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The Everyday Environmentalist

Author: Rachel Van Hart

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This show is dedicated to helping you cultivate simple, smart, sustainable habits for a greener future. Yes, climate change and the problems facing our environment are huge. But there is power in the cumulative impact of the micro-level choices we make each and every day. Adopting the mindset of the everyday environmentalist allows you to become a part of the solution by folding eco-friendly living into the lifestyle you already enjoy.
28 Episodes
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You're already a recycling pro, but now it's time to take your environmental game up a notch. So now what?There are dozens of green-living lifestyles, movements, and approaches to choose from. So how do you know which one is right for you? I'll give you some pointers and let you in on one great big secret about every single one of them. SHOW NOTESShare the blog post: The Secret to Sustainable Living that No One Tells You.If you missed episode #20 about Earth Overshoot Day, that's worth a listen. (Or read the post here.)Please shoot me an email to let me know what you'd like to see in Season 2. What's working? What isn't? What would you like to know more about? I can't wait to hear from you!Catch up with me from time to time on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist. Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Recycling is usually one of the first solutions that comes to mind when we think of going green. But if we want to get serious about sustainability, recycling should be one of the last tools we grab out of our green-living toolbox. Here's why.SHOW NOTESIn summary, here are 10 reasons why recycling alone won't save us. For more on pre-recycling, read this.Further reading on the problems with recycling.Earthday.orgThe WeekABC NewsLoup VenturesTheme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Recycling is a wonderful service, but it runs on profit, not altruism. That's why consumers have an important role to play in all 3 stages of the recycling process. Through the power of our eco-conscious purchases, we can help close the recycling loop and nudge businesses and recyclers to be more sustainable at the same time.  SHOW NOTESRead the blog post.This website gives a succinct, helpful overview of pre-cycling. Find out more about Columbia’s ReThreads apparel recycling program.Learn about Pela’s 360 cell phone case recycling initiative.Check out TerraCycle’s free programs.Purchase a Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.Related Episodes#22: Recycling Etiquette Made Simple#23: Let's Play, Is This Recyclable?
Just because an item isn't allowed in the curbside bin doesn't necessarily mean it isn't recyclable. And if you want to move from recycling pro to aficionado, join in as we play a few rounds of Is This Recyclable? The prize? Sharper recycling skills and a feel-good green-living endorphin high! SHOW NOTESRead the blog post. Avoid common recycling mistakes by boning up on these 5 rules of recycling etiquette (or go back and listen to episode #22).Learn more about resin codes here.Search for local recycling options on the Earth 911 or Recycle Nation database.Check out the how2recycle.info website for helpful tips on how to recycle many products.Planet Aid and Simple Recycling are options for recycling textiles. Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
For the eco-conscious, recycling is often considered the low-hanging fruit of green living. But many of us are doing it wrong! And since recycling tends to be a one-bad-apple-spoils-the-bunch type of situation, the downstream effects of our common recycling mistakes can be pretty detrimental. But follow these 5 rules of recycling etiquette, and you'll avoid the most problematic recycling missteps. SHOW NOTESRead the blog post.Check out this virtual tour of a recycling facility.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.Sources:Republic Service's recycling education program."Confessions of an Aspirational Recycler" —earthday.org"You're Doing It Wrong: 7 Tips to Recycle Better"—earthday.org
I recently cut my kids' toy collection in half, and the results of my experiment back up what experts will tell you about children and play. And if you find yourself wading through a sea of toy clutter amid a chorus of complaints from bored children, it's time to give toy minimalism a try.SHOW NOTESRead the blog post.Related posts: 27 Common Household Items that Double as Toys.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Today is Earth Overshoot Day, meaning humanity has officially maxed out our ecological credit line for the year. In this episode, we explore this important sustainability metric and the cold reality of our supply-and-demand environmental situation. SHOW NOTESFor more information about Earth Overshoot Day or to join the #MoveTheDate campaign, visit www.overshootday.org.Oceana.org’s Sustainable Seafood Guide is a good resource on sustainably harvested fish.Ballotpedia.org is an amazing source of election news and information in the U.S.Be sure to share this episode or the blog post with a friend.RELATED EPISODESEpisode #3: Change one major habit and save tons of environmental resources by washing your hands like an everyday environmentalist.Episode #4: Discover strategies for making smarter, greener purchases.Episode #5: Get started with a plant-forward diet to cut back on meat and dairy consumption; but only cut it out entirely if you want to. Episode #9: Prepare to stop food waste in its tracks with this blueprint for curbing food waste.Episode #12: I did the homework for you when it comes to choosing a truly eco-friendly sunscreen.
Party planning can be super tricky for eco-conscious parents. The traditional elements of a childhood birthday party—never mind the pressure to make them more and more elaborate thanks to social media—all seem destined for a big black trash bag at the end of the day. But it doesn't have to be that way! I suggest some practical ways to green your child's party and an important mindset shift that will make planning your next eco-friendly birthday party a piece of cake!SHOW NOTESCheck out the blog post: 55 Ideas for Throwing an Eco-friendly Kid's Birthday Party.For more info on what is happening to the world's helium supply, check out this article.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Less than 60 years ago, the majority of children in the U.S. were potty trained by 18 months. Now, many parents don't even start the process until twice that age. The story of how one industry redefined a parenting milestone speaks volumes on the pitfalls of overwriting our cultural wisdom with the messages of the marketplace. SHOW NOTESFind out what to expect and get my best tips for potty training a one-year-old.Learn more about elimination communication at godiaperfree.com.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.Book recommendations for early potty training:*The Tiny Potty Training Book by Andrea OlsonOh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie GlowackiDiaper-Free Before 3 by Dr. Jill M. LekovicSources:For the statistics and narrative behind changing trends in potty training, see this New York Times article.View the graph of potty training trends over time.For current stats on the potty training age today, see this article. For an overview on issues connected to potty training at later ages, see this Huffington Post article. For the relationship between later initiation of potty training and withholding stool, see this study.Read Dr. Brazelton’s initial study here.Questions?Email me at rachel@theeverydayenvironmentalist.com.* The potty training book recommendations are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through the link. If you do make a purchase, thank you for supporting the show! 
Ziplock bags are wonderfully convenient things, but single-use plastics are not good for anyone. Short of giving them up altogether, the most environmentally responsible solution is to extend the lifespan of your plastic baggies by reusing them. Washing Ziplock bags is a chore I hated as a kid, but now I'm happy to do it. I'll explain why and share my best tips for making the task simple and convenient.SHOW NOTESRead the tutorial in blog form.Find out more about Plastic Free July any time of the year!Related: Check out episode #11 for tips on how to freeze perfect summer berries every time.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Prewashed salad greens are super convenient. But if you're looking to reduce your plastic consumption, there's a way to enjoy the benefits of pre-prepared salad greens without resorting to buying them in expensive plastic tubs. I'll tell you how and give you the secret to keeping them fresh.SHOW NOTESSee the blog post.Read about other sneaky ways to avoid plastic.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
I’ll be the first to admit that, to the uninitiated, shaving with a safety razor is intimidating. But with the proper technique and a little practice, you'll see that shaving with a safety razor is nothing to fear.SHOW NOTESView this tutorial in blog form.Get a thorough overview of the benefits of safety razors here.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.Some Safety Razor Brands to Check Out*AlbatrossEdwin JaggerMerkurOui the PeopleRockwell RazorsWell KeptAs for replacement blades, I'd recommend getting a sampler pack, like this one, and seeing what works best for you. * Some links are affiliate links.
Follow any green-living blog, Instagram account, or YouTube channel long enough, and someone will recommend that you start shaving with a safety razor. An apparent favorite among eco-enthusiasts, I finally decided to see what all the fuss what about.SHOW NOTESRead the blog post.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.Some Safety Razor Brands to Try*If you're interested in getting started with a safety razor, here are some brands to check out: AlbatrossEdwin JaggerMerkurOui the PeopleRockwell RazorsWell KeptAs for replacement blades, I'd recommend getting a sampler pack, like this one, and seeing what works best for you. * Some links are affiliate links.Safety Razor Just Not for You? That’s OK, Here’s Another Green OptionThere's always a more sustainable way of doing what we're already doing. And if the idea of a safety razor just seems too intimidating to you (or if you're just not into it), then you can green your cartridge razor by buying responsibly.One option is Preserve razors (triple and five blade styles), which are made from recycled yogurt cups or in some cases plastic reclaimed from the ocean. They are fully recyclable through the company’s take back program. And the company itself is a socially responsible, certified B Corp. Find Preserve razors through Earth Hero or Amazon.** Affiliate links
In the United States, our collective cultural foibles aren't doing us any favors in terms of health, wealth, or sustainability. Yet we can't seem to shake our penchant for cheap, big, and quick. Looking at our cultural habits from the lens of the everyday environmentalist, they quickly lose their appeal.SHOW NOTESWhich of these habits am I ready to change? Find out here.Take the Plastic Free July challenge!Sign up for the monthly Digest.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
This episode is dedicated to anyone who has ever stood in the skin care aisle desperately trying to decode the gibberish on the back of the sunscreen bottles to find the best one for your health and for the planet. You'll get the info you need to be an informed sunscreen consumer and tips for finding and using an eco-friendly sunscreen.SHOW NOTESCheck out my ocean-friendly sunscreen buying guide.Sign up for the monthly Digest.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
If you're tired of tasteless, faux-ripe, carbon-footprint-heavy berries from the grocery store, then you'll want to listen in. Capturing nature's bounty when it is at its peak freshness is the way to go. And freezing fresh berries is one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to dip your toe into the world of food preservation. SHOW NOTESClick here for step-by-step instructions for freezing fresh berries.Check out Pick Up Limes’s easy berry chia seed jam recipe.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Nothing is sacred when it comes to greening our everyday habits—not even breakfast cereal. In this episode we take a second look at our most beloved breakfast food through the lens of the everyday environmentalist and brainstorm some eco-friendly alternatives.SHOW NOTESRead the transcript.Get my granola recipe.Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
True environmental change cannot happen in a vacuum. And if we want to become real stewards of environmental and social justice, we have to pause to consider our own eco-privilege and then seek the perspectives and understandings we lack from others. This episode is dedicated to the men and women who are putting it all on the line in support of the #blacklivesmatters movement. SHOW NOTESEngage in the #blacklivesmatters movement. Find a list of minority voices on environment and sustainability here.
A full third of the food supply produced for humans gets tossed each year. That's a lot of wasted food dollars and, more importantly, squandered environmental resources. We can all do more to reduce our own household food waste. All we need is a good plan.  SHOW NOTESRead the transcript.See this as a blog post.Sign up for the monthly Digest. Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
Green living and frugality hold hands very well. In fact, they might even be BFFs. And if you want to apply some frugal thinking to your practice as an everyday environmentalist, here are 4 principles to follow.SHOW NOTESRead the transcript.Check out this blog post with 6 ideas for how to go green for free. Follow me on Instagram @the.everyday.environmentalist.Theme music by www.purple-planet.com.
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