“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
I focus a lot on creating a lifestyle that aligns with your values. For me and Dane, being active participants in saving our environment is incredibly important. Living consciously is part of our value system. We believe every choice we make is part of the domino effect that produces an outcome that helps or hinders the longevity of our world. Every action we take, each dollar we spend, and our vote effects this situation. If the environment is valuable to you, you may want to ask yourself these questions: Who are you supporting? What corporations, political initiatives and mission statements are you voting for with your money? How are your daily actions positively or negatively impacting the world? Are you leaving the world a better or worse place for your children, and your children’s children?
My perspective of the world is not average, due to my unique upbringing. I was raised in the mountains surrounding Napa Valley. You could find my sister and I catching blue belly lizards and tree frogs, swimming in the creek that ran by our house, or riding horses on the trails on my grandparent’s property. Our family spent months at a time camping, hiking and fly-fishing on the Metolius River in Central Oregon, or in national parks throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Canada. If you haven’t already, you can read my full blog post that shares how I grew up. I was taught to respect and appreciate the natural world, from the small Stone Fly to the glaciers covering the mountain ranges. My experiences taught me that everything in nature has its place, its purposes, its cycle. Humans should respect and appreciate our place in the natural world.
When I met Dane, he was an Environmental Engineer working to clean up groundwater at sites on the Central California Coast. He’d become an Environmental Engineer because he wanted to make a difference in the world. I instantly fell in love with him for his vision and what he was working to accomplish. His values matched my values, and together we work to live these according to these values every day.
For the past few years, Dane and I have been making gradual changes to be more in line with our values. We are actively conscious of how our daily actions affect the long-term health of our planet. We’ve made a shift in the companies and missions we support in our day-to-day lives together. Putting our money where our mouth is, we’ve been trying out new sustainably-focused brands, changing our grocery shopping habits, downsizing our personal belongings, and supporting organizations that donate a portion of their profits to environmental research, sustainable energy and clean-planet initiatives.
Making a lifestyle shift isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power if we take positive action. I’m sharing my favorite sustainably and ethically produced brands that I love and use in order to help you start living more consciously. (No, I’m not being paid to endorse any of these products. I simply love them and am here to share!)
Bite Toothpaste Bits: Bite is a company that makes bite-sized toothpaste tablets that foam in your mouth and clean your teeth. They come in a glass jar with a refill subscription process delivered to your mailbox in a compostable package. What we love about this company is their product and their mission. The founders questioned why toothpaste must be in plastic tubes. They thought further than their experience at the bathroom sink, all the way to the 1 billion plastic tubes that go to our landfills each year (source: bitetoothpastebits.com). And they didn’t stop there. They realized that this landfill trash spills over to our oceans too. Needless to say, there is no going back to conventional packaged toothpaste for us. The days of tossing out empty (non-recyclable) tubes are over.
Lush: This handmade cosmetics company is 100% vegetarian, with no animal testing and comes in naked packaging – shampoo in bar form versus plastic bottle. We love all these things, plus they smell AMAZING! According to their web site, 35% of their products are packaging-free! The products that are packaged are made from either 100% post-consumer recycled paper or BPA-free 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Every time a Lush customer returns five clean, empty packages to the shop, they are melted down and reused. As a “thank you” they send you home with a free facemask! Double win! These products are formulated with little to no water, necessitating zero synthetic preservatives, making it easy to go plastic-free with their line of products. Here are a few of my favorites – Face Primer, Face Cleansing Bar, Exfoliating Body Bar, Shaving Cream, Shampoo Bar, Shower Gel Bar, Deodorant
Who Gives A Crap: Everyone uses toilet paper, right? Right. But, is everyone aware that most toilet papers are still made from trees harvested from old growth forests? I was not. I was appalled to learn that we cutting down forests just to wipe our bums before flushing these previously living ecosystems down the toilet. What’s wrong with this picture? A lot! Who Give A Crap delivers 100% recycled paper products (toilet paper, tissues, paper towels) to your doorstep. I love them, because they believe there’s another way to create soft, sustainable toilet paper that involves less energy, without wasting our natural resources. The company is also hugely mission-driven, donating 50% of their profits to building clean toilet facilities in developing countries. I had no idea, until I visited their web site, that 2.3 billion people don’t have access to toilets, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of children die every year due to unsafe and unclean conditions. Here’s another bonus, if you’re not convinced – they’re packaged in 100% recycled paper with cute prints which I’ve been saving to use as an alternative to traditional wrapping papers. “YAY” to multi-use products!
Que Water Bottle: Que is a collapsible, refillable water bottle. I found Que water bottles through an Instagram ad and was immediately drawn to their stylish design. I do a great job of staying hydrated during the week, because I’m constantly filling up my water bottle when I’m sitting at my desk. When the weekend hits or we’re on the go traveling I find I often forget to stay hydrated. When I do remember to pack my stainless-steel water bottle, I get tired of carrying it, and decide not to pack it entirely. This makes me succumb to buying bottled water. In my opinion bottled water is a waste of money and resources. Que has solved this problem with a purse-sized bottle! Their functional, fashionable, collapsible water bottle is designed for life on-the-go. Que also supports national and San Francisco Bay Area non-profit environmental organizations. Thank you for solving my problem and helping me stay hydrated Que!
Final Straw: Not only do single-use plastics pollute our oceans and land, but they are endangering our marine ecosystems and contaminating natural food sources. Luckily, a company called Final Straw is here to save the day. Final Straw created a hip and stylish collapsible, reusable straw that you can easily carry with you wherever you go. Final Straw’s mission is to empower consumers to change their sipping habits. Remember when ordering at restaurants and bars to say, “I don’t need a straw. Thank you!” and thank you, Final Straw, for helping us “suck responsibly!”
To-Go Ware: This is my recommendation for sustainable, reusable cutlery made from sustainably harvested bamboo. To-Go Ware is working to put a stop to the “throw-away” mentality of many Americans. It is possible to live in a “to-go” culture while still being sustainable thanks to these easily packable reusable and washable set of forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks.
Clean Cult: Clean Cult promotes green living with their line of cleaning products. Their starter pack comes with all-natural dish soap, powder laundry detergent, and all-purpose cleaner. These all-natural products work well, and I mean really well! Ingredients include saponified coconut oil – a form of coconut oil that’s been treated with natural minerals transforming it into soap that effectively treats stains and greases. Other active ingredients include olive and jojoba oils, rosemary extract, lemongrass oil, and aloe vera. Great news! You won’t die or get sick if you accidentally lick your countertops after cleaning with these products! Clean Cult will also ship you refills not in plastic containers, but in milk cartons that are easily recyclable or compostable. In addition to all this awesomeness, Clean Cult partners with environmental agencies to plant trees to reduce as much carbon as they emit, essentially leaving their operation 100% carbon neutral. Pretty cool right? Thought you’d like that!
Net Zero: Net Zero has a mission to create products that encourage less waste and a low impact lifestyle. We’ve restocked our home with many of their products after my mother-in-law gifted me a set of their Reusable Produce Bags for Christmas. I immediately went to their web site and ordered a Cotton Tote, Beeswax Food Wrap, Silicone Storage Bags, and Silicone Food Covers. Thanks to Net Zero we’ve been able to easily make the switch to conscious grocery shopping and packaging our leftovers without having to turn to single use plastics. If we can do it, you can too.
Zero Waste Cartel: This company shares knowledge and provides products to minimize waste. They have a great selection of bathroom and on the-go items. I love their shampoo and conditioner bars in so many fantastic scents, reusable make-up rounds (to replace the waste of cotton rounds), zero waste dental floss and deodorant in a biodegradable container. Plus, they have a blog full of useable info. They’re making it real easy to lower our footprint.
Thinx: For all the ladies out there, these last two tips are for you! When that time of the month comes around it can be stressful and costly to appropriately stock your bathroom with tampons and/or pads. I haven’t had to stress-run to the grocery store for these items for over a year thanks to Thinx. I purchased a set of 5-pairs of their washable, reusable period underwear last year and I am never turning back. Not only are they way more comfortable to wear, but there’s no chemicals, bleaches or dyes touching your nether regions, and Thinx are 100% washable and reusable.
DivaCup: When I’m not wearing my Thinx underwear – i.e. when I go swimming or I’m simply just wearing a bathing suit, I’ve turned to the DivaCup. This may not be for everyone, but again I’m not a fan of all the waste we generate when using conventional, disposable tampons. I’ve used my DivaCup for almost 2-years now and not only is it extremely cost-effective to have stopped buying tampons, and it can be worn for up to 12-hours. Can you say “hello” total period comfort?
Vibin’ with value systems
So here I am, up on my biodegradable bar of soap (no soapbox, because less packaging, obviously) telling you how to live your life. Just who do I think I am? Well, I’m the person who is focusing her life on inspiring and coaching others to live their dreams. Every so often, I feel as though I should share how I structure my life to live it to the fullest. And one way I do that, and feel good about the life I’m creating, is my value system.
I encourage you to do the same. If you’re frustrated by the lack of action from our politicians, government, and large corporations, you can make a difference. We all have the power to vote with our dollars. When we purchase reusable, waste-free products, we financially support companies and initiatives we want to grow. By making conscious choices we align ourselves with organizations that are helping to reduce environmental footprint and reduce waste. I would bet making these conscious choices brings joy to those who practice it.
What are your values? Do they align with your lifestyle? Do you need help creating a value structure? Perhaps you need help transitioning to a daily practice that matches your value system. Please share in the comments section below or reach out so we can connect directly!
It’s easy to go with the flow. Buying and using less is certainly breaking the mold, and isn’t that what I’m always saying? Be bold! Break the mold!