7 Simple Ways To Be More Environmentally Conscious in 2020
Written by: Spencer Higgs - Apr. 13, 2020
She’s a beauty! Images taken from the International Space Station never cease to capture my attention.
They also remind me that it’s our home, and a fragile one at that. So today, to celebrate Earth Day and every day after, I’d like to share with you 7 easy ways you can live a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life. Use the list below as your compass to eco-consciousness!
What Does It Mean To Be Environmentally Conscious?
Being environmentally conscious means having an awareness of the natural world, our place in it, and how the decisions we make either hurt or help it.
As the Conservation Institute explains, “the term environmentally conscious is a fundamental belief system that inspires action.”  It’s a mindset that takes time to develop, but that leads you to better choices, inspiring others along the way to follow in your carbon-reduced footsteps.
Following these tips will help you make better decisions for yourself, future generations, and the planet we all call home.
Okay, grab some Detox tea with our biodegradable tea bags (Hurray! No waste! See, you’re already getting the hang of it 🙌) and get ready to go green ♻️
1. Eat less meat
Relax! I’m not going to guilt-trip you for eating meat. (I, myself, love sinking my teeth into a juicy burger.) Instead, I want to help foster greater awareness about how you can make more eco-conscious dietary decisions.
“If cattle and dairy cows were a country, they would have more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire EU 28,” says former Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who’s studied carbon-polluting countries around the world.
So let’s think about that… Cattle produces a whole continent’s worth of carbon emissions every year. 😱 The thing is, if we want to understand the full effect of meat consumption on the environment, we have to account for more than just cow farts…
It takes about 660 gallons of water to produce a 1/3 pound of beef! Holy cow is right!
On top of that, clear cutting natural landscape to make way for cattle grazing (plus mono-cropping and other less-than-eco-friendly practices) really takes a toll on soil and the natural environment. Especially when you factor in how many antibiotics and pesticides leek into the soil. 
Does this mean you should cut out meat altogether? Not necessarily. But reducing your meat intake is a great first step in reducing your carbon footprint (and your waistline 😉).
2. Cut back (or better, cut out) single-use plastics
Okay, I went easy on you with meat consumption—but not on plastic!
14 billion pounds. That’s how much plastic has been dumped into our oceans… this year alone. 😢
Here in America, we generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste annually. But we only recycle 1-2% of it.  If you gave an investor a dollar and they returned you a penny, you’d be pretty upset, right? Well, that’s essentially what we’re doing to our environment. Recycling is GREAT! But we need to do more.
The answer? Waste less. You can do that by saying “No” to common plastic items in lieu of eco-friendly choices.
To be more environmentally conscious, opt out of:
• Plastic grocery bags
• Plastic straws
• Plastic drink lids
• Items with excessive plastic packaging
• Plastic water/drink bottles
• Plastic food wrappers
• Foam & plastic take-out containers
And start saying YES to:
• Reusable canvas bags
• Metal straws (or no straws if you’re extra eco-conscious)
• Metal or ceramic cooking materials
• Paper produce & grocery bags
• Bringing your own bug/cup to coffee shops & restaurants
• Glass bottles
3. Tune in, turn off
Your lights and electronics, that is.
An environmentally conscious move we can all make in our day-to-day lives is to reduce our power consumption. Living a sustainable lifestyle means consuming less, particularly less electricity.
“Overall electricity production represents about 37 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, one of the main contributors to climate change,” explains an article in the New York Times. 
You can live more sustainably by turning off lights, TVs, appliances, and other electricity-consuming items. This reduces the strain on energy grids, which reduces carbon emissions from energy production. But why not take things a step further by replacing old light bulbs, fixtures and worn-out devices with eco-friendly alternatives, like LED bulbs and energy-efficient household appliances.
Don’t forget to unplug lamps, appliances and other electronics that aren’t used on a daily basis. Doing so can save unbelievable amounts of energy—not to mention money!
“[Devices] that are “off” or in standby or sleep mode can use up to the equivalent of 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity and cost more than $19 billion in electricity bills every year.” 
4. Practice minimalism
Oh. Yes. I. Did.
As tough of a pill it is to swallow, most of us could probably get rid of a lot of our material possessions. From useless knick-knacks to a never-ending collection of shoes, we somehow manage to compile more and more stuff! So much of this excess stuff winds up in landfills and oceans, and it’s quite literally killing Mother Nature. We can curb this trend by buying fewer things we don’t need and donating those which we no longer use.
Admittedly, this won’t be easy. We live in a very materialistic world that emphasizes possessions as a metric of status. You know… “the person with the most toys wins.” Unfortunately, this mentality has made overconsumption common in our daily lives—and has made waste one of the leading environmental problems of the century.
Practicing minimalism and being environmentally conscious go hand in hand. Contrary to the misconceptions, minimalism doesn’t mean living on as little as possible. (That’s called survival.) It just means that everything has a place and a purpose, and you’re using each thing to the fullest extent of its purpose.
One of the best opportunities for minimalism can be found… in your closet! Take a look at those clothes scrunched toward the back that you’ve only used once, maybe twice! You can give them new life by donating them to someone in need, and in doing so, you allow another person to practice eco-conscious living. This process is called decluttering! Discover 11 simple ways you can learn to declutter your life to boost happiness and well-being.
5. Support eco-conscious companies & causes
Money speaks. So if you want your voice heard, spend your money at environmentally conscious businesses whenever possible. Support organizations who support the environment and who encourage eco-friendly living. Making changes begins on the personal level but then affects companies, and eventually communities as a whole.
And don’t forget! You can give sustainability a voice with your vote!
Sure, it can seem discouraging when trying to get politicians at the upper echelons to push environmentally conscious reform—but your vote at the city and state level is heard extremely loudly by local politicians.
And get involved yourself! 🙌 From beach cleanups to the voting booth, don’t underestimate your power and presence in environmental sustainability!
6. Shop for local groceries and other goods
Shipping heavy crates of food long distances creates extra burdens of money, time & resources while increasing the amount of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Buying locally supports the farmers and grocers in your area. What’s more, it also supports the environment. That’s because choosing locally-sourced whole foods requires less carbon energy to get items from point A to point B.
A general rule of thumb is that you should always try to get food that’s grown within a 100 to 400-mile radius. The less distance your food has to travel, the more environmentally conscious your diet.
7. Stay environmentally interested, educated, & invested
To maintain a high environmental IQ, you can regularly turn to credible sources for information pertaining to sustainability and causes. Why not start with something you use every day—social media.
There’s no shortage of insightful and inspiring environmentally conscious influencers you can follow who will give fun and creative ideas for living waste-free and sustainably. You can also turn to sources like the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Surfrider, 4Ocean, and the Environmental Defense Fund to see what the world’s top organizations are doing.
And lastly, you can keep interested and invested by giving your favorite activities a more environmental focus. For example, as an avid reader, I’ve now shifted my fiction reading to focus more on nature-based novels, such as Pulitzer Prize winner, “The Overstory“, by Richard Powers. (It’s great and gets you passionately connected to nature and conservation!)
The Bottom Line On Becoming Eco Conscious
At SkinnyFit, health and wellness is our thing! For this Earth Day, we’re inviting our community to join us in making better choices for the health and wellness of our planet. 🌎
At the end of the day, being eco-conscious is an ever-growing learning process. If you don’t know where to begin, start by looking in the mirror. (Hey, beautiful! 👋) That’s right, a healthy earth starts with a healthy you! So, head over to our social media channels and share with us how you’re becoming environmentally conscious and making the world a greener place!
Don’t forget to stay in the loop by following the hashtag #skinnyfitlove!