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Invest in Our Planet: 10 Things You Can Do to Both Look and Feel Better

Earth Day - which is celebrated on 22 April - was established in 1970, but its importance is more prominent today than it was back then.

With “Code Red for Humanity '' recently being the described results from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change there’s no time like the present to really make some changes. “It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. If that doesn’t make you sit up and listen, nothing will.

Three of our biggest culprits that are accelerating Global Warming are the heat-trapping gas Carbon dioxide (CO2), a by-product of fossil fuel combustion and Methane which is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil, and red meat production. One would think these gasses come from big corporations and manufacturers but in actual fact the products we choose to use have just as big an impact - if not more!

Yes, there’s no doubt leaders and corporations need to take drastic action and address the challenges our planet is facing in terms of Global Warming and caring for our planet, however collectively we can also make a huge difference through small - very mindful - ways. It really does start with you!

Here are 10 things you can do today in your wardrobe and beauty cabinet:

Buy Responsibly: be honest with yourself and ask why you’re buying something. How many times will you be able to wear it and style it in different ways? Now is the best time to buy the best, and buy less. ”When buying quality natural clothing, not only are they great for your health and the environment, but they last and stay in fashion longer.” Says Founder and CEO of Just Breethe, a sustainable lifestyle and activewear brand, Marc Barnfather.

Educate yourself: understand the difference between natural and synthetic fibers as well the impact it has on our planet earth. We are privileged to have access to an incredible amount of information - spend some time to educate yourself and make better choices!

Avoid Synthetics: where you can, avoid synthetics. Polyester is the biggest culprit - they aren’t biodegradable and are fossil-fuel derived; our biggest influence on Global Warming. If you must, buy recycled Polyester or Blended Poly-Cotton as a start. ”Big business would like us to believe that fast fashion feels good. They have disguised the plastic bag as fast fashion with colours and send you out everyday in something new. Learn what the difference is between synthetics and natural and then do the right thing.” says Barnfather.

“Synthetic ingredients in beauty products can also have a major impact on our ecosystems and therefore climate change. A vast number of them are derived from fossil-fuel, making them unsustainable. They are usually not biodegradable and end up polluting waterways and causing harm to species in our ecosystems. They represent a threat to biodiversity. Natural ingredients can also be a problem for climate exchange and ecosystem when they come from unethical and unsustainable sources. Brands should be transparent about the origin of their ingredients.” says Helary.

“We want to stop fossil fuel,” he adds.

Properly take care of your garments: the better care you take of your garments, the longer they will last and the less you need to buy. It’s a wonderful circle of your clothes’ life! Read the labels, and however unnecessary it may seem, follow the care instructions; they are there for a reason!

Clear out your closet more mindfully: an estimated 85% of clothing items end up in landfills which are most likely made up of non-biodegradable fibres. When you clear out your closet, be more mindful - rather than just chucking it in the bin, rather sell or donate these items.

Eliminate microplastics: Over time, plastic degrades into very small particles, which are now found everywhere in the environment - from the air we breathe to the rain drops from the skies and in the food we eat. They are called - Microplastics. Mind Blowingly, every time we do laundry an estimated 9 million Microfibres end up in the oceans because wastewater plants cannot filter them. This results in Microplastic pollution. Sadly, by simply wearing synthetic clothes, plastic fibers are constantly being released in the air. Get a Microplastics filter installed in your washing machine to start the elimination process. “We eat the equivalent of a credit card in plastic every week thanks to this Microplastic pollution!” says Helary.

Watch out for Greenwashing: The intentional act of Greenwashing has been sticking its head out more than the industry would like to admit. Dr. Stephan Healry, Founding Owner of Terres d’Afrique, a sustainable luxury skin and body care range, adds, “Greenwashing has been common practice since the consumer started shifting to more natural and eco-friendly products due to health concerns about certain ingredients. Brands always try to jump on the bandwagon of trends and many big brands aren’t always very scrupulous about being transparent and honest. Honesty, transparency and authenticity have always been critical for us at Terres d’Afrique. We want to encourage brands to be transparent. Regardless of the route you choose, synthetic, combination or purely natural or even organic, it is all a matter of transparency about what you do, how and why. The consumer will then make up their mind about what is acceptable for them in terms of clean and sustainability. We need to be better at not making any false claims and misleading the consumer.”

Cut down on packaging: support companies that use recycled or recyclable packaging such as Terres d’Afrique and Just Breethe, and try to move away from plastic and paper packaging altogether. The more mindful we are, the more we demand from brands, the better for all of us and our planet! “Only 14% of plastic ever made has been recycled. The rest ends up in landfills. One (1) garbage truck of single use plastic packaging ends up in the oceans every minute.

Recycle correctly: Not all packaging gets recycled and we have our part to play to ensure our waste gets recycled by not just dumping packaging in the bin but by doing it properly. If you have a glass bottle with a pump, consumers are advised to separate the pump and the glass bottle, the same applies to other packaging like aluminum foil and glass. If it’s not separated, it won’t be recycled.” says, Helary.

Go for an eco-friendly deodorant: did you know your deo has aluminum in it? But more than that, our traditional aerosols consist of gas propellants such as Propane and Butane which increase radiation and cause an imbalance of gasses in the atmosphere. In addition, opt for a fragrance-free deodorant; this will reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as Formaldehyde, which contribute to air pollution.

It starts with you!

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