Earth/Planet Day–which is celebrated on 22 April was established in 1970. But its importance is more prominent today than it was back then.
Right now the three of the biggest culprits that are accelerating Global Warming are the heat-trapping gas Carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion and Methane which is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil, and red meat production. One would think these gasses come from big corporations and manufacturers but in actual fact the products we choose to use have just as big an impact – if not more.
Yes, there’s no doubt leaders and corporations need to take drastic action and address the challenges our planet is facing in terms of Global Warming and caring for our planet, however collectively we can also make a huge difference through small–very mindful–ways. It really does start with you.
Image: Dr Stephen Helary
These are the 10 things you can do today to contribute towards a better Planet:
Buy Responsibly To Make A Positive Contribution To The Planet
Be honest with yourself and ask why you’re buying something. How many times will you be able to wear it and style it in different ways? Now is the best time to buy the best, and buy less. ”When buying quality natural clothing, not only are they great for your health and the environment, but they last and stay in fashion longer.” Says Founder and CEO of Just Breethe, a sustainable lifestyle and activewear brand, Marc Barnfather.
Educate Yourself on Planet Climate Change
Understand the difference between natural and synthetic fibres as well the impact it has on our planet Earth. We are privileged to have access to an incredible amount of information–spend some time to educate yourself and make better choices.
Where you can avoid synthetics. Polyester is the biggest culprit – they aren’t biodegradable and are fossil-fuel derived; our biggest influence on Global Warming. If you must, buy recycled Polyester or Blended Poly-Cotton as a start. ”Big business would like us to believe that fast fashion feels good. They have disguised the plastic bag as fast fashion with colours and send you out every day in something new. Learn what the difference is between synthetics and natural and then do the right thing.” says Barnfather.
Properly Take Care of Your Garments
The better care you take of them, the longer they will last and the less you need to buy. It’s a wonderful circle of your clothes’ life! Read the labels; however unnecessary it may seem, follow the care instructions; they are there for a reason.
Clear Out Your Closet More Mindfully
An estimated 85% of clothing items end up in landfills which are most likely made up of non-biodegradable fibres. When you clear out your closet, be more mindful – rather than just chucking it in the bin, rather sell or donate these items.
Over time, plastic degrades into very small particles, which are now found everywhere in the environment – from the air we breathe to the raindrops from the skies and in the food we eat. They are called–Microplastics. Mind Blowingly, every time we do laundry an estimated 9 million Microfibres end up in the oceans because wastewater plants cannot filter them. This results in Microplastic pollution. Sadly, by simply wearing synthetic clothes, plastic fibres are constantly being released into the air. Get a Microplastics filter installed in your washing machine to start the elimination process. “We eat the equivalent of a credit card in plastic every week thanks to this Microplastic pollution,” says Helary.
Watch Out For Greenwashing
The intentional act of Greenwashing has been sticking its head out more than the industry would like to admit. Dr. Stephan Healry, Founding Owner of Terres d’Afrique, a sustainable luxury skin and body care range, adds, “Greenwashing has been common practice since the consumer started shifting to more natural and eco-friendly products due to health concerns about certain ingredients.
Brands always try to jump on the bandwagon of trends and many big brands aren’t always very scrupulous about being transparent and honest. Honesty, transparency and authenticity have always been critical for us at Terres d’Afrique. We want to encourage brands to be transparent. Regardless of the route you choose, synthetic, combination or purely natural or even organic, it is all a matter of transparency about what you do, how and why. The consumer will then make up their mind about what is acceptable for them in terms of clean and sustainability. We need to be better at not making any false claims and misleading the consumer.”
Cut Down On Packaging
Support companies that use recycled or recyclable packaging such as Terres d’Afrique and Just Breethe, and try to move away from plastic and paper packaging altogether. The more mindful we are, the more we demand from brands, the better for all of us and our planet! “Only 14% of plastic ever made has been recycled. The rest ends up in landfills. One garbage truck of single use plastic packaging ends up in the oceans every minute.
Not all packaging gets recycled and we have our part to play to ensure our waste gets recycled by not just dumping packaging in the bin but by doing it properly. If you have a glass bottle with a pump, consumers are advised to separate the pump and the glass bottle, the same applies to other packaging like aluminium foil and glass. If it’s not separated, it won’t be recycled.” says, Helary.
Go For An Eco-Friendly Deodorant
Did you know your deodorant has aluminium in it? But more than that, our traditional aerosols consist of gas propellants such as Propane and Butane which increase radiation and cause an imbalance of gasses in the atmosphere. In addition, opt for a fragrance-free deodorant; this will reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as Formaldehyde, which contribute to air pollution.
It all starts with you!