From the Global Climate Strike for Future in March, to the UN Climate Action Summit in September, 2019 was a big year for environmentalism. And those are just two of the many, many events that took place with the earth and its longevity as their focus. A lot of mini-steps were also taken, with columns and blogs and articles full of climate champions and excellent advice on how to live your greenest life! I’ve rounded up the best of the bunch, with these top ten eco-friendly articles from 2019!
Leading our top ten is this post on dealing with eco-anxiety. Ethical Unicorn tackles the thorny challenge of ‘living with “a chronic fear of environmental doom”, as the American Psychological Association have defined it. More and more people around the world are finding themselves depressed, anxious or continuously enraged by the situation that our planet is in (and that our leaders seem to not take as seriously as they should). A lot of kids around the world, especially, are struggling with the idea that they are responsible for saving the planet, and are exposed to apocalyptic ideas a bit above their capability level. This article is not all gloom and (environmental) doom, though. The author also gives practical advice on identifying whether you’re suffering from eco-anxiety, and what you can do about it. Hint: chocolate makes a mention so get in there!
Ninth in our round-up is another round-up, of people! This article runs you through an impressive list of impressive young people. Greenbiz’s 30 under 30 outlines the aims and achievements of a group of twenty-somethings who are working toward a more sustainable and cleaner world. There are entrepreneurs with their start-ups, as well as managers of environmentally focused sectors of some of the world’s biggest companies. These young people come from all over the world, have big goals and are ‘Goals’, themselves! It’s an inspirational hit-and-run list that shows just how people who set their minds to things end up achieving them!
We all saw Blood Diamond, right? Well, this well-written piece here helps to point you away from such atrocities, and toward ethically sourced and sustainable materials. The article by EcoCult talks conscious consumerism, and how to identify companies that are treating the earth’s resources with respect, and the long game in mind. It also introduces a few ideas about keeping jewelry sustainable, helpfully pointing out that old and vintage jewelry, like the adage about wine, often only get better with age! The pieces are gorgeous and the companies, clean. Win-win!
Focusing heavily on the idea of reuse over recycle, this article from Greenbiz outlines the sensational Loop initiative. What it essentially means is a return to the ‘milkman model’, whereby the company owns the packaging, and the customer simply uses what’s inside. It’s exciting as groups like Tescoes and Carrefour are interested in bringing in this reusable packaging to their stores, and it can only grow from there! The whole philosophy of Loop is that we need to get to the root of the waste crisis and prevent the creation of waste, rather than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff that is recycling. I’m excited to be a part of any initiative that keeps our landfills and oceans from piling up, and this also has the bonus of feeling a little like a return to old-fashioned values.
Another Who’s Who of eco-warriors, this list runs through six outstanding human beings from around the world who are tackling crises on land, below the surface, and in the air. There’s a conservationist and film-maker from India, an NGO founder from Tanzania, and a videographer from USA, among others. Each of these go-getters has developed their own platform from which they are trying to better the planet and how we treat it. They share their concerns for the earth’s future, and their means of drawing attention to their field of expertise’s plight. Liquor bottles littering the sea floor, and the effect of climate change in alpine areas are just two of the topics these crusaders go in for!
Half-way through our countdown is something a bit different… plastic-eating bacteria! This piece from PopSci showcases an interesting take on the plastic crisis: that we will be able to deal with the excess materials through feeding them to plastic-munching bacteria. To molecular biologist Christopher Johnson, plastics are a task to be dealt with clinically, and he believes we can. These bacteria not only break down the controversial substance, but reduce it to a form which can be reconstituted to make things like Kevlar vests or snowboards. It’s all a while away from being commercially viable reality, but it’s interesting to hear one of the theories of where we’re headed in the next decade!
Fast fashion has become a dirty word in recent years, and rightly so. It’s wasteful and drains the resources of a world already under pressure. This easy to navigate piece from Sustainably Chic takes readers through what sustainable fashion is and how to find it. It’s a tricky subject with a lot of different angles to it, so the fact that this article is ‘an easy guide’ makes it all the more appealing! Without talking down, the author clearly outlines what it means to be sustainable in regard to fashion, and how we can be more sustainable in our lives too. There’s a handy glossary of common terms that are thrown around in relation to this topic, and a clear delineation between those that seem similar. What I learnt from this article was all of the different sustainable fabrics I can look for when doing a bit of shopping (when not in thrift stores, that is!).
If you’ve felt a sense of frustration at the seeming inaction of some of our global leaders in response to climate change, you’re not alone. However, there have been some leaps forward made, which is what this piece from Eco Warrior Princess is celebrating. Denmark and New Zealand lead the charge with commitments from their heads of state to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels or to become carbon-neutral by 2050 (also the year plastic is projected to outnumber fish in our oceans by). The list is a heartwarming one, seeing nations take the commitment to looking after mother earth seriously. It also reads like a guidebook for other nations, as to the measures they could also be taking.
The second to last entry tackles a topic that is often quoted, but much misunderstood. Going Zero Waste discusses the idea of a zero waste lifestyle, as well as answering all the questions you might have about the circular economy. Always wonders what it is, and if it’s even feasible? Wonder no more! Author Kathryn talks the reader through these ideas in a friendly, level and easy to understand way, making even the staunchest single-user reconsider how much they really need all those items!
Rounding out our list is a piece by the fantastic Melissa Luna for TofuKitty, on protecting the outdoors and wildlife. Actually one of a two-part series on this topic, the article gives solid advice on how each individual can be part of a better solution for our world. At times inspiring, at times no-nonsense, this write-up gives every reader options that they can realistically apply. Be it at home, or in your dealings with corporations, there is something for everyone to make just that little bit of difference that may make all the difference.
So if you didn’t know, now you know. From ethical jewelry to astounding entrepreneurs, the eco-articles of 2019 were varied, interesting, and educational. If you haven’t already made your way through the list above, choose your favorite-sounding piece and get started. 2020 might be well under-way, but 2019 was definitely a year to remembers.