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Earth Day: 7 Sustainable Living Tips

7 tips to help you live in a sustainable way for Earth Day and Beyond

April 22nd is Earth Day, a day that is meant to remind us of how precious the Earth is and how we need to look after her. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. The idea for Earth Day came from the public's growing concerns about pollution and environmental damage in the United States during the 1960s. Air pollution, plastic washing up on beaches and oil spills made the public aware that the Earth was actually a resource, that we need to care of and not take for granted. The first Earth Day was a grassroots movement that brought together millions of people to advocate for a healthier, more sustainable planet, but since then Earth Day has evolved into a day of action and awareness. Activities, protests and actions take place around the world that can include tree planting, clean-up campaigns, environmental education events, and advocacy for policy change.

a protester with an earth placard
It's easy to take the Earth for granted

The Synergy of Veganism and Earth Day

Earth Day and veganism are synergistic. They complement each other by working towards a more sustainable and harmonious relationship between humanity, the planet and all of the beings that live on her. Both Earth Day and veganism promote practices that reduce environmental degradation, conserve resources, and mitigate climate change. By being vegan you are already living in a way that produces less waste, is not as polluting and is less exploitative of the environment than people who eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs, but there is still more that we can do.

Below, I've put together 7 different things that we can all do to reduce the impact that our lives have on our planet:

1. Embrace Whole Foods: One of the most sustainable choices we can make as vegans is to focus on whole, plant-based foods. Opting for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes reduces the environmental footprint associated with processed and packaged foods. These foods typically require fewer resources to produce, they use less plastic, fewer chemicals and have a lower carbon footprint, making them a win-win for both your health and the planet.

2. Shop Seasonal: Choosing seasonal produce is another great way to reduce your environmental impact. Foods that are forced to grow out of season are real drain on resources as they need a really tightly controlled environment to produce fruits and vegetables. They need lighting, temperature control, even fans to replicate the action of the wind. Plus, seasonal produce tends to be fresher, tastier, and more nutritious.

3. Minimise Food Waste: Food waste is bad for our purses but also the planet as it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Food that is thrown away is a complete waste of all of the resources that were used to produce it, the land, the chemicals, packaging and transporting as well as energy used to cook and prepare it. Then food waste, that isn't handled correctly, will go to landfill where it rots and produces huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. Minimising food waste is essential for sustainable living. Plan your meals, use up leftovers creatively, and compost food scraps whenever possible. By being mindful of your food consumption and reducing waste, you'll not only save money, but also help conserve valuable resources.

4. Choose Sustainable Plant-Based Proteins: While plant-based diets are naturally more sustainable than diets involving animal products, not all plant-based foods are created equal in terms of their environmental impact. Opt for protein sources like lentils, beans, tofu, and tempeh, which have a lower carbon footprint compared to some imported or heavily processed vegan alternatives such as mock meats. These foods are more optimal nutritionally as well, containing more fibre, vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients.

5. Reduce Single-Use Plastics: Single-use plastics are a major contributor to pollution and harm wildlife and ecosystems. As a vegan, you're already making choices that reduce animal suffering, it's only a small step to reduce our plastic use after that. Invest in reusable alternatives like stainless steel water bottles and glass containers, you can even reuse jars like jam jars to carry snacks. Cloth produce bags minimise your reliance on disposable plastics and they can easily be made out of old t-shirts and jumpers so that you don't have to buy one.

6. Support Ethical and Sustainable Brands: When purchasing vegan products, consider the ethical and environmental practices of the companies behind them. Look for brands that prioritise sustainability, fair labour practices, and cruelty-free manufacturing processes such as those that are certified as B Corp or a part of The Rainforest Alliance. By supporting these companies, you're voting with your money for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

7. Buy Used and Second-Hand: Buying second-hand is a simple but effective way to reduce waste and support sustainable consumption practices, making it an environmentally friendly choice. But by choosing second-hand you are also saving money and supporting good causes. Most shops that sell second-hand items are charity shops, so by spending your money with them you are also supporting those that need help and well getting something really cool for a great price.

As vegans, we have the power to make a positive impact on the planet with every meal we eat and every item we purchase. By choosing sustainable living practices like buying whole foods, supporting local farmers, cutting waste and saying no to single-use plastics, we can help protect the Earth for future generations. This Earth Day, let's really show our commitment to living in harmony with nature and make choices that honour the well-being of all beings on our planet.


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