The Autumn Solstice marks the end of summer and the onset of our second Pandemic Fall. While pandemic mandates have allowed most of us to artificially reduce our individual footprints since we’re staying in, flying and driving less, eating at home, and keeping our hobbies confined to the home. For those of you going stir crazy and eager for the world to world slowly return to a new normal, here are some tips to keep in your back pocket to maintain a lower carbon footprint and reduce your overall waste in the upcoming months.
Bike! Skate! Walk!
As we’re able to travel, see people, and visit more places, try to find alternate or public sources of transportation to get you where you need to go. On top of reducing gas costs and pollution, you’ll be able to enjoy the crisp weather and get a mild workout in.
Bring reusable cutlery with you, kits are available online and include a range of things like collapsible sporks, chopsticks, straws, etc. I never really go anywhere without my Collapsible Straw and Cutlery Set from Me Mother Earth.
Your general physician, nutritionist, personal trainer (if you have one), or really any public health related government entity or non-profit will recommend that you have at least eight cups of water a day. I’d recommend always carrying a reusable water bottle with you as another way to reduce your single-use plastic consumption. Try to avoid plastics if you can, opting instead for a metal or glass bottle.
Dress. In. Layers.
Living in comfort is absolutely important, but that doesn’t mean anyone should be jacking up their heating bill as the weather gets cooler. Climate change is already altering our normal climate patterns, so dressing in thin, breathable, but insulative layers helps to fend off the cold but also keep you from overheating. Try to avoid polyester or spandex whenever you can, as these are oil-based fabrics that produce microplastics. Instead go for articles made from hemp, bamboo, or organic cotton.
Sustainable fall fashion
Fall means more than just multi-colored trees; it also means the reemergence of fall fashion. Long coats and jackets, cozy sweaters, printed skirts and pants, all come back into season and provide us with a creative outlet to express ourselves. How you present yourself to the world is important, it can speak volumes about who you are and what you represent. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to don thrifted gear, or clothes made from sustainable materials, ethically made, and minority-owned.
There are tons of resources online and also on our website to help you get access to these brands and to learn more about their founders and operations. I like knowing where my clothes come from and how they are made. Being able to support a small business and contribute to community-centric brands is an added bonus! Doing good feels good, too!
Clear out your cubbies
If you’re updating your clothing, furniture, or literally anything else in your home, if it’s in good enough condition, find non-profits in your area where you can donate them.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a homeowner or renter, re-insulating your windows and HVAC system is quick way to reduce your homes footprint and keep yourself and your loved ones warm. Our homes tend to feel cooler when there are leaks in these systems, not only will they bring down the general temperature of your home, but you will incur more costs by using more energy to heat your home.
Pumpkins and gourds make more than just festive jack-o-lanterns, their insides also make a great soup, bread, and their seeds are excellent sources of fiber, contain 7 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving, and are high in anti-oxidants, zinc, magnesium, fatty acids, and vitamin E which can improve heart health, sleep quality, and the look of your skin.
Take time outdoors. Autumn is notorious for beautiful, crisp weather. Explore your local national parks, go apple picking, visit and support local breweries and wineries- it’s a great way to get yourself outdoors either for some much-needed alone time or to make new memories with loved ones.
Engage in your local government! Around the next few weeks, most local municipalities and non-profits host river clean ups, trail clean ups, farmers markets and other community events- do a quick google search to find physical ways to get involved in your local community. It’s a great way to engage neighbors, family members, and friends in community improvement projects that benefit the local environment. I’ve even had a first date during a trail clean up!
Un plug your devices
While you’re already spending time outdoors, make sure your laptops, chargers, and other electronic devices are unplugged. This will reduce the energy consumption of your home, the cost associated with electric consumption, and lower your homes overall footprint.