It’s been a little bit since my last CL post and that’s solely because I have been BUSY. I’m currently working an additional seasonal job and fighting off a cold which has had me spending any free time mostly just sleeping, but! I haven’t stopped my Sunday cleanup commitment, even in the nasty rain this week. I debated pushing it off to Monday and writing about the rain and a nasty cold keeping me in, but littering doesn’t stop on rainy days and this commitment isn't going to stop either. The garbage doesn’t say “hey, no one wanted to go outside today, let’s just stay right in place until a sunny day brings some friends to clean us up”. In fact, it more so says “hey, rain...wind...cloudy skies, let’s go for a ride to the closest waterway or waterway entry (sewers, drains, river beds). Then, we can get swept up with the rest of the trash and go for a lazy river ride” (Can you imagine how exhausting it is to be in my brain?). Alas, I got out of my sister's cozy car while she went into the store to get soup and got myself into the parking lot.
The thing about doing cleanups is you don’t have to be on a great hike or kayaking down a river to do one. You can be WHEREVER you are at any time of day. I filled an entire GIANT Go Puff bag (which is a topic for another conversation) with trash in under 21 minutes walking up and down just half of a parking lot aisle at Walmart. Could you imagine the amount of trash that could be collected if there were five of us? Ten of us? Now imagine if all ten of us committed to cleaning up for a full hour. Woah. I can. I can imagine it because I know what groups of people can do. When individuals come together with like-minded goals, the unthinkable is possible and the unthinkable occurs.
Sunday, October 27th is the last Sunday of the month. That means, I’ll have been at my Sunday cleanups for 4 weeks. Want to join me for November? Get a head start by joining me this Sunday, wherever you choose to be, and use #consciouslivingcleanup to show me what you do. With the holiday season coming up, people's lives tend to get a bit busier and it seems harder to find little pockets of windows to do cleanups, but my next post is all about the small amounts of time you can find to make a difference. Stay tuned!
If any of you follow me on my personal social media pages, you may have seen that I started a new journey as a Wild Keeper with Keep Nature Wild. I’ve been doing cleanups for quite a while now, both with local communities and solo, and having the opportunity to be a Wild Keeper have given me the opportunity to create a bigger impact by sharing my cleanups with a large community of like minded people. It has also given me a place to record the impact that I’m making.
My plans for October have been to do a cleanup every Sunday, no matter where I am. This past Sunday, I went out in my local neighborhood and because I’ve always considered it to be “clean”, I was quite shocked to see just how quickly the trash bags began to fill. You'd be surprised how much garbage is located just in your "backyard".
Over the last two weeks, I’ve received unexpected messages from 3 people who were inspired to reach out after seeing my posts and it nearly brought me to tears. Seeing that my impact has reached even a single person inspires me to continue what I'm doing and more so, do it more frequently and more publicly.
If you have any interest in joining me for cleanups in Philadelphia, please let me know! I’d love to have you join me. So far this Sunday I've gained one new cleaner and I can't wait to see how it continues to grow. While my schedule is going to be changing quite a bit come November, I intend to continue my weekly cleanups far beyond October as they’ve already began to be therapeutic for me. I hope to get home to Jersey for a few cleanups on the beach during the holiday season. All my Jersey people, stay tuned! I'll see you in the sand. <3
Where have you been finding the most trash in your local community? I'd love to know. Head over to our Facebook page and leave me a comment. Perhaps we can plan a cleanup right there for the future!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed trying to stay up to date with all the plastic-free alternatives out there? This age of social media can often leave us feeling like we're less than if we don't have the next best thing, but usually that "next best thing" is gone just as quickly as it came. Here are a few ways to reduce your plastic use without spending any money:
What are some ways you save $ while going plastic free? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!
I figured it was time to give you a little update on some products that I use everyday, every week, or at the very least, every month. I've made sure to include links to similar products or links to the exact product that I use.
What products do you use on a regular basis? What do you use them for? Are there any single use products that you're looking to replace? Leave me a comment and we can try to find a solution together!
Thank you all for submitting your Fall survey, it has helped tremendously! While I'm working on getting some eco-friendly supplies (from products, to shipping, to the ink used on them, and more!), I want to know a little more of what you like. I've been busy chatting with friends and family members as well as other local businesses for ideas, suggestions, etc.
Please select which design layout you would prefer to see on future CL branded reusable tote bags. The more votes, the more I can custom my products to suit your preferences, so please share with your friends, family, co-workers!
These mockup designs would be printed using water based ink on recycled or 100% organic material with a price range of $15-20 (specific details will be provided once available to you). I have many more ideas to come on future products, designs, and so much more. Thank you in advance for your input, it means the WORLD to me!
PHILLY SHOWED UP!
For those of you unaware of the current climate strike, here's the long story short. Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish activist started the Global Climate Strike in August 2018, skipping school on Fridays to demand action against climate change. One person with a big voice has created a worldwide movement forcing politicians and people of power to wake up and start making change.
I joined Philadelphia's protesters yesterday. Every age, every race, every religion, people of all different backgrounds showed up. While some Philadelphia school districts decided that any students that were not in school this Friday would be marked as an unexcused absence, other districts decided that with a guardians notice, skipping school on Friday would count as an educational trip. The fear of an unexcused absence didn't stop students, teachers, and school employees from showing up though and I don't see that changing.
When children spend their school days on the streets teaching adults about the impact that their actions have on the future, it becomes very clear that our system is broken. Yesterday's global climate strike gave me hope. For any single person who has felt "crazy" for caring, hopeless for caring, or emotionally drained for caring, let yesterday be a reminder that caring creates change.
Have you joined the Global Climate Strike? Let me know on our Facebook page! Share your photos, stories, videos, etc. I would LOVE to see all that you do!
For more information on this week long event, please head to Global Climate Strike.
For those of you that have been interested in hearing about environmental events, meet-ups, and news, this post is for you.
From September 20-27th, millions of people globally will be joining the younger generation of climate strikers that have been walking out of schools for quite some time now every Friday. For the next two Fridays, they are hoping everyone else will finally join them.
Walk outs are being planned all over the world and you can find your closest location here.
For more information about the Global Climate Strike, their supporters, how you can host a strike yourself, and for graphics to share on all of your social media platforms, visit globalclimatestrike.net. The world depends on us, the kids depend on us, we are stronger together and together we truly can make a difference.
See you on Friday!
In working to develop Conscious Living a bit further, it would mean the world to me if you could fill out the survey below to let me know exactly what you hope to get out of the Conscious Living blog and community. Please feel free to share this survey with friends, family, and co-workers. This is just as much for you as it is for me and I want to work together as a team to create a space that we all love.
Thank you in advance!
I'll admit, I've been a little behind on my 30 Day Challenges (see our first two here and here), but have no fear, this month I'm bringing all the caffeine lovers a real tough one: ditching the hot coffee/tea cup.
Single use hot beverage cups are convenient. They're lightweight which wins compared to having to carry around a reusable cup which can be bulky, heavy, and inconvenient for a lot of city walkers. They're cheap which wins for a quick fix compared to buying a reusable cup (though after multiple refills, this is no longer true). And they're recyclable, right? Not exactly...
We may have shied away from the terrible styrofoam cups we used to use (EXCEPT YOU DUNKIN', I'M LOOKING AT YOU!), but don't let the "recyclable paper cup" fool you, they aren't as eco-friendly as they pretend to be. Maybe you're thinking, "They're not as bad as a plastic cup though!" And that's a fair thought. Except one small (and increasingly smaller in size, but more troublesome) problem...most hot beverage containers are lined with polyethelyne.
Polyethylene is a thin plastic added to coat the inside of many liquid containers (milk, water, hot beverages, etc.) to prevent the liquid from leaking or spilling. While many paper products can be recycled at regular recycling facilities, the difficulty lies in separating this plastic liner from the paper cup itself, which often leads to the cup ending up in landfill. When those cups aren't properly recycled, that plastic breaks down into micro-plastics (that's the increasingly smaller in size part) and we know that's problematic.
In addition to the cups being tough to recycle, many paper products aren't made from recycled material. Meaning, these coffee cups are made from NEW paper and have added NEW plastic for the ULTIMATE CUP aka what I like to call a crap cup.
So, grab yourself a reusable coffee mug. Whether it's one you already have, one your roommate has, one from S'well or REI, and bring your own travel mug every day this month. REALLY challenge yourself. Forget one day? Looks like you'll be needing a new way to get your a morning wake up and midday fix!
*Some information from this article was taken from Independent.co.uk.
On Monday morning, after looking up when low tide was (which was a lie, thanks GOOGLE!), my mom and I set out to the beach to hunt for some sea glass. We grabbed some reusable produce bags (perfect for sifting out sand) and headed out. Before we got down to the water, we could tell it was not time for low tide, but figured we might as well take a walk along the ocean since we were already there.
With bags in hand, it was inevitable that our eyes would spot any trash we might see, but we did not expect to see quite as much as we had. From plastic bottle caps to sandwich containers, kids toys to beach/boardwalk wristbands, beer cans to cigarettes (yes, on the beach), and so very many in between, the amount of garbage we found in about a 1.5 mile walk was remarkable. We spent only one hour picking up trash, walking from N Street in Seaside Park to the pier in Seaside Heights and back.
I assumed that most of the garbage we were finding was from the night before. However, approximately one quarter of the garbage shown in the photo above was picked up on our walk back. This meaning garbage was brought in from the ocean and dumped on the sand in under one hour. Imagine how many bags we would have needed if we walked the entirety of Seaside Park.
It's simple to see a straw on the ground below you and not pick it up because it isn't yours. In some cases, people avoid doing this for sanitary reasons, but I tend to believe that most people decide they won't be picking it up before they even think about the sanitary aspect of it.
We didn't find any sea glass on Monday. We thought we had found one piece, but we sorted through the trash at home, we quickly realized that piece of "sea glass" was sadly just another piece of plastic.
Jamie is a musician, avid lover of nature, and a dog momma living a more sustainable life each and every day.