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I hope everyone has spent this Earth week educating themselves and implementing planet-friendly practices in your lives. If you’re anything like me, Earth week and day bring mixed feelings. I love learning new ways to make my life more green, but a week focused on the state of the planet also triggers a little bit of eco-anxiety in me. Eco-anxiety is exactly what it sounds like: constant worry about the state of the planet. So this week, I tried not to overindulge in all the wonderful documentaries and articles discussing the environment, and instead I focused on important changes I could make.

I feel like there’s always a disclaimer that needs to be made when talking about sustainable living. I am fully aware that it is a privilege to be able to invest in and implement sustainable lifestyle choices. I am an able bodied, middle class woman, and I understand that disabled people and people living in poverty cannot make these changes. It is also worthy to note that while it is important to be as eco-conscious as possible, 71% of global emissions come from just 100 corporations, so shaming other people for not living sustainably distracts from the real argument: corporations need to be heavily regulated. That all being said, these are the changes I will be making after this Earth week.

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Menstrual Cups

Starting my next cycle, I am going to be switching to a menstrual cup. I like to think of myself as a pretty low waste person, but that all goes away when it comes to my period. I have always struggled with long, heavy periods, and even with birth control those problems still persist (though to a lesser degree). I feel uneasy about the amount of waste that I generate on my period from pads to liners to tampons to baby wipes. But one menstrual cup lasts an entire 12 hours without changing, and they are reusable for 6 months and up to 10 years with proper sanitation. Overall, even on the most frequent replacement schedule, you’re still generating way less waste than with traditional period products. Quick note: make sure to get a menstrual cup without suction if you have an IUD, like the Nixit.

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Wool Dryer Balls

My family has always used dryer sheets, so when I moved out I also used dryer sheets. Until recently, it did not occur to me that that is a ton of waste being generated every time I do a load of laundry. It may seem like just a small thing, but over time, the amount of dryer sheets my family goes through can be startling. So starting now, I am going to try to switch my family over to wool dryer balls. They take away the static just like a dryer sheet, and they last for up to a year.

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Apartment composting

Definitely my most ambitious goal is to start apartment composting. It is exactly the same as regular composting, just on a smaller scale. This is definitely a personal thing, but nothing makes me feel worse than when I throw away food scraps. I have always wanted to compost, but for some reason I thought I needed a backyard to do it, and the best I can offer is a balcony. The internet has taught me that this is not true. All you need are some earthworms, potting soil, food scraps, and a big plastic container to keep your compost pile in.

That all being said, my life (and nobody’s for that matter) is 100% sustainable. I still use plastic straws, get takeout in disposable containers, and some of my clothes are from Forever 21. But nobody has to do everything, we all just have to do something.

 

Isabella Guerrero

UC Riverside '21

A writer learning as I go.
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