Earth Day: 5 Ways To Go From Bike Warrior To Eco Warrior

19 April, 2018

I've got a serious crush on Mother Nature, but whenever April 22 comes, I am always stumped as to the best ways to get my Earth Day on. While cycling is one great way to reduce our carbon footprint, I'm always looking for more ways to do some good at home for the planet. With the thought of living an eco-friendly lifestyle, I've incorporated some practices into my lifestyle that I've practiced over the years. So, to help us craft an eco warrior game plan off our bikes, I've turned to some do-gooder secrets that I've implemented over the years that will have you thinking of living a more green lifestyle. Here are 5 ways to get your Earth Day on.

1. Reusables:
Plastic bags and bottles account for a drastic amount of oceanic and public waterway pollution across the globe. Help keep the ocean and your city clean by curbing your single bottle and bag use all in one swoop. Some grocery stores even reward you for shopping with a reusable bag. Yay rewards! But you’re probably already someone like me who has a long-life water bottle in their bag and takes canvas totes to the supermarket. However, you're probably thinking about ways to do more. I myself am no eco-warrior or green saint but I am keen to reduce my plastic consumption if I can, and I know food shopping and packaging is where the most one-use plastic gets wasted. Here are the guidelines I set for myself: Carry a reusable coffee tumbler for that daily cup of coffee. Carry a reusable water bottle around with you everywhere. Stuff reusable produce bags and  reusable tote bags into panniers, kit pockets, backpacks, desk drawers and the car, so there’ll always be one handy for shopping. Carry snacks and other food in reusable steel containers. Bye-bye, plastic zipper bags! Keep a set of metal cutlery — fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks — at work.  Reuse plastic takeout containers at eateries. I like to reuse plastic containers for food storage for meal preps or leftovers. The next time you’re out shopping, grab a few reusable bags to place your items in.

2. Shop Local and Organic
Whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season organic produce. Sticking to foods that are grown locally, in your own city or surrounding area, helps to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping foods from elsewhere. A general rule for where something is grown? The closer to you, the better. It’s equally important to eat organic produce, which hasn’t been sprayed with toxic pesticides and other environmentally detrimental chemicals. Don’t forget to avoid processed foods: processed and packaged foods are often bad for your health, not just the environment. Processing plants are major polluters, and their products contribute to health epidemics like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Choose whole foods that are better for the planet, and better for your own longevity.

3. Alternative transit
Choose to bike, walk, or take the bus or train– leave the car at home, and you’ll be making an easy decision with immediate results. Many people are opting to bike to work, especially when the weather warms up and with initiatives National Bike Month and Bike To Work Day. With bike lanes becoming more prevalent, cities are investing in the necessary infrastructure to make it easier not to own a car. There are over 65 million cyclists in the United States, a number that has risen dramatically over the past five years. Increasing populations have made effective public transportation more necessary than ever, and options like subways, trains, buses, and rapid transit continue to grow. Many new bus routes are even turning to hybrids, solar power, and other eco-friendly alternatives. In the U.S., public transportation saves 37 million tons of carbon emissions every year. Cities are also increasing walkability, with architects incorporating more outdoor and green spaces, and new buildings focused on green infrastructure and community engagement.

4. Switch To Natural Beauty Products
Switch to natural beauty products that you likely use every day from deodorants, shampoo's  + conditioners, body cleansers, sunscreens, moisturizers and fragrances. Here's how you can Build Your Natural Beauty Routine. Don't forget to wash and recycle your empty containers when you are done. Just remember the bleached coral reefs and all the damage our beauty products are causing in these eco systems.

5. Clean With Eco Friendly Products
We might all know that cleaning with chemicals isn't the best for us, yet we still do it. But, it's not too hard to go over to the light side. Say goodbye to your commercial cleaners, and you’ll be saying goodbye to alkylphenol ethoxylates, ammonia, chlorine, lye, formaldehyde, petroleum solvents, and synthetic fragrances, as well. Fortunately, Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap, is great for all cleaning bike related things from your kit to your bike. If you're not using this already, you should be! For cleaning products, I like to use MRS. MEYER'S house hold and laundry cleaners. Everything we wash down the drain comes back to bite us in the butt, especially at my house where we have a septic tank and water well.

Anyone can make these simple changes: they’re easy to implement, and are immediately effective in reducing your carbon footprint. Our actions and choices ultimately make a difference, and we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can to address climate change, big or small.

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