What Is Earth Day All About?

Today, Sunday April 22nd 2018 is the 48th annual celebration of Earth Day! What do you know about Earth Day?

It is a day dedicated to gathering, tidying up our environment, and raising awareness regarding environmental issues such as pollution, global warming, and climate change. But shouldn’t we be doing that everyday? We are given this planet with amazing landscapes, ecosystems, and resources. We should do our part to take better care of it.

To understand better why we have this special day, here’s a little background info: The day was founded by US senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Nelson was motivated to educate the public about the environment following the Santa Barbra oil spill in 1969. On the first ever Earth Day celebration held in 1970 over 20 million Americans took to streets and public spaces to demonstrate and raise awareness of environmental sustainability. Within the next year, the US EPA had been created. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts were also passed.

Years later Earth Day went global celebrating the 20th anniversary. This celebration in 1990 reached 200 million people in 141 different countries.

As the 2000s approached the internet was used to organize activists. Thousands of environmental groups in 184 countries reached out to hundreds of millions of people. This mass interest demonstrated to world leaders that the people of planet earth were ready for action on global warming and clean energy.

So this day has actually had a profound impact on our Earth!

Over the years it has continued to thrive in communities across the world who recognize Earth Day on the 22nd of April each year. Community leaders schedule conferences, rallies, outdoor activities, and other unique events annually for people to partake in and help raise awareness. Check out the Earth Day activities in your local community today to get involved.

Want to make a difference not only today but every day? Below are some simple ways you can better care for the environment in your daily life. Share this list with your friends and family to make an even bigger impact.

  • Use reusable grocery bags
  • Use reusable water bottles
  • Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!!!!
  • Carpool to save on gas and reduce carbon emissions
  • Buy local & in season produce
  • Buy clothing made of natural/organic materials
  • Buy all-natural beauty and body care products
  • Invest in a compost bin to reduce the amount of trash you produce and to create your own nutrient rich soil
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
  • Look for products with little to no packaging
  • Avoid single use products
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use
  • Close window shades in summer to keep indoor temperatures cool and reduce the need for AC units or fans
  • Wash clothes in cold water and air dry them when possible

Earth Day is now considered the largest secular holiday with the participation of billions each year. Let’s all do our part to help make a difference. We only have one Earth.

The Best Soap To Use

Soap; we lather up with it each time we shower and we (hopefully) use it whenever we leave the washroom or prepare food. But have you ever stopped to reflect on what it is you are actually cleaning your body with? Your skin is your largest organ and it is porous, meaning it absorbs everything it comes in contact with – are you treating it well?

If you are using commercial soaps you may be surprised as to what it is you are actually introducing to your body. These products may smell good and leave you thinking you are clean but hard truth is that the bulk of them are full of toxins. If you ever read the ingredients list when purchasing new health and beauty products you’ll notice that common soaps often contain harmful synthetic compounds such as parabens, phthalates, perfumes, and sulfates. Studies have shown that these ingredients can lead to a wide variety of health problems including dry skin, irritation, and allergies. Some of them have even been shown to cause cancer (Edward, 2016).

Aside from having a negative impact on your body these toxic commercial soaps also wreak havoc on the environment. They are usually mass produced leading to immense amounts of waste as a result of the production and packaging process (Vemb, 2015).

So what should we be using instead? Natural handmade soaps are a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative. They are created from all natural oils and ingredients such as arrowroot, beeswax, clays, flowers, aloe, and cocoa butter. This makes them very gentle and moisturizing, all while fully cleansing the skin. Natural soaps also tend to be cruelty free and are produced in small batches leading to less waste and environmental harm.

Where Can You Buy Natural Soap?

I highly recommend Crate 61 Organics natural soaps. They are not only all natural but are also raw, vegan, and local (assuming you’re in Toronto)! Another great choice is SoapWorks for tried and true natural soap.

Note: I do not recommend buying from LUSH as they use parabens and a host of other synthetic chemicals in almost all of their soaps. This is really deceiving considering that they are ethically produced. Read the ingredients people!

Interested In Making Your Own Natural Soap?

Making your own soap has become a recent trend. Not only is it eco-friendly but it is very simple and affordable too. The “melt and pour” method is what I have found to be the best way to make your own soap.

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Cut the soap base into small cubes if necessary (about one square inch)
  2. Simmer about an inch of water in the saucepan
  3. Put the soap base in the heatproof pot and then set the heatproof pot inside the saucepan
  4. Add your colourings to the soap base as it is melting and stir it gently
  5. Spray the soap mold with a bit of rubbing alcohol
  6. Once the soap base is completely melted, add your essential oils and stir it gently
  7. Spray alcohol onto the soap base to get rid of any air bubbles
  8. You can place any solid ingredients you have such as dried flowers into the mixture at this time. It is up to you whether you want to place them neatly on the mold, add them to the mixture, or sprinkle them on top at then end
  9. Pour the melted soap into the mold (if you haven’t already!)
  10. Let sit for 30 minutes to cool and harden
  11. Remove the bars of soap from the mold

That’s it!

Note: To get creative try making different coloured soap bases and layer them into the same soap bar.

References

Is Synthetic Clothing Really Harmful?

TLDR: Yes!

Synthetic clothing materials such as rayon, nylon, acrylic, and polyester are made from coal and petroleum derivatives. They do not exist naturally in the environment. They are not biodegradable. They wreak havoc on the Earth, as well as your body.

These fabrics are most commonly used in fashion products because they are cheap and are easier to produce. They also appeal to potential buyers because they can give clothing some additional features such as being “wrinkle-free” or “breathable.”

The costs outweigh these benefits however because synthetic materials are very bad for our health. Phthalates, for example, are synthetic ingredients which are commonly used in clothing today and are known to disrupt hormones making them a valid cause of chronic illness. Formaldehyde is another typical ingredient used in synthetic clothing which is also a known carcinogen. This article on Pri.org talks more in depth about the health issues associated with these chemicals.

Not only are these materials detrimental to our health but they also pose significant harm to the environment. Many people don’t realize that textile dying is actually the second largest source of water pollution after agriculture. The fashion industry is largely responsible for this massive impact as it promotes the idea that clothes constantly need to be updated, leading to clothing waste.

Jewelry is not exempt from creating a negative impact either. As discussed in a recent article on Jezebel.com, fashion jewelry is predominantly made of alloy blends that contain heavy metals like nickel, lead, and cadmium – all known to cause severe neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. The article refrences a study that found high levels of these hazardous chemicals in products from common clothing stores such as H&M and Walmart.

So what can we do to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet?

Well, every piece of clothing that exists does undergo some form of processing and will come into contact with chemicals at some point – cotton, for example, is often grown with pesticides by necessity. So while it is nearly impossible to find clothing that is completely free of these nasty chemicals, it is possible to find clothing which is minimally processed. In other words, do the best you can! There are a few different ways of going about that:

1) Read the labels of every single garment you find, like, and want to try on. This way, you can make sure that all or most of the materials are natural. Shopping for clothes and jewelry could be like a fun part-time job, except instead of making money you spend it. You have nothing better to do anyway, right?

2) Shop at expensive new age clothing and accessory shops and get a bunch of nice handmade, organic stuff. You won’t be able to afford rent but at least you’ll have your pride.

3) Run away from society, live off the land, and spend your days making clothes out of straw, coconuts, and animal skins that you harvest yourself.

Or, you know… not.

There are many fantastic businesses that are now sourcing clothing that is ethically produced and made from all natural materials. I will link to them here shortly. In the meantime, search around! Being healthy isn’t hard, I promise 🙂