Photo: Older Woman Smiling in the Kitchen

by Manjari Fergusson

What is sustainability? The point of living in a sustainable manner is to make sure resources we rely on can continue to exist… such as water, land, trees and energy, not to mention your own health, time and money. Here are some tips that can help you be a more conscientious consumer.

Eat Plant-Based and Superfoods

Eating a plant-based diet is not only better for your health but it’s better for the environment, as livestock production is one of the largest contributors to pollution1. Plant-based superfoods are nutrient-rich and are especially beneficial for health and well-being. Foods such as berries, pomegranates, leafy green vegetables, nuts, chia seeds, raw cacao or unrefined dark chocolate (at least 70%2), sweet potatoes and coconut oil are some examples of superfoods that will keep you healthy and energized. A healthy diet means you’ll spend less time being sick and spending money and resources on medical expenses.

Buy Local

Down to Earth works hard to provide you with as many local products as possible. This is better for you and the environment, cutting down on transportation costs and carbon emissions, and it helps the local economy. Local food is also fresher and supports local farmers.

Use Environmentally Friendly Body and Cleaning Products

Using products that are full of chemicals is harmful to the water supply, air, and most importantly, humans. Seek out cleaning products with natural, non-toxic ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, coconut oil, lavender, and beeswax. These are safe to use around your kids and pets, and they don’t harm the environment.

Buy Organic

By eating organic foods you won’t be consuming the chemicals and pesticides that are used to grow conventional fruits and veggies. In addition, organically grown foods are better for the environment as the chemicals contaminate ground water and the soil.

Avoid GMOs

Much like eating organically, it’s important to avoid GMOs too. While, for many reasons, it is impossible to know whether everything you eat contains GMOs or not, and even the organic label does not necessarily mean the food you’re eating is completely GMO-free, avoiding them when possible is something to keep in mind. Genetic engineering results in high amounts of herbicide being used to kill the weeds in crops. This results in high amounts of residue in our food.

Transportation

You don’t have to give up your car, but as a society it’s important to make more conscientious decisions about the mode you want to use for that trip down the road. Honolulu will be implementing a bike-sharing program by next year, which will mean you don’t need to own a bike to use one, much like renting a car by the hour. In addition, walking, taking the bus, biking and carpooling are all ways you can lower your carbon footprint.

Footnotes: 
  1. Livestock a major threat to environment,” United Nations FAO Newsroom, Nov. 29, 2006: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/index.html
  2. Conley, Mikaela. "Dark Chocolate for a Healthier Heart." ABC News. ABC News Medical Unit, 06 21 2012. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. .retrieved March 24, 2014