If you feel anxiety about climate change, you’re not alone. Health Revolution reports that climate anxiety has increased exponentially over the past decade, and it’s still on the rise. Which is understandable. We inherited a mess while the people who’ve profited aren’t eager to quit fossil fuels. The reality is that individual action can’t fix the problem, so individuals who take action may eventually reach burnout, or come to feel hopeless.
The ecological movement was built on optimism and respect, and to see so many of us defeated is disheartening. But we have to continue to push for change because apathy’s the enemy. Know that your connection to the planet matters and that your contribution, your outlook, and your consumer choices, when added with the rest of us, can make a big difference.
This article shows you some tips that you can modify to fit with who you are but return to them often because mindfulness is the first step toward change. Remaining positive will be important in making connections with allies and enemies, so don’t let eco-anxiety get you down.
1. Reduce Animal Products
One way to lessen your impact on the environment is to cut back on the animal products you consume. Meat, dairy, and eggs all require significant amounts of resources to produce, including land, water, and feed. In addition, animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, reducing your intake of animal products can have a significant impact on the environment. There are a number of ways to do this, such as eating meatless meals one day a week or choosing plant-based alternatives to dairy and eggs.
In addition to being eco-friendly, reducing your intake of animal products can also have a positive impact on your health. Eating less meat has been linked with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. Dairy and eggs can also be problematic for some people, as they can contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Moreover, many animal products are loaded with hormones and antibiotics that can disrupt our natural hormone balance and lead to antibiotic resistance. By choosing plant-based options instead, you can help protect your health and avoid these potential risks. So whether you’re looking to save the planet or improve your health, reducing your consumption of animal products is a great place to start.
2. Get Better at Design
Let’s face it. A lot of people hate hippies and they associate the ecological movement with idealistic dreamers who have been to too many Grateful Dead concerts; but there’s a modern, sleek, and understated face to the ecological movement that can get things done. You don’t have to run a nonprofit to be a representative of change. But whatever you do and wherever you choose to advocate, be sure to do it with style.
You don’t need a BFA to create effective marketing elements. Design a logo online quickly with tools from trusted websites for your organization, your event, or for your personal business cards. Better yet – create a logo that you use across the board. Professionalizing your lifestyle choices demonstrates serious commitment and presents a face that’s efficient, and can get things done.
3. Take Up a Daily Yoga or Meditation Practice
There’s this lingering notion that goes way back, and it’s in a lot of cultures, that if enough people adopt a prayerful attitude, then changes will occur. You don’t have to believe this is a spiritual thing to know that the more of us who go about our lives conscientiously, the better. Meditation doesn’t require anything other than some time, some quiet, and a comfortable chair. But it really does make a difference.
Yoga takes meditation to the next level by adding a physical element. Physical activity is one of the best ways to manage stress long-term, and a meditative practice like yoga can help combine the benefits of physical activity with mindfulness. Yoga uses breathing, stretching, and other self-soothing techniques to regulate your nervous system both at the onset of anxiety and as a preventative measure. MedicalNewsToday notes that stretching before bed actually improves your sleep, keeping your stress level low.
4. Shop Local and Buy Eco-Friendly
Shopping locally is already eco-friendly, because you didn’t have your apples packed in styrofoam and flown across the globe like jet setters. You went to the local co-op where the apples were picked and washed (and little else) from an organic farm upstate. Of course, we don’t all live in a paradise of specialty shops and co-ops. Many of us live where it can be difficult enough to order a salad that wasn’t pre-prepared with bacon. So when you have to order from a larger company, look for vetted eco-friendly and sustainable companies.
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When it comes to grocery shopping, buying locally is the best way to go. Staying local cuts on emissions by reducing your food miles, which doesn’t just include your own travel miles. It includes the shipping, packaging, and preservation of the food before it even gets to you. You could take it even further by walking or biking to the grocery store instead of driving a car.
5. Make Strategic Eco-Friendly Upgrades
Most of us live on the grid. It’s just a fact of most people’s reality. But there are still ways that you can support a sustainable lifestyle through daily upgrades. You can compost and recycle instead of simply throwing away trash and adding it to landfills. You can also invest in solar panels for your home. The cost of a solar panel can vary depending on the system, how many panels you need, and the wattage consumed. You can get an estimate for solar in your area by completing a brief set of questions. Then, you can reach out to a few high-rated solar companies in your area to get a customized quote. Solar benefits the environment, and it often costs significantly less than traditional energy sources.
6. Get Thrifty
Fast fashion is one of the leading contributors to carbon emissions, generating more greenhouse gasses than all air and ocean travel combined. Whenever possible, buy things second-hand. Resale shops are booming because old styles become new again. For you, upcycling is the “reuse” in “reduce, reuse, recycle.” There are plenty of perfectly good, stylish clothes out there that you can often find at a cheaper price than a recently produced garment.
If you’re going to buy new clothes, make sure you choose ethically produced organic garments. Garments that are produced from organic cotton, for example, make a big difference. Because cotton is not cultivated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, it is both better for your skin and the environment. The soil used to grow the cotton is healthier, leading to sustainable biodiversity and a healthier environment.
How Being Eco-Friendly Can Work for Your Finances
As you’ve read, there are many benefits to living an eco-friendly lifestyle, one of which is financial savings. By making small changes in your daily routine, you can decrease your monthly expenses and even put some extra money back into your pocket. For example, driving less often and carpooling or biking when possible can save you money on gas. Similarly, line-drying your clothes instead of using a dryer will save you money on your energy bill. Composting can also save you money on garbage disposal fees and even fertilizer costs. Furthermore, eating organic foods and locally-grown produce can also be cheaper than buying processed foods or foods that have been shipped long distances. In short, there are many ways to save money by living eco-friendly, so it’s a win-win situation for both you and the environment.
Even though climate change may feel like an unfixable problem, there are steps to minimize or offset the carbon footprint. Through environmentally-conscious practices and self-care, you can mitigate your anxiety and contribute to making a difference.
This article is a guest article by Sam Marcum.
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