Sustainable solutions. Sustainable business. Sustainable lifestyles. But sustainability is so much more than a buzzword, it’s essential to how we live, plan, and is more pervasive than you might even realize. As public businesses get rid of paper towels and use only hand dryers, ditch the plastic straws and choose paper, and electric cars become more accessible, we can see changes being made for us. While you might think you as one person can only do so much to improve the world’s sustainability, if we all take one, two, or three more steps in our daily lives, we can make a big impact together.
Your Carbon Footprint and the Ecosystem
According to Blue Glacier, “Sustainability improves the quality of our lives, protects our ecosystem, and preserves natural resources for future generations.” The choices we make to change our habits can make a difference for the future. You can choose environmentally friendly brands, shop less fast fashion, and, most importantly, do your research on things you’re doing currently that are increasing your carbon footprint.
Your carbon footprint doesn’t just have to do with the amount you drive or travel. It also takes into account the energy you use in your home, your shopping habits, and your diet. According to The New York Times, “A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use, and end-of-life of a product or service.” There can be larger implications that come with actions you don’t even think twice about. But making positive changes doesn’t need to make your life difficult.
Changing some habits that are not sustainable may improve your way of life as well as help the environment. Eating less red meat is one way to reduce your environmental impact. Although experts say eating a vegan diet is best for the environment, changing even one or two meals a week to vegetarian or vegan can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. According to The New York Times, “That means filling your plate with vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans.” Not only is this good for the world around you, but it also helps give you the nutrients you need.
Add An App
When looking at sustainability from a big-picture perspective, it can seem overwhelming to achieve in your own life. Enter: technology. From self to environmental sustainability, we’ve selected some great apps to provide you with easy, first steps to implement sustainability into your daily routine; all in the palm of your hand! Try one or all as you start looking for the little things that can add up to a big impact. Tell your friends, family, and support the sustainable revolution.
2. FloraLooking to reduce your tech time and boost productivity? Flora provides a place for you to organize your to-do list and achieve goals. By finishing tasks and spending less time on social media, you grow trees within the app and can create a virtual garden of your own. For an optional fee you can plant real trees all over the world! Your personal success can benefit both yourself and the earth.
3. thredUPThredUP provides users with an accessible way to shop secondhand from their mobile devices. With a wide range of brands, including J.Crew, LOFT, Free People, and Madewell, clothes are available at extremely affordable prices. The company is dedicated to promoting intentional shopping while rejecting the idea of throwaway fashion culture. Check it out for fun fashion finds.
4. Think DirtyEver wonder about the ingredients in all the different products you use? Think Dirty makes it easy to really understand what you use every day and how safe it is for you and your family. From beauty to personal and household products, scan your products and the app will rate your product based on how “clean” it is, easily avoiding chemicals like phthalates, parabens and synthetic fragrances. Best part? It’s free!
5. JouleBugMake your everyday actions more sustainable through this fun and interactive app. JouleBug makes the things you do everyday into eco-friendly challenges. This app is super easy to use, just choose between different categories like habits, water, energy, and more, and read how the smallest actions can be changed. Hit the “Buzz” feature when you finish a goal, and connect with friends to compete and join their sustainability journey. JouleBug makes it easy to track your progress and make a difference with your daily habits.
6. Good On YouUncover whether your favorite clothing brands are ethical and sustainable with Good On You. This app provides transparent information on the important practices and policies of different clothing brands. For each brand, the app details whether or not they’re sustainable, ethical, their environmental impact, labor conditions, animal welfare, and shares an overall rating. There are also hundreds of other news articles that will help make your wardrobe more eco-friendly, without changing your style.
7. PaperKarmaGetting loads of junk mail every day is not only annoying, but bad for the environment. PaperKarma is the esource to help you stop different companies from sending you junk mail in just a few steps. All you have to do is take a picture of the junk mail you receive, tap “Unsubscribe,” and they will take it from there! Although it takes a few weeks to process, you’ll see results quickly.
Living More Sustainably
Without the use of apps, there are plenty of things you can do to change your lifestyle. If you’re looking for some new seasonal items to add to your wardrobe, check out your nearest thrift store to see what they have before choosing fast fashion. Invest in a good reusable water bottle that you can take anywhere, and bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking to the store instead of driving, can have a positive impact on your overall health as well as the environment. Little things can go a long way, and if everyone chooses to make a few simple changes to be more sustainable everyday, we can create a healthier environment for ourselves and future generations.
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This article was originally published in the summer 2021 issue of Molly My Mag on page 48 under the title, “In The Palm Of Your Hand” and has been expanded by our team here. If you have a sustainable app we’re missing on this list, contact our editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org to share for consideration.