By: Cat Crawford

In an ideal world, we would all like to contribute to lessening the effect of living on this planet, but the reality is that doing what is better for the planet often costs more than the alternative. Here are some small changes that you can do to be friendlier to our planet, while simultaneously being friendly to your wallet!

1. Buy a water bottle.
If you don’t already carry around a water bottle with you wherever you go, what are you doing? Invest in a durable, good quality water bottle (preferably not made out of plastic). Carrying your water bottle with you wherever you go and staying hydrated is extremely fashionable these days, while the amounts of plastic one-use bottles in your bedroom? Is not.

2. Stop shopping fast fashion.
Something that will always be in fashion is your essence of personal style. Find your next wardrobe staples in thrift stores or secondhand consignment shops instead of the mall this year. Shopping fast fashion is not only terrible for the planet due to the amount of toxic waste fumes released freely into the environment; not to mention the amount of water used to create said clothes, but also extremely unfair to workers in third world countries who are paid margins below minimum wage for every garment they produce.

The fast fashion cycle further hurts the environment by using less than quality fabrics designed to be thrown out after each season. Though ethical non-fast fashion brands exist, they are typically more expensive than the alternative. Thrift stores allow you to shop guilt free and find finds no one else has.

3. Walking / biking / public transporting to work more.
If you drive to work on a daily basis, consider walking or biking if your work is nearby, or taking public transport every now and then. Not only friendly to the environment and your wallet, it’s also great for your health! If most of your day consists of sitting at a desk, this could be a good way to get your daily cardio in, with-out having to shell out money for a gym membership!

4. Buying zero waste produce.
Zero-waste grocery stores are on the rise, boding well for the environment because it cuts down on the vast amount of plastic most foods are packaged in. These grocery stores operate on charging people with how much their groceries weigh after being put into containers and jars that people bring from home.

5. Consider going vegan (don’t knock it til you try it!)
If you’re scoffing at this and can’t possibly fathom the idea of cutting meat out of your life permanently, consider substituting several meals a month with plant-based ones! Instead of getting the steak for dinner, consider getting that new plant-based burger. The existence of newer technology has helped companies develop plant-based burgers that more closely mimic the taste and texture of real beef (goodbye awful mushroom burger patties!)

Though it would be great if people could do their best to help out, don’t feel guilty for sipping your favorite Starbucks drink through a plastic straw or wanting to drive to work in your own car! These little things help, but the bulk of the responsibility falls upon those whose power affect our planet more; large businesses and corporations, the government’s public servants, and the world’s billionaires, of which many are sole proprietors of the businesses that continue to pollute the environment with no repercussions whatsoever. We should all be doing the best we can to preserve our beautiful planet; including those who are mostly responsible.

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