Inequality Series Pt. 4: What on Earth is "Eco-Friendly"?

In this post, I will focus on what eco-friendly really means, why it can be inaccessible to some, and simple things we ALL can do to benefit our planet.

First of all, what does "eco-friendly" even mean?

That's a great question. I think we all hear the word "eco-friendly" being thrown around a lot nowadays, especially around Earth Day and Arbor Day, which just passed. To be honest - "eco-friendly" doesn't really have one succinct definition, it can mean a lot of different things. However, at its core, being eco-friendly means deliberately doing things that have no impact or (even better) a positive impact on the environment! It can be really small - like picking up a piece of trash you see on the beach - or really big - like buying massive carbon offsets to account for corporate travel!

Ok, that sounds kinda straightforward, why wouldn't we all be "eco-friendly"?

That's another really excellent question, wow you're on a roll! I think most of us want to be eco-friendly, but the truth is that for some of us, it's not something that we can really focus our attention on. Because of the economic state of the country, with tens-of-millions of people living in poverty, many people cannot make choices that detract from their daily goal to feed themselves and their families. Sometimes being eco-friendly can be expensive, and the pressure to be unequivocably eco-friendly can be suffocating for those in low-income situations. I already talked about the problems surrounding bag taxes and related blanket rulings, but I want to continue to discuss these issues because they are very real for many people who may not have the platform that I'm fortunate enough to have access to.

Hmmm, but there has to be something we can all do, right? RIGHT?

Of course there is! Let's go through a few things that we can (and should) do to be "eco-friendly" every day!

  • Pick up and properly dispose of your pet waste, this post does a nice job outlining the complications associated with this particular issue

  • Turn off your lights when you're not home

  • Buy second hand, or donate so others can buy second hand

  • Speaking of second hand - use your library!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or at least swap books with friends

  • Also, learn to sew

  • Shop locally, of course sometimes this isn't possible, which is why we shouldn't be bashing anyone for their choices, but sometimes local is cheaper too

  • Walk (or bike if you have access to one) instead of driving on nice days

  • Ask for no straw when you order food (or even bring your own cup or straw)

  • Use a hankie or a piece of cloth instead of tissues

  • Use *all* of your food (I'm talking carrot greens pesto, veggie stock, etc.)

  • Pick up trash you see in your neighborhood (be safe, of course)

  • Write to your local politicians about environmental legislature you'd like to see passed

And if you're able and would like to go more in depth...

  • Start a compost

  • Buy a pet waste digester or bio-degradable pet waste bags (make sure they're actually bio-degradable though)

  • Donate to real non-profits who are helping the environment

  • Buy carbon offsets or invest in renewable energy

  • Run for your local office or get involved with environmental justice groups

If you have any further ideas as to how I can spread the word about environmental inequality, would like to collaborate on a post, or have anything to share, please send me a message through the site or through my social media (@cmlovesscience)! I answer all social media DM's and emails/chats I get on my site super fast, and I'd love to talk to y'all.

My next inequality post is going to come out next week and it will be about how we can combat environmental injustice when we witness it!

To see Part 1 click here

To see Part 2 click here

To see Part 3 click here