Accompany me on the path of accepting, loving, and doing what is good for us.
One of our resolutions is to be more aware of our lifestyle and how it affects the environment. Human beings are the main cause of pollution on planet Earth, and in recent years we have seen the negative effect that this has on the well-being of all.
Having an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle tends to be considered expensive, but the reality is different. There are so many changes we can make in our lives that not only allow us to help the environment, but also give us financial relief. It’s time to take care of the planet because it’s the only home we have. Nature needs it and so do we!
We compiled this list of 20 steps to living a more mindful life:
Plastic pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems of our times. It is everywhere! Since its invention, its production has grown exponentially, plus its use is not environmentally friendly at all. Most of it is used to create disposable products, rather than durable products, that end up in the ocean and eventually in our food. Yep.
Reduce your daily consumption of plastics, especially single-use ones (that you use and throw away), since they take hundreds of years to decompose. Replace them with eco-friendly options, like the ones I share below.
Without realizing it, in the weekly routine of being out of the house, you can end up buying many bottles of water on the street.
To give you an idea, a million bottles are bought every minute in the world. Less than 50% is collected for recycling and only 7% is turned into new bottles. The numbers are absurd!
Beverage bottles are the most common type of waste. This is why investing in a thermos or reusable bottle with which you can replace water bottles and/or disposable cups is doing your bit.
The next time you get a straw: give it back. They are not necessary! These are not recyclable and are used disproportionately every day. Like the thermos, a metal straw, which you can keep in your bag, will save you from trouble wherever you go.
Metal straw, easy to load and clean, from the Final Straw line.
Don’t forget your cutlery! Restaurants tend to produce a lot of garbage and we don’t want to add to the problem every time we go out to eat. Therefore, always go with your reusable utensils kit.
We recommend you visit the Simple or La Banasta online store to get yours or buy these available on Amazon.
Women usually wear makeup every day. This means that to remove it or apply some of our favorite skincare products, we have to use and buy cotton pads all the time. These natural, reusable makeup remover pads not only remove cosmetics, but also reduce waste, naturally exfoliate, and nourish the skin. You can wash them whenever you want and best of all, you save money while taking care of the planet.
Sanitary towels and tampons commonly have toxic components, and highly pollute the environment. These take up to 500 years to decompose.
There are other methods to save the planet on those days of the month. The menstrual cup and cloth pads will be your best friends.
The cup is a medical silicone container that is inserted inside the vagina, like a tampon, adapting to the vaginal walls at all times. Its lifetime is up to 15 years with proper maintenance.
On the other hand, cloth pads work exactly like disposable sanitary pads, only you reuse them by washing them after use. Depending on care, they can last two to four years.
If you let your creativity run wild for a while, those ripped jeans that you loved so much but that you no longer wear can be transformed into shorts that you will never want to take off. Be imaginative with your clothes! Before leaving it, ask yourself what other use it could be given. Give her life, take care of her, and don’t be afraid to create on top of her.
Vintage Paris suit found at the Thrift Shop, in Santurce.
Thrift shopping is one of the best ways to live an eco-friendly life, as the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters on the planet (visit the Fashion Revolution page to learn more about this topic).
In Puerto Rico, there are more and more thrift shops with vintage and second-hand pieces. Some like Johnny & June, The Magic Closet PR, Retro Look, Vintage Rack, and Vice Versa, among others.
You can also buy second-hand clothes on the internet. Using apps like Depop, or visiting sites like Thred Up, Swap, and Good Twice.
Another way to buy clothes consciously and be fashionable in a sustainable way is by supporting and buying from brands and artisan designers who build their pieces in a responsible, conscious, eco-friendly, ethical, and sustainable way.
Nathasha Bonet wears eco-friendly pieces by the Puerto Rican designer, Ana María Mariana.
In Puerto Rico we have several designers and lines such as Ana María Mariana, Yayi Pérez, Zivyl War, among others.
This is important because the microplastic particles found in clothes find their way from our washing machines into sewage systems and thus into city water pipes. Sportswear in particular contains polyester, nylon, and other man-made fibers, but these are also found in everyday clothing. Although buying sustainably produced clothing is more expensive, there are alternatives for everyone to be more conscious of.
When you leave the pen on while you wash your mouth, or in the shower when you lather, shave or wash your hair, you’re wasting gallons and gallons of water. These small actions have big consequences in the collective.
Learn to make better use of your resources. Close the plumbing at those moments mentioned, do not allow dripping in the faucets, collect rainwater to water your plants, and reuse the water from the washing machine to wash the cars or the patio.
The same goes for electricity. Look for ways to save and reduce its use. Every day remembers to turn off the lights and turn off or disconnect electrical equipment that you are not using.
We love that many brands are already implementing these sustainable practices in their products, but it is our responsibility as consumers to ensure that the products we buy are free from animal cruelty, human cruelty, and excessive pollution of nature. Research which brands are cruelty-free and which ones still test on animals. The list will surprise you! Little by little transition your makeup to have your conscience clear every time you put on makeup.
To have good dental hygiene, dentists recommend changing our toothbrushes every three months. This infinite commitment generates a lot of waste. The next time you need a brush, buy a wooden or bamboo one with natural bristles.
On the other hand, cotton swabs end up in the garbage first and then in the sea. Change them to paper handles so this doesn’t happen:
Did you know that livestock produces more polluting gases than transportation? A UN report, in 2015, made the meat industry one of the main responsible for pollution on Earth, climate change, air pollution, the global scarcity of water, the contamination of aquifers, and the irreparable loss of biodiversity. This should not be ignored.
In addition to that, 345 million animals are slaughtered daily. If this doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.
If you want to start eating more mindfully, an easy way to start is with Meatless Mondays. Here the vegan doctor Leslie Vega, creator of Qu Mamey!, shares several tips to start the simple habit of not eating meat on Mondays and move towards an animal-free and mega delicious diet.
Avoid using the car since the gases emitted by motor cars are one of the main causes of environmental pollution. Try to walk or bike whenever you can. It will also benefit your health.
Having a house full of plants is very fashionable and with good reason. Plants purify the air we breathe, transmit peace and help clean the pollution in the environment. The more plants you can have inside and outside your home, the better. If you have a yard and enough space, you can even create a garden where you grow your fruits and vegetables, which will save you a lot of money. Plants give us life (literally)!
When you go to the supermarket remember to take your reusable bags to avoid unnecessary plastic consumption. These bags reach the ocean, break down into small pieces, are eaten by fish, and then return to our food chain. Don’t forget them!
Any help is good! Whenever you go to the beach or road trip with your friends, get used to carrying garbage bags. Not only so that they have a place to collect theirs, but also to take advantage of and contribute to the cleanliness of our coasts and nature.
We live in a highly consumerist age, and this is destroying our planet. It’s simple: one of the best ways to take care of the environment (and save money) is to consume only what is necessary. Avoid buying excessively, be more responsible each time you do it and start rejecting what you cannot reuse.
Support local, ethical and responsible commerce by buying as much as you can of brands and products made in your country. You will be helping the economy of Puerto Rico and the entrepreneurs to move forward.
Once you move into a more eco-friendly lifestyle, start educating and helping others around you to do the same. No judgment or pressure. Each one starts from where they can, but a collective journey.
If you can only implement one of these 20 steps in your life, let it be voting wisely in elections. As citizens, we have an immense and important duty to choose leaders truly committed to helping the planet. It’s imperative.
This is our home, the only one we have, and it is the leaders of our nations who have the responsibility to promote a public policy that attacks climate change and makes the right decisions, thinking about the future so that we can continue to live and prospering in this land.
We hope that these steps will inspire and motivate you to implement simple but significant changes in your daily life that will positively impact the planet. The environment needs us, and constantly reminds us of it. In this new decade, let’s be better for ourselves and future generations.