Take these 7 steps in 2021 to build a sustainable future
Let's Make 2021 a Turning Point for the Planet!
We’d rather not linger on the struggles we have faced as a world this past year. Instead, we wanted to briefly acknowledge some of the more positive moments of 2020, and launch us into the New Year with a list of 7 intentions to help the planet and start 2021 on a hopeful foot.
Our biggest success in 2020 was moving our front store to Solano Avenue in Berkeley. We know it was a bit crazy to do in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, but thanks to your tremendous support, we made it! We love this new space and how it gives more visibility to the plastic-free movement, and hopefully inspires many more to be the change.
One number to celebrate: with your help, we have avoided over 11,500 lbs of disposable plastics so far. Thank you!
In 2021, our goal is to reach 20,000 lbs, get your bottles ready for a refill!
Now let's look at the bigger picture. Looking forward to 2021, the climate crisis is critical. Taking actions to protect our environment is more important than ever.
There is a lot of hard work to do, but luckily there are some simple steps you can take to make an impact, get inspired, and join the community of people organizing to create a more resilient and sustainable world.
1/ Eat less meat.
One of the most impactful choices you can make right away is decreasing the amount of meat you consume. In traditional methods of farming, livestock can be a beneficial part of the local ecosystem. However, the way that the majority of meat is produced and processed today is devastating for the environment and for workers along the supply chain. Deforestation, methane emissions, and animal waste polluting water systems are just some of the problems that result from large scale animal agriculture. According to the WRI, beef requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per gram of edible protein compared with plant proteins. Furthermore, workers who slaughter animals and process meat are some of the most exploited and unprotected labor groups who recently have suffered sky-high rates of COVID-19. To resist these environmental and social harms, try incorporating more vegetarian recipes into your week and eat meat as a treat, not the centerpiece of your plate.
This infographic, from WRI, shows the land and energy use associated with animal agriculture.
The way livestock and crops are cultivated makes a huge difference on their planetary impact. Regenerative agriculture is a method of farming focused on following natural ecosystem cycles, creating and preserving soil health, and using farming practices to heal the earth rather than pollute and exploit it. This is one of the most exciting solutions to climate change, because by creating healthy soil, you can actually take carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it safely in the soil to mitigate some effects of greenhouse gas emissions. You can learn more about regenerative agriculture through the documentary Kiss the Ground, or watching this brief video from NowThis Earth.
2/ Sign up for your local Buy Nothing Group.
Don't buy new items, borrow or get them for free from your local community! Our consumerist culture constantly incites us to consume more and more. This is not only a waste of money, it encourages the exploitation of natural resources, guzzles fossil fuels, and pollutes the environment and our communities. Not to mention it encourages the habit of throwing away items once they're no longer useful to us. One way to avoid this cycle of consumption and disposal is to participate in your local Buy Nothing group. Buy Nothing is a movement to create communities in your neighborhood to lend, give, and ask for items or services for free. You can sign up on Facebook!
Image credit: Sarah Lazarovic
3/ Get involved with an environmental organization.
One of the most inspiring things about getting involved in the environmental movement is that there are already so many people doing incredible work. There are groups working to save vulnerable communities from local pollution, to protect endangered species, to lobby local government-- the list goes on and on.
Find a group doing work you care about, and donate money, time or any skills you have, or spread awareness about their mission on social media. We are inspired by the work of Sunrise Movement, Surfrider Foundation, and the California Environmental Justice Alliance, just to name a few. Comment down below other organizations you love!
4/ Do a trash audit.
Most of us are familiar with the harms that plastics pose from the moment crude oil is pulled from the ground until the end of its lifecycle when it ends up polluting the soil and water. If you’re inspired to cut down on your plastic use, look in your trash can to learn what things you buy and throw away that create single-use plastic waste. Once you know the problem, it’s easy to find solutions!
We are always happy to help solve your plastic problems, and when it comes to food, there are several other local Bay Area businesses who can help too like The Silo Pantry (bulk groceries), Mudlab (zero-waste cafe, shop, and more), Dispatch Goods (plastic-free takeout delivery) and our new partner Planted Table (get $10 off your first order with the code W2NSXR)
5/ Reduce Food Waste
Conservative estimates say that 40% of all food in the U.S. is wasted! This occurs at all levels of the supply chain, from farms to consumers. This wastes huge quantities of money, water, and energy. To help cut down on the food you waste as a consumer, you can implement habits like planning your meals, writing a grocery list, and shopping package-free so that you only buy exactly what you need. Add foods like soups, broths, smoothies, and casseroles to your weekly meal cycle to use up food that may be a little past its prime. Learn how to store food properly (in the fridge, in an airtight container, in the freezer, etc.) to ensure your food can last as long as possible. Check out local org Stop Waste for tons of resources about eliminating food waste at home. You can also join a local Food Recovery Network chapter to help divert food waste from businesses and schools.
Infographic source: NRDC
Even when you do your best to reduce your food waste, there are some inevitable scraps and peels that get discarded. When food products end up in the landfill, they aren’t able to break down properly and they release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting your food scraps and paper not only allows these items to fully break down in a controlled environment, it creates a rich and essential end product that is a cornerstone of organic and regenerative agriculture. If your city doesn’t offer curbside green-waste pickup, you can often bring compostables to a local community garden or even start a compost pile in your backyard.
7/ Get educated!
We are learning more about the climate crisis and injustices around the world every day. Watch movies, read books and articles, and listen to podcasts to fully understand what's at stake and get inspired with solutions. Here are some we have been loving:
Movies: Kiss the Ground, Story of Plastic, A Life on Our Planet, I Am Greta
Books: All We Can Save by Ayana Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson et. al, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimerer, Farming While Black by Leah Penniman, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.
Podcasts: Bioneers, Climate Change for Beginners, How to Save a Planet