Growing up, everything in my childhood and throughout grade school seemed so run of the mill. College seemed so, too, but of course, this is the age where you’re exploring more and more of yourself, the world around you, and questioning your own beliefs and morals. It was around this time that I was first exposed to the idea of climate change, zero waste, and being “all natural.” I assumed it was for the tree-hugging hippies, and I wasn’t aware of how I was contributing to pollution and animal cruelty, so I kept on my normal course. Then I traveled to other countries and saw how the lack of clean water, fresh veggies, fruit, and clean meat had an impact on the environment and people. I had the pleasure of creating solar-powered light panels for families who lived in the villages and didn’t have electricity in their homes. This experience started my love for people, for giving back, and for doing everything in my life with purpose.
Of course, once you’ve settled back into America, where everything is comfortable, accessible, and easy, it’s hard to remember the little kids who smiled because they had just a little bit of light in their home. It’s so easy to fall back into your old ways of living. Then I moved to NYC: I got a job for a small fashion company, and I threw myself into any and every opportunity in the fashion and media industry. Once again, my eyes opened in a way they never had before. I lived in a city where trash, feces, and plastic straws filled the sidewalks. It dawned on me that all of that would end up in a landfill.
Then I worked fashion week for was Collina Strada, and the spring 2019 collection was made from wasted textiles, natural dyes, and focused heavily on being zero waste. In fact, the models didn’t walk down the runway to music; they walked down the runway to a spoken word about climate change from Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. In hand, stainless steel lunchboxes! That was the confirmation that everything I had been learning up until this point needed to be put into action in my life.
It’s been about five months since I have been researching, educating myself and making small changes to become more sustainable. I have to say, even though it hasn’t been that long that I have been living these changes out, it’s one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I am not that naive to believe that my small acts of change will ultimately save the planet, every animal, and people being hurt by pollution and climate change. What I am doing is small, but if everyone took steps (even small and easy steps like using a reusable water bottle and tote bag instead of plastic ones), we could make a change. We could show big corporations what we really care about and hopefully lessen the need for single-use plastic, animal testing, and overall pollution — taking it day by day, little by little for those more significant changes we want to make.
Some of the actions I took to lessen my carbon footprint were so easy, and beyond that, they have made me feel so good. The first thing I did was to take an oath to no longer shop fast fashion. That means that I will only shop at ethical companies or second hand. It’s my responsibility as a consumer to research a companies production process, mission, and overall ethics. Do they treat their employees fairly? Do they source their fabrics in a way that is eco-friendly and safe? Are they honest with their customers? Are they forcing trends on us, or creating items with purpose and care? So much goes into this which has been a huge adjustment, but one that is worth it for me. Other changes I made are replacing my single-use plastic items with reusable items such as metal straws, reusable grocery bags, reusable eating utensils, and reusable paper towels. I am making even more changes every day in my diet, and in my home and even with my money. I can’t wait to do more and more and to share this passion on my social media has allowed me to stay accountable to this new change, and also find people to connect to who share these values. We can’t do this alone and knowing other people are going on the same journey as you are reassuring on those days that are a bit more challenging.
If you are looking for ways to start your sustainable journey, way to go! I would start the same way I did, with everyday items. Take it one step at a time, and remind yourself that you are doing something good. You are a part of a wonderful change! Know that just by researching about it, talking about climate change and waste with friends and family, and doing everything you can to be a part of this movement, you are contributing to a better future for your family and your family to come. Anyone can do it, and you can start today. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. If you’re on this journey or know someone who is, feel free to let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you! Happy Earth Day! You got this!
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