Twelve Steps Towards a Better Decade

We made it to 2020!!! According to the latest UN report by climate scientists, we officially have one decade left to stop irreversible damage caused by climate change. We all have to help in order to turn this ship around. We can’t continue on the path we are on that is knowingly contributing to air pollution, water pollution, and green house gasses. BUT, some people are in a better position to make changes than others. We need to hold businesses to higher standards than individuals, and I also think that there can be a sliding scale of efforts made on an individual level. The scale is of course based on economic circumstances.  

The following is a list of things I have started doing that make me feel, well, like I am doing something to take pressure off of our planet and her precious resources. I am going to try to list it in order of easiest/cheapest to most inconvenient/expensive. I also am going to link to products I use because I like them, not because I am getting any kind of kick back.


  1. SAY NO TO STYROFOAM. (period.)

  2. DON’T LITER. This seems like a no brainer, but for some reason, I see it happen in such an unconscious ways more often than I would like to see.

  3. PICK UP LITTER INSTEAD OF WALKING BY. We won’t get too far with a, ‘That’s someone else mess’, mentality. My mom and I made this a game when we were at the beach to see who could collect more trash that people left behind! I have started enjoying that far more than my favorite beach past time of shell hunting.

  4. NO TO PLASTIC BAGS. Keep a small cloth bag (I love Baggus) in your purse or backpack and always say no to plastic bags whenever possible. Not only do they get stuck in trees and go into water ways, but most recycling centers do not accept them as they get caught in the machinery. (Stores do allow them to be returned for recycling though. And I have started using ones I find around for trash bags in my small landfill trashcan).

  5. REDUCE. Buy only what you know you will use. Food waste is a major contributor to methane gasses released as it decomposes in the landfill. Downsizing your landfill trashcan helps to remind you to reduce waste. Here's the can I bought.


  6. RECYCLE. This can be easier or harder depending on where you live. I feel lucky that Baltimore has such efficient recycling. Since systems vary widely by location, you will need to do a little research and follow the recycling rules for your municipality. My studio is across from a Lime Scooter warehouse where I saw a devastating amount of styrofoam headed to the landfill instead of being taken to a nearby recycling center. Now, I will never ride a Lime Scooter until I see them make some changes in their habits. We have to start holding business accountable. Support the ones making obvious efforts..


  7. HOLD BUSINESSES ACCOUNTABLE. See above … If a business is demonstrating a lack of care for the earth, let’s ask for them to do better, and if they don't, don't support them! I have stopped buying most single use plastic. Packaging that seeks alternatives to plastic really speaks to me. For example, Seventh Generation now makes a laundry soap in a mostly recycled paper container (except for the top, spout and inner liner; but a step in the right direction).


  8. NO TO PLASTIC IN GENERAL. I know this one is a little harder. When I started making an effort to do this in 2019, I realized just how many things that I love but are sold in plastic. Like blackberries! OH how I love them. But I rarely buy them now because they are in plastic. This is what is meant by “vote with your wallet”. This goes back to the previous step of holding businesses accountable. I think if we all stop buying, and maybe send a quick note to a business you want to buy from who uses plastic containers, they might get with the program and redesign packaging. Here's a note I sent to Driscoll. Feel free to use it:

"Hi there,

I love your berries, but I have stopped buying single use plastic. So I was just wondering if you would please consider switching to a molded pulp basket. Then I could enjoy your berries again! And it would show all of your customers how much you care for the environment.

Sincerely, ______"

In the meantime, we can just shop farmers markets for things like berries where they use molded pulp baskets. Buying local and seasonal also reduces the carbon footprint of shipping food long distances.

  • Instead of plastic wrap: Bees Wrap covers

  • Instead of plastic lunch bags: Reusable lunch containers

  • Instead of plastic sodas: Soda Stream

  • If you use disposable Keurig pods: Reusable pods

  • Toothbrush with replaceable heads: Quip

  • Shop Bulk: Find a market with a bulk section and whenever possible refill your spice jars, dry goods containers, even liquid soaps, shampoos, detergents, and cat liter!

9. COMPOST. This takes a little more effort, but the effort is worth it. Food tastes better when you know you replenish some of those nutrients back to the earth. And she will thank you by feeding you again and again. You will feel like an intricate part of the cycle of food - farm to table and back to farm. I keep a bowl by the sink and collect scraps and then out to the composter it goes. If you don’t have a heap, though, you can find out if any farmers or community gardeners in your area will accept compost. More info on composting (Charles Dowding lots of good gardening videos).

10. BORROW OR BUY USED INSTEAD OF BUYING NEW. Ask yourself 'how many times will I use this item' and if only a couple of times is the answer the next question should be 'do I know someone who would happily lend me theirs?' You could also check pawn shops and thrift stores for it first if you decide it is something you will use more than once. If you have little ones, accept hand-me-downs from relatives. Swap clothes with friends! And of course, shop at vintage and second hand stores! Hunting Ground is in Baltimore (where I am) and has an awesome vintage section and carries many small, sustainable and ethical brands (including F l o w y)!

11. BUY WELL-MADE AND ETHICAL PRODUCTS. When you purchase long-lasting garments, housewares, and electronics, you’ll trash them less often. Symptomatic of Amazon Prime syndrome, we expect things to be outrageously cheap. But we have to stop and ask, how is this possible so cheap? And if the answers that come to mind don’t sit well with your values, it might not be a good purchase to make. Remember, money is qi, it's energy. We have the power to be the change by where we choose to use our change.

A few of my favorite sustainable and ethical clothing brands: PO-EM, STATE, Alabama Chanin, Tonlé

12. MAKE YOUR OWN. Whenever possible, opt out of buying things (especially that come in plastic packaging) that you can make yourself. This is a bit more time consuming, but it is always yummier. I have started doing this for my nut milks and hummus and will share an easy recipes in future posts :)


What I love about making a few small efforts each to conserve our resources is that we are all connected in these efforts - to one another as well as to the earth! It's a reminder of our oneness - all nourished by the same earth. Like a mother who has taken care of her children her whole life, now it is time we return the favor.