we’ve made in the world is helping scientists find their voice and speak it powerfully.

What is the biggest challenge you face in climate activism?

I’ve been working on the climate issue for what seems like forever, and it is just beyond frustrating to see where we are today. If we, as a country, had taken steps just a few decades ago to reduce our carbon emissions, we might not be seeing storms like Hurricane Harvey. We would not be seeing sea level rise ravaging our cities. We would not be seeing climate migrants around the world. That’s one of the most challenging parts — figuring out how to keep going and how to keep being creative enough to find new strategies. We have to tap into what we think might move the public to care about climate and energy issues. In the face of the terrible political climate we’re in today, it’s really a challenge.

(more…)

No Buy January

I am now more than halfway through my ‘No Buy January’ endeavour. ‘No Buy January’ is a pretty common thing across the web – it’s a challenge not to buy anything unnecessary for the entire month. A lot of people (myself included) use it to reset after the expensive months leading up to Christmas. It also helps you get some perspective to what you are spending your money on and why. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past twenty days:

  • I can be very good when it comes to buying things, but not so much when it comes to spending money on “experiences”: While I walked away from books, stayed away from clothing stores, and worked hard to use up my stores of toiletries instead of purchasing new items when they ran out, I still spent a fair bit of money on going to restaurants, cafes, and drinks with friends. I have definitely stayed in on more Fridays than not. I don’t make much at my part-time job and am trying to be choosy with what I do spend money on, but I could definitely do better. Of course, going out with friends and spending money on experiences is inherently better than spending money on things, but I would still like to save a bit more in that area. For example, if I know I’m going to a concert in Boston on a Saturday night, then I’ll stay in on Friday to balance out the spending.
  • Western culture revolves around shopping: During the weekends I am often at a loss at what to do that does not involve going to a store and buying something. So much of my adolescence was spent at the mall on weekends and during the summer that I am realizing that it’s a bit difficult not to pop out to the stores when I’m bored and need something to do. I love window shopping as much as the next person, but with this ‘No Buy January’ I also tried to refrain from participating in anything related to consumer culture. This is part of my goal to lead a more conscious lifestyle. Instead I am trying to blog, journal, read, and meet up with friends in restaurants or cafes.
  • Learning to not beat myself up over necessary purchases: Because I don’t make a lot of money at the moment, I’ve been finding this a bit difficult. I pride myself over being able to say ‘no’ to books and clothing but then punish myself for having to spend money on things I actually need. For example, I ran out of my all-time favorite moisturizer. I stood in the aisle of Whole Foods for probably 5 minutes debating whether to repurchase. This was silly because I NEEDED the moisturizer (it is currently the middle of winter in New England and I have perpetually dry skin so yes, moisturizer is a NEED). I also spent a lot of money on a pair of prescription sunglasses, another thing I needed since a late-entry New Years resolution of mine is to wear my glasses more. I need sunglasses to drive so I really did need to buy them. It didn’t stop me from feeling insanely guilty and like I’d failed the whole point of ‘No Buy January’, but in hindsight I am realizing that there’s no way to avoid purchases like these. I can avoid buying books because I have so many currently unread on my shelf and I can avoid clothes shopping because my closet is currently full with items that I love, but I can’t avoid some purchases no matter how hard I try and that’s okay.
  • Overall I’m learning that less is definitely more: This whole process is actually teaching me a lot about myself.  I don’t need things to define who I am. I am just as content (if not more so) sitting in a coffee shop with friends or a book than I am out shopping. I’m going to try and buy only what I absolutely need going forward. Sometimes I won’t need anything and sometimes I’ll need lots of things and that’s okay because every purchase I make will be a conscious one. I never want to clean out my closet or bathroom cabinet and throw away unworn shirts or unused products because I bought them in the moment without really thinking of their value.

I’m planning on continuing my ‘No Buy’ experiment into February. It’s the shortest month of the year so if you’re interested but don’t think you can do a whole 31 days then I recommend trying to give it a go next month. I also recommend downloading a money tracking app. At the start if the month I just searched for “money tracking” in the App Store and found Fudget, which is the most basic app on the planet, but it’s really helping me see exactly where my money is going and how small and unnecessary purchases can add up very quickly.

I recommend trying to instill a ‘No Buy’ even for a week to see how much stuff you can actually survive without. If you find yourself still wanting it at the end of the week/month/YEAR then by all means go for it!

Has anyone else ever done a ‘No Buy’ for a set period time? What did you like about it? What did you find the hardest? Let me know your thoughts!

Hello 2018!

Well 2017 is finally over. Here’s hoping 2018 will be loads better. I usually don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I figured this year I would give it a go. I’m trying to keep them realistic and doable so I thought I’d share.

  1. Work on being vegan at home: I’m vegetarian and I rarely (if ever) drink cow’s milk. I do love cheese though. However, due to how bad animal agriculture is for the environment, I really want to work on lessening my impact. While I can have full control over the ingredients when I eat at home, going out to eat while vegan is pretty difficult. So I’m going to try my damndest to be vegan at home and vegetarian when I go out.
  2. Workout 3x per week: This one I would really like to stick to and there is no reason I should not be able to. I notice a big difference in my fitness levels since I moved home to sedentary America. My parents have a tiny home gym and I’ve recently fallen in love with the elliptical, so working out is going to cost me literally nothing. My new trick to motivate me is to pick a TV series that I am ONLY allowed to watch while I work out. I’m currently working my way through The West Wing, a series I haven’t watched since high school. The episodes are a respectable 45 minutes each and they always leave me itching to watch the next one.
  3. Have a monthly budget: This is something I really need to work on. I’m okay with limiting my purchases but I think setting a figure and seeing how much I spend on unnecessary things and saying “no” to going out and spending money will be a real eyeopener.
  4. Travel back to London: This one is a confirmed thing! Hurry up May! Have decided that I will be adding this to my resolutions every year from now.
  5. Buy majority of clothing second-hand: I want to lessen my environmental impact as much as possible. Plus I really like thrift shopping. It’s fun to never know what you are going to find or what deal you are going to get. I’ve recently discovered the Savers stores and now I can’t fathom spending more than $12 on any item of clothing.
  6. Journal/write more: This is something I strive towards every year. I so want to be a journal person. I’ve also bought a book of 300 writing prompts to help me as I usually don’t write because I feel like I have nothing to write about.
  7. Be asleep by 11PM: This one will be hard. It’s not so much about going to bed earlier, but becoming more of a morning person. I’m hoping a set bedtime will help.
  8. Read every night: I love to read and I do read a lot, but I would like to start reading more in bed. I usually read for a bit but then turn on the TV and watch until midnight. Hopefully this one helps me stick to #7!
  9. Blog 2x per week: I would really like to have this blog be a portfolio of my writing. Just purchased this domain name so hopefully I can get my money’s worth =]
  10. Keep making #zerowaste switchups: I recently wrote about this and I would like to keep improving and lessening the amount of plastic waste that I produce.
  11. Find a job that let’s me do some good: This will be probably my biggest resolution of 2018. I am determined not to work for a company unless it does some good for the world. I refuse to dedicate 40+ hours to something that I am not whole-heartedly passionate about. Interning at this summer really taught me that I am the most professionally fulfilled when I work on something related to environmentalism and that I can combine that with my skills in PR/communications.  I currently have a part-time job at a bookstore that I am happy to keep until the right thing comes along.

HAPPY 2018!

If We Can’t Make the Fashion Industry More Sustainable, We May End Up Eating Our Clothes

This article originally appeared on Fashionista.com, a trusted source of fashion news, criticism and career advice with a monthly readership of more than 2.5 million. This articles explains the need to go eco in fashion and why you should avoid polyester at all costs. A real eye opener! 

By

No one wants to eat a meal laced with plastic, but if something doesn’t change in our current textile economy, that could soon be a reality. Plastic microfibers, which are like tiny pieces of plastic lint that come off synthetic clothing in the washing machine, are now entering the oceans at a rate of about half a million tons every year — that’s equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. Once in the water, these microfibers are ingested by aquatic wildlife and travel up the food chain where they end up being consumed by humans.

This problem is just one of many highlighted in a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Entitled “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future,” the 150-page report has garnered support from brands like Stella McCartneyNike and H&M in addition to the United Nations and nonprofits like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the C&A Foundation.

“This report is an important step in signaling the type of systemic innovation and collaboration required to unlock a future that protects… the planet while also powering sustainable business growth,” says Nike vice president of sustainable business and innovation Cyrus Wadia in the report’s introduction.

According to the report, Wadia is right to note the connection between business growth and planet care. While the detriment to the earth is staggering in and of itself, the fact that over “$500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilization and the lack of recycling” should be enough to make other businesses take note of the report’s findings.

Besides overviewing the microfiber issue, the report also touches on a range of other matters that need to be addressed if the fashion industry is to avoid “catastrophic outcomes.” Among these issues are the reduction of carbon emissions in the textile sector, which currently equals that of all international flights and shipping combined. At its current rate, fashion is projected to be using 26 percent of the planet’s carbon budget by 2050.

Another problem is related to clothing’s growing disposability. The report notes that the steady increase in global fashion production is linked to a decreased use of individual pieces, with some garments being thrown out after only seven to 10 wears. Considering that less than one percent of clothing is recycled, that’s a huge problem — and has led to a scenario in which “one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second.” If this trajectory continues, the weight of our discarded clothing would be more than ten times that of the world’s current population by 2050.

It looks pretty bleak if the textile industry continues with business as usual, but the report doesn’t end in pessimism. Instead, it offers a vision of change that could lead to systemic shifts that go beyond the individualized good deeds of a few ethical brands here or there.

The solution offered by the report can be broken down into four steps. First, it involves phasing out hazardous substances, and reducing microfiber release through new technologies and better production processes. Second, the report suggests transforming how clothing is designed, sold and used so that disposability is reduced. This might involve placing a bigger emphasis on clothing rental programs or designing and better marketing more durable garments.

The third part of the solution involves recycling: encouraging brands to design garments that are easy to recycle, setting up large-scale clothing collection and pursuing technological advancements that will make recycling more possible. Lastly, the report suggests that any non-recycled material that enters the fashion cycle should come from renewable sources (like algae or bamboo) rather than nonrenewable ones (like fossil fuels).

Reforming the fashion industry so thoroughly will be a difficult task, but the report makes clear that it’s the only option for human and environmental flourishing — and maybe even survival.

“It is obvious that the current fashion system is failing both the environment and us,” writes member of Denmark’s Parliament Ida Auken in the introduction to the report. “This report sets out a compelling vision of an industry that is not only creative and innovative, but also circular… Whilst this may not be straightforward, the way is now clear.”

Read the full report here.

Some #ZeroWaste Switch-Ups

Since I’ve been home from London, I’ve had some free time on my hands (FYI it is NOT easy to find an office job during the holiday season!!). I’ve been reading a lot, books of course but also blogs. I love a good blog. Fashion and lifestyle are my favorite categories and soon I’ll do a post about the ones I’ve been following for a few years.

As you can probably tell – I consider myself to be a bit of an environmentalist and recently found two really great blogs that have inspired me to make some changes:

  • Model4GreenLiving.com – Model Renee Peters uses her platform as a model to reshape the way people think about the environment and their role in protecting it. She launched Model4GreenLiving to provide practical tips and everyday actions that encourage mindful, sustainable living.
  • TrashisforTossers.com – Lauren Singer blog documents her Zero Waste journey and shows that leading a Zero Waste lifestyle is simple, cost-effective, timely, fun, & entirely possible for everyone and anyone.

Both of these ladies show that there are so many ways to lessen your impact on the environment by making small changes that add up in a big way. Both blogs really focus on reducing the amount of plastic waste utilized in our everyday lives. Every single piece of plastic every produced is still around today and causing major problems. In fact, if you drink tap water (which most bottled water is made up of anyway), then you are drinking tiny plastic fibers every time you take a sip.

So I’ve decided to take some tips from both Renee and Lauren and focus on lessening the amount of plastic I use. Some of the biggest culprits of plastic waste are personal hygiene products – toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, razors, body wash etc. There is no need for any of these things to be made out of or stored in plastic, and we tend to go through these items the quickest.

Below is what I’m switching up in my bathroom in an effort to lessen my environmental impact!

  • Floss Dental floss creates a huge amount of waste. The packages are plastic and so is the actual floss itself. Dental Lace was born in Maine when a librarian named Jodi set out to create a stylish, eco-friendly refillable container. Ridding your bathroom cabinets of plastic and non-refillable dental floss, Dental Lace offers compostable packaging and a more sustainable container for your floss. It also happens to be some of the best floss I have ever used!
  • Toothbrush – Over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes that will never biodegrade are dumped in landfills and oceans every year worldwide. Brush with Bamboo is the world’s first plant-based toothbrush. Every component of their awesome product is plant-based: bristles, handle, wrapper, and box.
  • Body soap Why use a body wash that comes in plastic bottles when name brand bar soap in paper packaging is available in every single drugstore? For example, I bought this bar soap at Target. Of course I could have grabbed a Dove bar, but Alaffia works to help empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty.
  • Deodorant – The switch to natural deodorant has been a long time coming. For years I knew the health risks of conventional deodorant but no matter how many I tried (and I tried a LOT), I could not get any natural deodorants to work for me. BUT THEN I DISCOVERED SCHMIDT’S. Hands down the best natural deodorant by far and you can find them at Whole Foods and Target! I am currently working my way through a conventional plasic packaging version of their Bergamot & Lime scent (my favorite, but I am also keen to try the Charcoal & Magnesium), but I’ve just purchased it in glass jar form. Cannot recommend enough.
  • Shampoo – This is new for me and I’ll admit I haven’t used this cool shampoo bar from Lush yet as I’m finishing up a bottle, but I’m really excited to give this a go! This is a true #zerowaste product as there is absolutely no packaging involved. I decided to buy an aluminum tin so I can bring it with me when I travel, but that’s a one-time purchase that I will be able to keep using forever. They have shampoo bars for every single hair need. I’m going to be trying New which  stimulates the scalp and gets the blood pumping to aid hair growth. According to Lush all you need to do to use is rub the bar between your hands to create a lather, or directly onto your hair hair. Massage into the hair and scalp then rinse clean. Easy!
  • Razor –  I had been wanting to make this switch for a while and last month I finally did it. I safely say that I am never going back to a conventional plastic razor ever again. Plastic razors are AWFUL. My skin hates to be shaved and the cheap plastic ones left little bumps all over my legs and underarms. The blades never last longer than a week and they are EXPENSIVE. Safety razors on the other hand are great! It’s a one-time investment for the actual stainless steel razor (I got this one on Amazon for $23) and a pack of double-edge razor blades can be purchased with each blade coming out to be less than $.10 cents each! The blades can last for 2-3 months with proper care so you are saving SO MUCH MONEY when you switch. The blades (and razor) come in cardboard, are wrapped individually in paper, and can be recycled when you need to switch it out.

 #ZeroWaste

I Just Do Not Understand

 

I do not have a lot of fears. I am not afraid of heights, flying, spiders, the dentist, needles, snakes, water, clowns, germs, thunder, or the dark. But lately I have been feeling something that is absolutely fear: fear that within my lifetime the effects of climate change will be so great that life as we know it will cease.

Now, I don’t think the world will end, or that all of the catastrophic things that are coming (and they WILL come) will happen at once, but I do think that we as humans are going to be tested like never before. Natural disasters will continue to get worse and more frequent. They will also start to happen in places that they previous have not. Sea levels will rise – it is not out of the question that Boston, NYC, and London will be underwater within my lifetime. Forget about fighting over the ever-dwindling supply of oil, drinkable water will be the next thing to cause mass panic (look at the recent price gouges during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – taking advantage of people’s panic and the very real chance that access to safe drinking water could be compromised, some stores were charging up to $50 for a case of bottled water).

I am SO afraid that society will just dissolve into chaos, even though the effects and consequences of climate change have been known for decades and we have had YEARS AND YEARS to get our acts together and change our ways.

I try SO hard to lessen my impact of the environment, with my biggest contribution being that I went vegetarian in May 2016. There is so much evidence that finds going veggie to be a key factor in dramatically lowering CO2 emissions. Science Daily states that “If Americans would eat beans instead of beef, the United States would immediately realize approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG (harmful greenhouse gases) reduction targets for the year 2020…without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing.”

(more…)