Knowledge is essential in the eco space, but trying to learn about every environmental problem can leave you feeling overwhelmed, with no energy left to take action
As Earth Day approaches, we’re beginning to see reminders about the state of our planet and, unfortunately, the narrative may make you feel angry, fearful, and dredge up worst-case scenarios.
Rather than “doomscrolling” or inundating ourselves with endless information about climate change, let’s ground ourselves in action. Small, actionable steps can leave you feeling empowered, connected, and hopeful for the future of the planet. There’s a whole lot of good happening, and sometimes it takes turning away from the noise and focusing in on what you can do to create positive and impactful change.
Leading up to Earth Day, let’s see how we can make actionable adjustments and sustainable lifestyle changes so that we can continue caring for the planet for years to come...
1. Start composting
Whether you’re composting at home (using a backyard composter or an indoor mechanism), or outsourcing your organic waste to a local farm, there are ample easy options to keep your food out of the landfill. In the landfill, food produces a powerful greenhouse gas called methane because it doesn't break down properly—but when composted, food gets a second life. The finished product is a nutrient-dense black gold that can be used in your garden to give your plants a boost of nutrients; plus, compost helps soil retain moisture, prevents erosion, and protects the soil structure to keep it resilient when facing the challenges of climate change. A little goes a long way when it comes to the impact that diverting our food scraps has on the environment.
2. Buy less
Being mindful about our personal consumption can cause a chain reaction. In recent years, as folks have been transitioning into more sustainable and mindful buying, and demanding more from businesses and restaurants, these businesses have heard and responded. Sometimes it can feel like it’s not happening fast enough, but it’s happening! A company is only as strong as its buyer, and if you live within the means of owning a laptop, a smart phone or other technology, you are most likely in a place to be able to slow down your consumption. The less we buy, the more our planet can heal from the exploitation of her resources.Photo by Dan DeAlmeida on Unsplash
3. Eat for the planet
One of the most powerful ways we can take action is by making better food choices. Start by researching sustainable growers in your region and purchase from small-scale farmers who are known for adopting sustainable practices like no-till, cover-cropping, maintaining organic matter, and not using pesticides. Pesticides, GMO crops, monocrops (large fields of a single crop), and other “conventional farming” practices are responsible for damaging soil life and overall soil structure. By supporting small farms that are working with the land rather than against it, you’re supporting the restoration and regeneration of soils, and ensuring that we can keep feeding our growing population.
4. Start a kitchen garden
Starting a kitchen garden is an easy and impactful way to help the planet. It limits your reliance on conventionally farmed foods and allows you control over what you eat, while also encouraging you to take care of your soil. Applying no-dig principles to your existing garden will help strengthen the soil structure and make it more resilient to adverse weather events, allowing you to secure healthy food for your family for the long run and also help your local soil ecosystem thrive.
5. Don’t spray your lawn
Keeping our lawns spray-free is beneficial both for the planet and for our own health. Household herbicides and insecticides like RoundUp (glyphosate) are largely responsible for the bee population decline (as well as other pollinator species), which are necessary to maintain the balance of our ecosystem. These sprays have also recently been linked to a variety of modern illnesses which are avoidable by eliminating their use. Allowing our lawns to go spray-free will inevitably re-wild our yards, so you can either embrace the edible “weeds” that will pop up, or replace your lawn with easy-to-manage lawn replacements, like creeping thyme that requires no sprays and even flowers to feed the pollinators.Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
6. Plant native flowers, shrubs and trees
When we think about reforesting or re-establishing native flora and fauna, we often forget about our own backyards, parks and neighbourhoods. Rather than wishing to run away to a forest, why not try to reforest your own backyard? Planting native flowers, shrubs and trees will inevitably attract, house and feed the local wildlife, but it will also create a more beautiful and vibrant backdrop for your home. Oftentimes the hesitancy of jumping into a full landscape remodel comes from the fear of what our neighbours will think, but if you have a biodiverse yet still beautiful yard, what’s the harm? It’s always great to strike up a conversation about why you’re remodelling and invite them to make some changes alongside you.
We’re all in this together, even though sometimes it can feel like we’re really alone in our decisions. We can never force others to make changes for the climate, but we can make them for ourselves and encourage others to see the personal and planetary benefits. When it comes to systemic changes like subsidizing quality food, organic farms versus conventional, and banning chemicals from being put into clothing manufacturing, that’s where many voices are needed. It’s up to us to ask our governments and corporations to do better, and that’s often found in action over words.
There’s so much power in an accumulation of individual action. Keep going. Keep acting. And keep Earth in your heart every day!