Taking care of the planet and trying to reduce the impact of climate change can seem like a daunting task. And when you feel the clock is ticking, you might be impelled to do something in your own life to lessen your impact on the earth. While there are many things you can do to help, from driving an electric vehicle to using recycled toilet paper, it can be difficult to know what actually makes a difference. That’s why we spoke to 19-year-old Harvard student and sustainability entrepreneur Devishi Jha about her favorite green living tips.
Jha has been a climate organizer for five years and her concern for the planet began after watching a video about climate change in 6th grade. “I was amazed at the catastrophic effects that climate change could have on the planet in my lifetime and was compelled to act,” says Jha. “Two years later, I became an organizer.” Since then, she has been a member of the UNICEF USA National Council, partnerships director at Zero Hour, and currently serves on the board of directors of the American Lung Association as an advisor to climate activists, while also serving as co-founder and CEO of Voyagers, a youth -led platform that works with companies to implement sustainable practices.
Jha says every action you take can help fight climate change. “It is becoming increasingly easier for individuals to take small actions to conserve the planet’s resources. According to UNEP, Count Us In organizers estimate that if 1 billion people take practical action in their own lives, they could reduce up to 20% of global carbon emissions,” says Jha. “Everything from shopping with reusable bags, to reusing containers, recycling, composting and more has a role to play in increasing global sustainability.”
Jha is doing a few simple things to reduce her own impact on her daily life. “I personally don’t eat red meat, shop with reusable grocery bags, recycle and compost, and try my best to reduce waste and energy use whenever possible,” she says. “All of these actions may seem small, but together they help reduce my carbon footprint and environmental impact.”
Jha also recommends going to thrift stores and buying second-hand clothes, along with doing plenty of research if you’re buying from an eco-friendly brand. “Find sustainability reports to examine a company’s actual impact on the environment, human rights, DEI and transparency,” she says. “There is a lot of work being done in the private sector on sustainability reporting, which is measuring and reporting sustainability analysis, so ensuring a brand’s environmental impact is likely to become easier in the years to come.”
To get you started in reducing your environmental impact, here are some products to help you live a greener life, either recommended by Jha or one of our own favourites.
$14 at Baggu
“I love using reusable bags that fold up and are easy to take with you when you go shopping – you can find these almost anywhere,” says Jha. We love Baggus bags that roll up into a tiny pouch that you can easily slip into any purse or backpack.
$12 at Package Free
This stylish tote bag from Package Free is made from 100% organic and fair trade cotton.
$38.49 at Amazon
One of our most popular reusable bags for sustainable grocery shopping. These bags have a flat bottom that makes loading them into your shopping cart a breeze.
$5.95 on public goods
Skip the plastic bags at the grocery store and use these reusable mesh bags instead. In addition, the network makes your products easy to identify at the checkout.
$9.95 on public goods
Whether you want to use this as another tote bag or as an oversized produce bag for large items like lettuce, this bag is a must have.
$149 at Patagonia
“I also like Patagonia,” says Jha. “Their products are durable and the company does a good job on ESG and takes responsibility for the ongoing work it has to do as a brand.” We also love Patagonia apparel, especially the Torrentshell jacket, our favorite rain jacket.
$48 $32 at bite
“There are many emerging startups that I love for their ingenuity in developing sustainable products,” says Jha. “One of my favorites is Bite Toothpaste Bits, a great alternative to regular toothpaste that reduces waste while also being 100% cruelty-free and vegan.”
$22.98 at Amazon
“I’m also a huge chocolate lover, and one of my favorite ethical, sustainable chocolate brands is Tony’s Chocolonely,” says Jha. “Tony’s chocolate is 100% slave-free and works directly with the farmers to ensure that all steps of the supply chain from production to consumption of their chocolate are ethical and giving back to local communities.”
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