This year's Earth Day is themed "Invest in our Planet" which we are 100% onboard with since we're all about making small changes for impacting the bigger picture. When these small changes become habit it's amazing what can happen.
For example, remember when you would throw your coins (when we had cash) in the car cup holder and after a few months you'd have enough money to buy some lunch? Without even thinking about it you've saved enough change for lunch. The same applies to investing our planet. Here are 6 simple ways to invest back into our planet.
Reduce Plastic Waste
You've heard the terrible impact plastic has on the planet but what the biggest challenge is trying to reduce your plastic waste since it's literally everywhere! Now, you don't need to be an "zero waste warrior" and completely eliminate plastic in your life but there are little ways to reduce your plastic waste around the home. These include:
Reusable products: Aim to take your reusables with you everywhere you go to avoid buying plastic water or take-away coffee cups
Aim to buy loose products: Yes, we know it's super easy to grab a pack of pre-cut vegetables but if you buy the loose products and cut them yourself not only reduces plastic but the produce is usually much fresher.
Bring your own bags: It's a oldie but a goodie. Aim to bring your own bags as much as possible
Ditch the tea bags: Turns out that the humble tea bag is filled with plastic. To avoid them simply use loose leaf tea and as an added bonus it makes you a little bit "fancier" in front of your friends.
Use more containers: Instead of cling wrapping everything or using ziplock bags try and pop things in containers. For example, instead of wrapping up half a watermelon in cling wrap just cut the whole thing into pieces and pop it in a container.
These are only a few ways to reduce plastic. There are countless ways to reduce and recycle waste. Get creative and see what you come up with.
Leave the car at home
Cars are essential in most people's lives especially since we live in such a big, sparse country. However, with that being said it doesn't mean that we have to drive everywhere. Leaving the car at home on occasion reduces traffic congestion, saves money, reduces wear and tear on the car but most importantly reduces CO2 emissions.
Examples include; instead of driving to the shop to buy some eggs you could jump on the bike or simply walk to the shops or catch public transport when possible.
Make your money more sustainable
This is a big one that you can do to really help the planet. We won't dive into the nitty gritty as when it comes to money since we're not financial advisors however, we will outline things you can look into further.
Super - For those who are young Super isn't really a "thing" as such. It's money you don't see for another 30 to 40 years. But where you put your Super money can impact the planet. For example, some Super Funds invest your money into mining giants or major polluters. There's a lot of fine print around this area but thankfully there are super funds out there that can provide good options in terms of investing your hard-earn money.
Banks - Choosing the right bank isn't always the one that has the lowest rates or the cheesiest ads. Choosing the right bank may be the bank that doesn't invest or fund fossil fuels. It's a question worth asking, what does your bank support? Does it provide millions of dollars to mining, coal or other environmentally unfriendly pracises?
Stock Market - Investing in the stock market is nothing new but what is new is the amount of environmentally friendly brands and companies you can invest in. Just a little bit of research uncovers so many great companies who you can support.
Cryptocurrency - This is a very new and exciting way to trade however, there is a darker side to it. Without going into too many technical details but for the sake of this we'll be talking about Bitcoin (only one of thousands of cryptocurrencies). I find Bitcoins you need computers to search through millions of complex equations. Hence why it's called "Bitcoin Mining." For a computer to solve these equations it takes a lot of power. Not only to solve the puzzle but also to cool the systems from overheating. Unfortunately these 'Bitcoin Mines" are based in areas of cheap energy, usually coal powered energy. In short, it takes a lot of energy and plenty of CO2 into the atmosphere to mine Bitcoin. Very similar to the energy it takes to mine other commodities like gold. Thankfully there are cryptocurrencies aiming to use renewable sources. If you're thinking of investing in crypo it's well worth looking into if the currency uses renewable energy.
The key takeaway is to just have a look into where your money goes and who it supports. It's your money and you're the boss.
Join a Clean-Up Group
Australia is full of amazing people who spend a few hours of the time to cleaning up their local community. It's not a big investment but it's one of the most rewarding. Seeing the direct impact that you make is very satisfying. To find a local clean-up group you can jump onto Facebook or contact your local council. Plus, you don't need to sign up and commit for a whole year. Just pick and choose and get involved.
Shop smart, read labels and buy seasonally
When you walk through the supermarket aisle is easy to just grab what's on the shelf but it's good to invest some time and research into understanding where the food comes from, where it's processed and where it's packed. For example that piece of frozen fish you bought may have been caught in New Zealand, processed in Thailand and shipped back to Australia for sale. That's a lot of travelling and CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. This goes for many foods like vegetables, fruits and so on.
By doing a little digging and buy products that locally made, produced and packed dramatically reduces that product's carbon footprint.
We're lucky enough to live in a democracy and voting is both a right and privilege. You may not be the most politically savvy person but you vote does make a difference. Our leaders are the ones who have the power to make change for the better. By voting for the candidate who you think may be the best investor for the future of the planet can make a difference.
In summary, there are many ways to invest back into our planet from a personal level to a federal level. This Earth day we're encouraging everyone just to take a good look into their everyday life and see if there is a "greener" way to do it. If you have any great ideas please email firstname.lastname@example.org