Every day we make individual choices that collectively impact the Earth on a much larger scale. By being a conscious consumer, we can make purchasing decisions in our community that have a positive social, economic and environmental impact. As Margaret Mead once said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The switch to sustainable living can be as easy as incorporating some of the following habits into your daily routine.
- Instead of buying from stores that sell fast fashion, try purchasing secondhand clothing at one of the great thrift stores in Old Town Goleta. You can find cool and unique pieces, decrease the market for cheaply made clothing, and support local businesses. You can find a list of Green Businesses in Goleta here.
- Instead of using plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner or body wash, try using shampoo, conditioner and soap bars or refilling empty bottles at a refill shop, like the Isla Vista Food Cooperative. Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists! By making the switch from common plastic household items to the sustainable alternative, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste on our planet.
- Instead of driving on short trips, try biking, skating, or walking this summer. Transportation accounts for over 50% of carbon emissions in California. By choosing active transportation, you can enjoy the beautiful Goleta weather, see more of the town, get exercise and reduce your carbon footprint!
- Instead of buying packaged produce, try grocery shopping at the Farmers’ Market in Goleta every Sunday 10am-2pm at Camino Real Marketplace. By shopping local you are getting fresh ingredients, supporting local farmers and producers, and reducing your “food miles”. Food miles are the number of miles it takes your food to get from where it was grown to your plate, some nearly 1500 miles at an average grocery store. By cutting down on these miles it reduces fuel consumption, air pollution, and packaging – and don’t forget to bring a reusable bag!
- Instead of using single use items, try using reusable straws, water bottles, utensils, mugs, bags, and towels. Single use items are convenient and seem harmless when they’re taken individually, but our landfills are filled with plastics that only get used once before they’re thrown away. Fortunately, there are now awesome alternatives that you can use again and again. You can keep a bag in your car or backpack with a lot of these items so you can ditch the single use versions for good!
If you can’t do all of these things at once, don’t worry! Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean changing up everything about your life. Just adopting one of these habits that makes sense to you will make a positive difference.