Monday Motivation – 5 Little Ways To Save Our Planet

Today’s Monday Motivation post isn’t and won’t be the most glamorous post I’ll ever write… but it might be the most important. Our planet is undergoing major climate change. And FAST. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night thinking about the world that our children will grow up in. To completely cover this topic, I’d have to write an entire book, so I’ll try to sum it up quickly… last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report concluding that if humans don’t take immediate, collective action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in 20 years, the consequences will be irreversible. Our world will look VASTLY different in 20 years. With so much heat-trapping carbon in the atmosphere, extreme droughts, devastating wildfires, massive floods and other natural disasters will become everyday occurrences instead of statistical outliers.

The main way that we can make a difference is by cutting down on our individual carbon footprint. The carbon in the atmosphere is what is leading to the gradual rise in temperature. Although it may not feel like it, every single thing you do matters. And if we can all do small things to make a difference in our environment, then we can have a big impact. So how can we all help? These are just a few ways, and if you have more, please let us all know in the comments!

1. Give Up Plastic Water Bottles… and all plastic bottles for that matter!

I have made a commitment to not buying ANY more plastic water bottles. I don’t drink bottled water at all anymore, and since I cut out soda and other sugary drinks, I don’t drink anything out of a plastic bottle. First of all, the process of bottling water produces more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Secondly, plastic bottles are littering our planet! Each year, more than 500 BILLION disposable bottles and cups end up littering our soil, rivers, lakes and oceans, killing countless fish and animals. Even though the bottled water industry says that water bottles are recyclable, that does NOT mean that they actually get recycled – as many as two-thirds end up in the garbage and end up sitting in a landfill (or as litter). And did you know that most bottled water is just bottled tap water, and is not any safer to drink that the water coming out of your faucet? (Google it or check out this eye-opening study if you don’t believe me.) In addition to potential contaminants in the water, plastic bottles themselves are not the safest to drink out of, since they can release BPA when they get hot.

HERE’S A SOLUTION: Invest in a water filter and a reusable tumbler. I invested in this water filter that I keep in my fridge (I did a ton of research and this one was highly rated!). I fill it up every morning, and refill my stainless steel Yeti tumbler throughout the day with cold, high-quality, filtered water. It’s a win all-around: you are eliminating plastic use, drinking higher-quality water AND saving money all at the same time.

2. Skip the Meat

Going plant-based is not only better for your health, but it’s better for the environment, too. Factory farming is the single-largest contributor to pollution, producing over 130 times more pollution than all humans combined, as well as contributing to deforestation. Factory farming also hurts our water supply: animal waste is often kept in large, open-air facilities and frequently leaks into the neighboring water supply and crops. Meat production, especially mass-produced meat is also a huge strain on our water and grain supply. It can take seven or more pounds of grain and more than 1,799 gallons of water to produce ONE pound of beef!

HERE’S A SOLUTION: If you’re against going entirely plant-based, then make a commitment to going meatless one day a week. Just you alone will save more than 4,000 gallons of water on the day that you cut out meat (in comparison, it only takes 300 gallons of water to produce a day of food for a typical vegan). If you do choose to eat meat, choose pasture-fed, sustainable raised beef whenever you can. If you’re in need of some good vegetarian recipes, check out this blog post I wrote with some of our favorites recipes.

3. Bring a Reusable Shopping Bag

Though they seem small and light, plastic bags have a much larger environmental footprint than you may imagine, beginning with the energy required to make them. Twelve million barrels of oil are used to manufacture the plastic bags consumed in the United States each year. Plastic bags can take between 15 and 1,000 years to break down, and that’s assuming they even make it into a landfill instead of winding up in water such as streams, rivers or the ocean – or floating around the highway. Of the 100 billion plastic shopping bags Americans use each year, only about 1% are recycled, so a lot of plastic bag pollution is generated annually.

HERE’S A SOLUTION: They’re not the prettiest bags in the world, but I have a few of the black reusable bags from Publix (seen in the photos above) that I always keep in my car for grocery shopping. The hardest part is simply remembering to put them back in your car after unloading your groceries. If you still want to be stylish at the grocery store, check out these reusable grocery totes for some of the cutest bags I’ve ever seen in my entire life! I actually just ordered the avocado one 🙂

4. Launder Smarter

Most of us know by now that regular laundry detergents are bad for the environment. Detergents don’t completely biodegrade and they contaminate our water supplies, rivers and oceans with toxic heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic. Studies have shown that phosphates, a common ingredient in detergents, builds up in waterways and lead to eutrophication (big algal blooms that can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen). For more information check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of laundry detergent ingredients and their impacts. I also recently learned that simply washing clothes, with or without detergents, is bad for the environment. Clothes made with synthetic fabrics, like nylon, polyester and rayon (all essentially plastic derivatives), can release billions of “microplastics,” which eventually make their way into oceans where they slowly bioaccumulate up the food chain.

HERE’S A SOLUTION: Invest in a Guppyfriend washing bag – you simply put your dirty laundry in the bag and it filters out the tiniest (even invisible!) microfibers released from textiles during washing. After several washes, you can simply collect the fibers and dispose them of properly. Chris and I also try not to wash clothes unless they really need it (I re-wear clothes in between washes!) and we wash clothes on cold (occasionally warm) instead of hot. As for laundry detergent, we use this brand, which is made with plant-based, biodegradable and EPA Safer Choice Certified ingredients. P.S. The same goes for your dishwasher as well – try switching to a dishwasher powder that’s biodegradable and plant-based. These cleansers still cut through grime, but they do it without the bleach and phosphates that threaten river and marine life and leave chemical residue on your dishes.

5. Unplug Your Devices

I could write a million other ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but let’s keep this last one simple. I was surprised to learn that all electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. In the United States alone, “vampire power” (lol) is responsible for draining $19 billion in energy every year. Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy – so even though your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint.

HERE’S A SOLUTION: It’s simple: unplug devices when you aren’t using them! That means your phone and computer chargers, the toaster sitting on your kitchen counter, even the lamps in your living room. You can make it a little easier on yourself by using a power strip so you only have to unplug one thing instead of five. This will also help you reduce your electricity bill!

Think of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen in the world – I would be willing to bet that not a single one was man-made. I can picture some of my favorites: the snowy mountains in Banff, the majestic cliffs along the Amalfi Coast, the stunning yellow Aspen trees in Colorado. I love this earth, and I want my children to be able to enjoy it as well. If you haven’t heard from the news, we are in the middle of another huge crisis related to climate change: the Amazon rainforest is currently on fire. As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon plays a crucial role in keeping our planet’s carbon-dioxide levels in check by taking in the carbon-dioxide and putting oxygen back into the air. This is why the Amazon, which covers 2.1 million square miles, is often referred to as the “lungs of the planet,” since the forest produces up to 20% of the oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere. If you’re interested, here’s what you can do to help.

If you’d like to contribute to this topic, please leave a comment below!

Leave a Comment

55 Comments

  1. My favorite post of yours! Thank you for covering this topic and providing such easy to incorporate tips! Unplugged my devices immediately 😊

    8.26.19Reply
  2. Katie

    I LOVE this post! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for putting this out there for your readers!!

    8.26.19Reply
    • Ali

      Love this post so much! Thank you for using your platform to bring attention to this critical issue. Another easy tip to reduce plastic is to switch to metal straws. For reusable grocery bags, I love my Baggu bags. Tons of cute prints to choose from on Amazon.

      8.26.19Reply
  3. Margaret

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing. These are all little things that we can all do to do our part in helping to minimize our carbon footprint. Would love to hear more on articles or books that you have found helpful in educating us on what more we can all do.

    8.26.19Reply
  4. I recently wrote a post about this after doing some research about the environment. To reduce your carbon footprint, you can also try taking public transportation or walking somewhere close if you can instead of driving! Definitely avoid single-use plastic because they’re not only killing the planet but the animals in the ocean ): Thank you for sharing this post with your readers, Caitlin!

    Erika Marie | https://imerikamarie.com

    8.26.19Reply
  5. Megan Paranzino

    I have been following you since the early days and these Monday posts are my most favorite posts you have done. I found the information about giving up meat and detergents most eye opening! I did not realize giving up meat would have such an environmental impact. Same for changing detergents. Thank you for contributing to awareness on such an important issue.

    8.26.19Reply
    • Sally

      I agree – these Monday posts are my favorite. Thank you for writing this post in a way that is easy to understand and DOABLE and non-judgmental. I am implementing all of these tips immediately. I would love if you did one like this every month or so with even more tips and ways to save our planet!

      8.26.19Reply
  6. Olivia

    I’m so excited you are doing a post on this! I’ve really enjoyed your ventures into sustainable living, plant-based options and environmental advocacy. I recognize this probably isn’t on-brand, but I would also love to see more sustainable fashion as the whole “fast fashion” issue doesn’t get a lot of press and you have a really impactful voice in this world. Thank you for being a big source of inpiration in so many ways. I always look at your page when I need motivation in fitness, health, looking fabulous and even dealing with the the rocks life throws with a whole lot of grace and humor.

    8.26.19Reply
    • Kaitlin

      Same! Those “only $20/ only $15” sweaters are made in sweat shops and factories that abuse child labor and local populations- not to mention the industrial output of it all. It encourages consumerism as a path to satisfaction.

      Also eating fish—- fisheries are like burning up the rainforest it’s just located in the ocean so we can’t visibly see the destruction occurring.

      Highly recommend the book “Waste: uncovering the global food scandal ” by Tristram Stuart. It was published in 2009 and is still really applicable today!

      I wouldn’t be surprised by gov’t mandated vegan diets when I’m 50+ simply to avoid utter planet destruction. I would be fine with that!

      8.27.19Reply
  7. Such an important post!! Love suggesting making a point to have meat-free days for those who aren’t vegetarian. I did that in college and really didn’t realize how many animal products I was using until looking for substitutes!

    8.26.19Reply
  8. Jordyn

    I am SO happy to see you using your enormous platform to discuss something so important! There are so many small changes we can make in daily life that collectively can make a really big difference. I hope this post will inspire many of your readers to take action. I try to be eco friendly by composting, cutting down on plastic use, using reusable alternatives as opposed to single use products but I can always learn and do more!! I had no idea about the laundry bags you mentioned, going to look into them ASAP! The world, especially the US needs to become less dependent on meat, it’s so horrific what meat consumption is doing to our planet and our bodies don’t need to have it so it’s especially awful ):

    8.26.19Reply
  9. LT

    I just started following you and LOVE this post! I heard someone say something a few years ago that has really changed my philosophy on trash. They said “imagine that there is no trash service and you had to live with all the trash you ever produced in your house/yard. Would that change the way you behave?” When you think like this, it really changes the way you consume. I’m not perfect, I still produce trash but all of the little changes add up.

    8.26.19Reply
  10. Brooke

    Thank you for this post!

    8.26.19Reply
  11. Definitely at least unplug everything when you go away on vacation! I’m not always consistent about unplugging throughout the day, but always when I’m gone for more than 24 hours!! Great tips, also, I never leave the house without my pink Yeti tumbler ;-D

    xo, Mia
    https://miaatthemoment.com/

    8.26.19Reply
  12. Jen Knopp

    Wow, thank you SO much for using your platform for such an important topic!! I have a 1.5 year old & 6 year old, and I too have so much worry and anxiety about what kind of planet & world my children will grow up in. I respect & appreciate you so much for being concerned enough to take the time to write a post about actionable ways that we can all help the planet. I consider myself environmentally conscious, but did not know or think about the microplastics resulting from washing clothes.. so thank you for the useful information! Again, I am so grateful for you using your platform to discuss & stand on such an imperative issue that we are all facing.

    8.26.19Reply
  13. Kate

    This is such an important topic, I’m glad you are taking about it! When it comes to food, one of the things people often overlook is that the carbon footprint of cheese per serving is higher than that of pork and nearly double the carbon footprint of chicken. There are some great stats and graphics available online from the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems. I didn’t know how much higher the percent of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation is compared to agriculture. I source a lot of local foods, but I do wonder about the impact of my açaí bowls and other super foods I eat regularly.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful (and timely) post!

    8.26.19Reply
  14. Alexandra Blackmon

    Am so glad you wrote a post about this topic! I’m still learning so much, but I think another huge one is using reef safe sunscreen as oxybenzone and other chemical sunscreens are largely responsible for killing the coral reef, which is hugely important to the entire oceans ecosystem, as well as our oxygen!

    8.26.19Reply
  15. Jeanne

    Awesome post, thanks for using your platform to promote this!

    Curiosity question, how does Starbucks fit into this? Are you using their reusable cups? Or may I challenge you to expand your focus to include this? 🙂

    I’ve been following you for a couple years now, you have great style! And your photos capture your charm and a story, they’re so unique. Best wishes to you!

    8.26.19Reply
    • Hey Jeanne, yes, I am using a reusable Starbucks cup! I don’t know if you read my blog regularly but I blogged about it a few weeks ago and recommended a favorite reusable one 🙂

      8.26.19Reply
    • Natalia A

      I am obsessed with the 30oz Tervis metal cup. It’s pricey, but I use it every single day and it fits a venti drink from Starbucks perfectly. I use one of their reusable straws for cold drinks. It is seriously my favorite purchase of recent times. Bonus; it doesn’t have any condensation, so it doesn’t leave messy rings on my desk at work. This is one design but it comes in tons: Tervis 1293208 Harry Potter-Charms Tiles Insulated Tumbler with Clear and Black Hammer Lid, 30 oz Stainless Steel, Silver https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BM6ZLTM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_2NjzDb2EZPYSP

      8.26.19Reply
  16. Heather

    Thank you for posting. I’m sure you’re putting quite a bit of time into these Monday Motivation posts, but they’ve been some of my favorite posts in the 5+ years I’ve been following you!!

    8.26.19Reply
  17. Hanna

    Love these posts! You’re in inspiration to me!!! I have a question though, you said you use reusable shopping bags so do you buy special bags for your trash? Aren’t trash bags made out of plastic as well? I always reuse my plastic bags for my trash cans

    8.26.19Reply
  18. Mary

    Best post! Thanks for all of this useful, informative info!

    8.26.19Reply
  19. zoe

    I’m so happy you posted this! I think it’s really important not just to make lifestyle changes but to talk about them and raise awareness of things that can be done to reduce our carbon footprint. The biggest change I’ve made is to start bike commuting which has the added benefit of making sure I exercise every day. I’ve also been slowly replacing other driving I do with bike riding my goal is to bike more miles than I drive this year! Reducing the number of cars on the road is the most impactful thing that can be done to cut down greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s great whenever possible to carpool, use public transit, or use an alternate method of transportation (like biking!) Another thing I’ve started doing which is very easy is to switch to reef-safe sunscreen (most sunscreen ends up in the water, even if you don’t go swimming you end up showering it off) I’ve recently started using the all good sport sunscreen which is the only one i’ve found so far that rubs in like a normal sunscreen!

    8.27.19Reply
  20. I applaud you, Caitlin. This topic is so close to my heart and it’s something I’m so passionate about. Well done on writing such a well-written post detailing small things that can make a massive impact. It’s definitely something that should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

    Arum Lilea

    8.27.19Reply
  21. Kirsten

    Getting rid of plastic bottles and plastic bags is a good start for everyone! Can I also suggest using reusable Starbucks cups too… I know they’re very iconic to snap a pic with but they sell reusable ones for iced and hot drinks right there in the store! 😊

    8.27.19Reply
    • Yes definitely!! I actually posted about my favorite reusable Starbucks cup a few weeks ago. It would be awesome if everyone could switch over too!

      8.27.19Reply
  22. Love this idea, Cait!! Such thoughtful and easy ways to help the planet!

    I hope you have a great Tuesday,
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.com

    8.27.19Reply
  23. I love this post ! Thank you for sharing

    8.27.19Reply
  24. Cecilyann

    Caitlin, I love following you and have been a long time follower. I am all for everyone being entitled to making their own decisions about their health and the health of their families. But the information you are passing along to your followers in regards to going meatless is untrue and harmful. Again- going meatless is your choice and you are 100% entitled to that choice. But please be more careful in the information that you pass along to your followers. The term “Factory Farming” is thrown around so much these days and in fact only a minor percentage of the meat raised in this county is actually produced by a “factory farm”. The majority of the meat available to us is raised by hard working families running a 3rd, 4th, etc. generation family farm. Farmers take such good care of their livestock, we love our livestock and honestly tend to give more time, attention and care to our livestock than we do people.
    I also REALLY want to stress antibiotics and hormones (which I know you didn’t mention in this post but they are concepts out there). There are more hormones in soy milk (11,250 ng) than 3 ounces of beef (1.9ng). And as far as antibiotics in our meat- there is NONE! Meat packing plants are inspected when slaughtering by a USDA inspector. ANY traces of antibiotics in the product results in the entire animal being discarded. Antibiotics are never in our meat products. Farmers are not just pumping our livestock full of antibiotics and hormones to make a buck. First of all, that would get so expensive and cause too much added stress to our livestock. Rather we feed and care for the animals; we keep pens clean, water clean and readily available and feed the best possible rations to our livestock.
    The last idea I want to present is this: you state that it takes 1,799 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef (I can’t find that source- my research shows it only takes 441 gallons to raise 1 pound of beef) but did you know it also takes 1,900 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of almonds (per PSU research).
    It can’t just be about how much water is consumed to grow a product. We also need to look at what farmers are doing to help in preserving our land. So many think that farmers just don’t care. We pollute, use excessive water and pump livestock full of hormones and in fact that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Farmers are constantly looking at ways to preserve the land, how to become more resourceful and how to raise our livestock in the best way possible.

    I know this was long and I am afraid you will just think I am ‘hating’ on you. But please hear me. I truly love following you but I just ask that you do some more reading (which is hard because trustworthy agriculture sites are hard to find online- so many are sites against agriculture) and present more than one side. But most importantly, I ask that you consider that the majority of farming and agriculture in our country is not Factory Farming (which average farming families are against!) but is instead run by hard working families that are carrying on the American tradition.

    8.27.19Reply
    • Hey Cecilyann! Thanks so much for your message, and no I don’t think you’re “hating” on me at all, you are of course welcome to your own opinion! I’d love to see your sources when you say that only a small percentage of meat in this country is produced by a factory farm. Based on the most recent data from the USDA Census of Agriculture and EPA definitions of “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,” it’s estimated that 99% of US farmed animals are living in factory farms at present. Here’s a direct source, but there are also tons of articles that have been written about it, as well! https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/us-factory-farming-estimates

      8.27.19Reply
    • Jen

      Cecilyann,

      I couldn’t agree with you more, very well said. Sustainable farming is actually better for our environment than going plant based (contrary to popular belief). I love Caitlin, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, I don’t think people realize the negatives of going plant based, both for their nutrition and the environment. I had cut soy, wheat, corn, and dairy, and went to leaner meats and was eating a lot of ‘healthier’ options, like using coconut flour instead of wheat flour or honey instead of sugar if I wanted to bake something sweet (I know this is outside of plant vs. meat for the environment), and eating lots of nuts for extra protein. My friends always knew I ate ‘healthy’ and good naturedly teased me about it, but my health kept getting worse. Then I developed a lump in one of my breasts earlier this year (I am 31, 5’3, 120 lbs) and it kept getting worse and starting to hurt (diagnosed as noncancerous fibroadenoma, but I was still VERY concerned). I recently came across some research about how eating a meat based diet (but ONLY the right types of meat) are actually better for you. A lot of the ‘healthier’ foods, like nuts, oils (i.e. used cooking, like olive and coconut oil), most fruits, some vegetables, grain and grain alternatives like quinoa, etc. are very high in omega 6s and very light in omega 3s, even in small quantities. An ideal diet has a balance of 1:1, and most of these foods put you at 20:1. The higher the ratio, the larger chance you will develop chronic diseases, including cancer. A lot of experts agree the American diet (even the ‘healthier’ alternatives) is at least 15:1. Grass fed AND grass finished beef and dairy (butter, cheese and yogurt), omega 6 and omega 3 balanced poultry/meat, and leafy greens, have a more ideal 1:1 ratio. After about one week of cutting out all grains, oils, most fruits, and sugar, and eating balanced meats and leafy greens, my tumor is almost gone and I have lost about 5 lbs. My skin looks better than ever, and I have much more energy. Of course time will tell, but I plan on never going back! Thank you for the information you put here, Cecilyann – Very thankful for the work you and your family do in farming for us. May God bless you guys! I love following you Caitlin, and I always look forward to your posts!

      8.27.19Reply
    • Neva

      There is a big difference in the phyto-estrogens (hormone) found in plants and the mammalian estrogen (hormone) found in animal products. The first being that humans as mammals have mammalian estrogen receptors not phyto-estrogen receptors. Only the hormones found in animal products can bind to human estrogen receptors. So if you are concerned about hormones in your food (not saying you should be but if you are) then you should avoid consuming animal products, since the phyto-estrogens in plants can’t bind to human receptors and are passed through the body as waste.

      Also you are correct in saying the majority of farms in the USA have 3rd or 4th generation farmers, but Caitlin is also correct in her statement that 90+ percent of animals raised for human consumption come from CAFO factory farms. That’s because large corporations like Smithfield and Perdue contract with the multi-generation farm families to keep the farm listed as family “operated.” The family farmers run the day to day work, but the corporations own the animals and typically have strict rules on the raising of those animals. Making categorizing the farm as both family operated and a factory farm. I grew up in a small farming community in NC that is one of largest producers of livestock in the USA, and I have multiple family members that work in that industry. I am not placing any blame on the farmers, more so on corporations that value profit over protecting our plant and ensuring the safety of our children. I know lots of wonderful farmers, some that work on CAFOs and some whose livelihood was ruined by these CAFO corporations. They are all just trying to provide for their families, but unfortunately some of them work with companies that don’t have their future best interests at heart.

      9.8.19Reply
  25. Deanna

    Thank You, for speaking out about something so important that is effecting the world. I feel that the majority of the population do not realize the true devastation we as a whole are headed for. I hope this will inspire others. My husband and I try in all areas of our life to be conscious of our footprints

    8.27.19Reply
  26. Sage

    Love this post and the fact you are using your platform to post positive environmental changes but I will have to also disagree with the beef facts you put up. The beef industry is mostly run by local families and not factory farms. The beef industry is not nearly as harmful compared to the fashion industry which is now mass producing clothing like never before.
    “It takes more than 20,000 liters (5,283 gallons) of water to produce just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cotton, which roughly equals one T-shirt and a pair of jeans.” (World wild Life)

    8.27.19Reply
    • Hey Sage, definitely agree with your point about fast fashion! I’d love to see your sources on the beef industry! If I have written something erroneous, then I’d like to correct it. I did a lot of research and based on the most recent data from the USDA Census of Agriculture and EPA definitions of “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,” it’s estimated that 70.4% of U.S. cows are living in factory farms at present. Here’s a direct source, but there are also tons of articles that have been written about it, as well! https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/us-factory-farming-estimates

      8.27.19Reply
  27. Erin B

    Love this post! and PSA if you have Trader Joe’s near you, their reusable bags are only 99 cents and are very durable! I’ve had a few for months and they still hold up 🙂

    8.27.19Reply
  28. Michelle Gibboney

    Great post! I like that you can use your influencer status to help each of us become aware of and make small changes in our lives to reduce our carbon footprint. Shopping sustainable clothing brands would have a huge, positive effect on the planet. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world! I recently discovered “Girlfriend Collective” and love this company! They sell leggings and active wear made from compressive fabric made from recycled water bottles! How amazing is that? We can each make a difference:)

    8.27.19Reply
  29. Katie Cusick

    LOVE this post Caitlin!!!!!! These are easy, inexpensive ways to help the planet. And now that you have 1 M followers (congrats girlie), you have such an influence. I absolutely adore this post! My other favorite things to do is: 1) switch to a bamboo toothbrush, 2) don’t use plastic straws or cups from Starbucks, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, etc., 3) use a Swedish dishcloth instead of paper towels to wipe up kitchen counter spills, 4) reusable mesh bags for your fruits & veggies are the market or grocery store (instead of those thin plastic ones), and 5) buy beauty and cleaning products that are vegan/vegetarian/animal-cruelty free! Spread the word, spread the love!

    8.27.19Reply
  30. Mike M

    Hi Cait,

    Thanks for the tips. Yeah, unplugging devices can be huge. We had a power outage on Sunday when I got home from Costco and my UPS’s were beeping like mad. I checked the main one and noticed it only had 13 minutes left. I had two computers on it. When I disconnected the old Windows computer the time left on the UPS jumped to 57 minutes. I was shocked (no pun intended) over how much the old computer was using and 2 was really an unneeded convenience for me (and one costing me electric despite our solar). So, it will remain off. I might need to grab something from it, but it’s retired and I don’t need an extra “heater” in my office anyway.

    Those power “bricks” as I call them are the worst. They consume power even if they aren’t charging anything. Unplug them when not in use. Satellite TV and Cable TV boxes consume large amounts of power as well. Go OTA (antenna) and problem solved. How many channels do we really need? Get outside and enjoy the real world while it’s still summer. 🙂

    8.27.19Reply
  31. Kaitlin

    I recently learned the bright colored recyclable plastics (looking at you Tide) aren’t actually able to be truly recycled due to color—- when they are processed the bright color can only turn a variation of that and buyers don’t want orange etc! So your best bet is using one of those laundry pellet eggs or at least a cardboard detergent box or white plastic bottles (if you have to)!

    Trying to break my boyfriend’s habit of washing whites on hot just “because that’s how I was raised”—- well it’s a total waste of energy! I wear scrubs in a hospital and wash them on cold- and I am perfectly fine.

    Air drying your clothes on a rack or clothesline is another way to save energy (and the integrity of your clothing). The lint that ends up in the trap esp when machine drying jeans: it’s the fabric from your clothes. Jeans can be washed once a month (whenever super visibility soiled).

    8.27.19Reply
  32. Tricia

    An upside of the Yeti cups (and other brands) is that you can personalize them! I have several cups and have my monogram or name on one side and a saying on the other such as “messy bun and getting stuff done” for my errands cup, and “well behaved women seldom make history” for my fun cup! It makes me want to always use them – in case you are needing motivation to drop the plastic bottle! I have a Cricut (die cutter machine) so I can do my own vinyl, but if you don’t have one you can order the vinyl cut off etsy customized for you, find a friend that has a machine, or order the whole cup personalized if you don’t have a cup yet.

    8.27.19Reply
  33. Christina1980

    An optimistic article to help you sleep better at night:

    https://globalnews.ca/news/5471379/planting-trees-climate-change-theory/

    8.27.19Reply
  34. Megan

    This is the coolest post! I’ve been following you for like 10 years or however long you’ve been blogging and I’m so proud of you that you chose to share this! I have never heard of microplastics from laundry and I feel terrible that I’ve been contributing to the problem. Microplastics freak me out because they are in basically every water source in the world, they are in our salt, and we are consuming them! I try to use glass and stainless and silicone instead of plastic at home, and I love my reusable bamboo paper towels. I do use Amazon subscribe and save because the price can’t be beat on diapers BUT I chatted with their customer service to put a note on my account to combine my shipments into one package and not use plastic filler, and that has helped!

    8.27.19Reply
  35. Christine

    LOVED this post! I actually learned a lot from it! Loving these new styles of posts and that you’re using your platform to share something that will make a difference! I’ve been following you for years and loove your fashion posts but am proud to see a fashion blogger talking about important issues too! Thanks for sharing and for always being a bright light!

    8.28.19Reply
  36. Jessie

    How about not driving an SUV (even battery operated vehicles are bad for the environment) and taking the train when possible instead of flying….

    8.28.19Reply
  37. anne

    serious applause for this post. you’re doing a great job informing people on the little things (that add up!) we can all do to help make a difference.

    and just want to say… i have no idea where the people below are getting their ideas about factory farms being practically nonexistent (amazon burning, anyone???) as far as meat/beef that is consumed in this country. great job standing your ground and asking for sources. greenwashing is oh-so easy to do these days, and i’m impressed that you are able to see through it. cheers and love your work here. keep it up.

    8.28.19Reply
  38. Ellen

    Hi Caitlin. I’ve been following you and your blog for quite some time . While I agree that reducing litter and plastic and taking measures to protect the health of our planet are necessary, I think you also need to be careful in touting a vegan/vegetarian diet as the only “healthy” way to eat. I, along with tens of thousands of other Americans, suffer from conditions that actually keep our bodies from breaking down plant material properly. And guess what? If we want to live , we rely very heavily on meat and animal protein to sustain us. You can believe whatever you want regarding diet; however, you must learn that “healthy” is different for everyone. Not trying to be hateful, but nothing is more repulsive than someone who is ignorant of these kinds of health issues talking down the part of the population who have no choice but to rely on animal protein to exist.
    Go ahead and eat your large amounts of nuts, spinach, beans, quinoa if you want, but trust me. If you ever have a kidney stone ( I hope you don’t), you will be rethinking your vegan diet. Want more info, I will be happy to forward it to you.

    8.28.19Reply
    • Hey Ellen, I in no way shape or form meant to offend people who eat meat, especially those who suffer from health conditions! There’s been a lot of research that shows factory farming produces a lot of pollution, my intent was simply to bring awareness to that in this post. Every single person has a different view of what it means to be healthy and I am 100% understanding of that! I do wish that you could share your opinion with me in a less hateful way.

      8.28.19Reply
  39. Mel

    Hi Caitlin! I’m so glad to see you addressing this topic, especially about going meatless! Since this is a style blog, I would like to raise the point of wearing leather also contributing to the problem. Less of a demand for leather goods can only help our planet in the same ways as a reduced demand for meat will. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see more leather-alternatives made in sustainable ways on your site, since you have such cute style (like the super cute brand Matt and Nat)! It can be challenging finding high-quality, non-leather shoes, belts, and bags, and am sure some of your readers would appreciate seeing more “kind” fashion here 🙂

    8.29.19Reply
  40. Zoie

    To continue on a theme from your last weeks post on having a more healthy menstrual cycle. Do you (or any readers) think about their impact they have with their waste in concerns with that time of the month? I do constantly and would love to see a post about better feminine products for the environment. Thought this might be an interesting topic for you to cover in more depth on a motivational monday post.

    8.30.19Reply
  41. Tara

    I found this quiz from CNN to be eye opening. I hope it helps us each to make the largest impacts we personally can. https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz/index.html

    8.30.19Reply
  42. Elena

    There is a book titled “A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow” by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist that I would highly recommend.. some highlights include the importance of transitioning to nuclear power from coal as well as the importance of re-forestation and turning to alternatives for paper goods. 8 Billion Trees (8billiontrees.com @8billiontrees on Instagram) has a mission to save and plant 8 billion trees around the globe, and Save Lands (save lands.org @savelands on Instagram) plants 12 trees for every item sold. There are also organizations like Grove Collaborative and MightyNest that offer greener alternatives to every day household items. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post! People need nature <3

    9.6.19Reply
  43. I love this post because these are all simple easy to do things! It’s so easy to think that one person doesn’t make an impact, but if each person who reads this post does just one of these tips we’d make a HUGE impact! You inspired me to commit to using my reusable shopping bags every time I grocery shop.

    9.7.19Reply
  44. Flora Konz

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve become much more passionate about helping our world become more sustainable towards climate change since about 9th grade, and it’s really great to see you and other influencers use your platform to spread the word! I’m also a fellow North Carolinian so I feel like I can relate to you in that way as well 🙂 we can do so much to help our planet!

    9.11.19Reply