How to Live Consciously
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
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"There will be no point of return in saving the Earth by 2050." When I read that in a recent article, my heart stopped. I had to turn off my phone and let that fact sink in for a moment. I will be just turning 49 years old. I will have lived just over half of my life. I have always dreamed of living a full life, with many goals and dreams to achieve. Only having 49 years to live put me into a panic and immediately think, "What can I do to help?" So many people tend to think, "That's the next generation's job," but that mindset leads to a vicious cycle. If people of each generation think that, our world is going to be unsuitable to live in faster than expected. We all need to be living consciously and making changes, even if they may seem small, in any way we can. You've heard about them before, but I'm here to preach about the things we can do each day to keep our world a bit cleaner. You may think these actions are minuscule, but if we collectively do them, they will no longer be minuscule - they will save our lives. Just hear me out and give these mindful adjustments a try.
1. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
You remember hearing about the 3 R's in elementary school (did anyone know that little song for it? Reduce, reuse, recycle... reduce, reuse, recycle... I have to admit, it gets stuck in my head more frequently than I'd like to admit). If we've been learning about it all of our lives, why is it still so hard to do? Luckily, big cities have been getting better about having bins out for trash, cans, recyclables, and the sort. But in my small town, there's still just one bin to put all of our trash. Take the time to stop into a coffeeshop or restaurant that you know has recycling bins. If you finish your coffee in a to-go cup, recycle it - don't throw it in the trash! So many of our waste can actually be recycled, but we're either too ignorant, lazy, or frankly just don't care to make the conscious effort of recycling. Oh, and NEVER, EVER litter. Seeing trash thrown on the streets breaks my heart. Please hold onto your waste until you find a trash or recycling bin. I beg of you.
2. Find Ways to Reuse
Companies like Swell and Starbucks have made it so easy to be mindful about reusable items while staying in style. I have the cutest reusable bottle from Starbucks that I love to bring with me everywhere I go, in case I decide to stop for coffee somewhere. It takes some getting used to, but bringing reusable items like bags, cups, straws, etc. will result in less waste and more mindful living. (It ties in the third R - reduce!) My mom is so great about remembering to bring her reusable items everywhere she goes (it makes it easier if you keep them in your bag or car). She has really inspired me to work on making a conscious effort to help the planet in any way I can. Kourtney Kardashian's POOSH has an amazing article with statistics about how much waste is really piling up with each day-to-day thing we do. (Read that highly informative article here. It's pretty incredible.)
3. Donate Unwanted Items
Instead of throwing away perfectly good items, donate them somewhere where they will be put to good use. Thrift stores make it super easy for you to drop off any unwanted clothes, furniture, decor, or technology. But please be mindful of not only the workers, but the people who would be shopping there. Don't give away items that aren't in good condition. It makes it more difficult for the workers to sort through and it gives off the impression that people shopping at consignment stores that they don't deserve nice things, too. Luvvie Ajayi touched on this topic on her Instagram story a bit ago and it really resonated with me. So please, only give away items that are still usable and in relatively nice condition. It's simply the decent thing to do. Donating ties in with reducing while also reusing. You're reducing "waste" while allowing others to reuse your old items! Fashion has become one of the most polluting industries in the world. Fast fashion trending hasn't helped, either. Try thrifting or shopping at sustainable and environmentally conscious brands. It all makes a difference.
Now these are just three suggestions to start living each day mindfully and to benefit the planet. I also wanted to share some helpful products as well! These items will make conscious living that much easier.
1. S'well Bottle in Geode Rose ($35)
I love reusable bottles, especially cute ones! S'well has tons of different kinds of bottles with tons of different patterns, so you're guaranteed to find one you'll like. They can get kind of pricey, but Target sells a line of their bottles for less (around $20-$25 instead of $35-40). As I mentioned before, Starbucks also sells reusable mugs that are around the same price as S'well's.
2. Metal Straws ($8)
I found this set of 8 metal reusable straws on Amazon.com for only $7.99! You can keep these in your bag and bring them with you wherever you go. Some people think that reducing plastic straw use is useless, but though plastic cups can be recycled, straws cannot. They're too small to successfully break down, so opting out of plastic straw consumption really can make a difference. (In fact, according to that POOSH article, 1 metal straw saves 540 plastic straws.)
3. Reusable Bags ($7)
This reusable canvas tote bag from Madewell is in partnership with charity: water. 50% of the proceeds goes to this organization, where they provide clean, safe drinking water to 663 million people who don't have access to it. It's always great when you're not only helping the planet, but you're helping others! You can really find reusable bags anywhere nowadays - Marshall's and TJ Maxx sell huge bags for $1 by the cash registers. They always have fun patterns, as well! Using reusable bags will save so much plastic whenever you go shopping. Always keep them with you!
4. Woven Baskets ($35)
Lately, I've been seeing the cutest woven baskets in places like Target and Marshall's and I think they're great alternatives for plastic laundry bins. They can be used as decor too, so you don't have to worry about hiding the ugly plastic ones anymore. When not being used for laundry, put your cozy throw blankets in them and keep them in your living room, or use them as your hamper in your closet. Love, love, love!
There you have it - three new ways to practice eco-friendly mindfulness and four new products that can help you make it easier. In what ways do you work to save the planet? Anything not mentioned here, message me about it! My DMs are always open (@tyrahdae on Instagram and Twitter). I hope this article helped plant a seed in your brain that will soon blossom into making conscious changes in your day to day life. Good luck!