I get it—making any sort of real difference in our impact, as humans, on the environment can seem daunting. With so much in the hands of the government, what can we do regularly that actually matters?
The answer is—quite a lot. We make environmental choices tens of times daily, from the food that we put on our plate to what we do to dispose of said food when we’re done with it. It might seem small, but we do these actions so regularly that they really do add up. Here are a few of the choices I make daily that support the earth:
1. I shop for what’s in season whenever I can. A lot of people don’t realize how much of their produce (which is heavy with water weight) is flown in from different parts of the world. This is how we have strawberries and mangos in the dead of winter in NYC. Every time you purchase produce that came from Ecuador, you’re not only contributing to the (less-than-eco-friendly) transportation of said produce, you’re also voting with your dollar to continue said practices. I believe our bodies thrive when we eat with the seasons, so I nourish myself with hearty root vegetables in the winter, and stock up fresh berries and stone fruit in the summer.
2. Vote with your dollar for companies that support sustainable practices. This is a great way for getting the food you need, but also making it clear that you care about—and are willing to pay more for—companies that treat the earth and workers sustainably and ethically. Look for labels like “fair-trade”—and Google to see the practices of different companies. You’d be surprised how much you can find out!
3. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Going with point one, a CSA makes eating what’s in season super easy—and cuts out the transportation and energy costs of having a middleman grocer. In a CSA, you’re essentially buying a small share of a farm’s output for around a hundred dollars, and for that money, you get fresh, local produce all season long. It’s a great way to support small farmers (sustainable, environmental practices aren’t cheap and require a lot of commitment and passion from the people who enact them) and get the highest quality, most delicious produce for your plate.
4. Compost. It sounds grosser than it actually is, promise! I just have a small bucket that I scrape leftover food into. You can either put it in your garden, or if, like me, you live in a big city, most farmer’s markets now have places to dump compost. It’s a great way to ensure no food gets wasted. And, actually, while we’re talking about that—
5. Don’t waste food! We waste so, so much food in developed countries, and every time we do, we’re wasting not only the food itself but the aforementioned energy costs that it took to grow the food and get it to our homes. Try to actually eat your leftovers, and always shop with a plan for what you’ll use each item for.