STOP SUCKING!

STOP SUCKING!

Stop mindlessly using single-use plastics already! Seriously, it's driving me insane. According to a report by the WEF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, "There could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050." This is a worldwide problem. With serious consequences being felt now, lasting last far into the future, we can no longer afford to let our society's plastic-use go unchecked.

We're in 2017 with great affordable alternatives, yet plastic consumption continues to grow. And it's growing fast. “Global plastic production has increased from 2 to 380 metric tons (Mt) annually from 1950 to 2015.” This according to a recent global study by Roland Geyer published in Science Advances. And "half of the total plastics manufactured during this period (3900 Mt), was produced in just the past 13 years.” Our ever-growing addiction to plastic is causing a massive shift in our ocean and terrestrial ecologies but is being widely ignored for convenience and societal norms. Not only is it being ignored, but oftentimes being sold to us as the best way to consume.

Throwaway-plastic use is even being glorified and promoted in modern, celebrity/influencer culture. Many Instagram stars and celebrities take food photos and post shots of themselves with plastic coffee cups, straws, and other forms of single-use plastics on a regular basis. When I see a picture like this, not only am I completely baffled, but I want to cry. These images are the most lucrative form of advertisement in our social-media driven world. People of all ages look to them for inspiration for how to live and behave. So why are there so many plastics being promoted in these shots? Mindless plastic consumption isn't glamorous. On the contrary, it's burying our planet alive and suffocating the Earth's creatures. Big and small.

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7 TIPS TO SUSTAINABLY FURNISH YOUR SPACE

When I moved into my new apartment two years ago, I was determined to fill it with sustainable furniture and decorations. I had sublet my three previous NYC apartments so that I could travel, and they all came pre-furnished. I didn't own anything other than a couple of suitcases, lots of books, and lots of clothes. I needed a bed, bookshelves, and a desk for my room. I also needed bedding, a mattress, curtains, and lighting. I share my apartment with a roommate, so my priority was my bedroom. In my next apartment, however, I look forward to furnishing every room sustainably. Check out my tips below for furnishing your small space sustainably, and see my bedroom too!

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1. MEASURE YOUR ROOM'S DIMENSIONS

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Measuring may not seem like a tip for sustainability, but it's actually quite important. If you buy things without knowing how they will fit in the space, you are more likely to be disappointed by how your room looks and feels, and therefore create more waste if you have to replace them. Measure each wall's length, to determine where furniture can be placed. Also measure the height of your ceilings, doorways, and any windows your room may have. Make a simple drawing of your room's floor plan, and write down each measurement as you go.

You can use this to reference when you're searching for each piece of furniture. What piece do you want where? How much room will they have on each wall? How much free space to walk will be left around each piece after you bring them in?

2. MAKE A FURNITURE LIST & PLAN LAYOUT

mock room setup

List your must-have pieces first. What do you have to have right away and what can wait? My must-haves were my bed frame and mattress, bedding, hangers, and curtains. My next priorities were a bookshelf, desk, and a mirror. The least pressing items were decorations such as paintings, plants, rugs, and lamps. Knowing exactly what you need allows you to avoid impulse buys that often end up in a landfill later. 

Leave room next to each item on your list. You will want to right down the measurements of each possible furniture purchase you find and reference that with the floor plan you measured earlier before you buy them. Does the bed you love have enough room? How much room does that leave for the dresser you found to go with it? 

 

4. MIX OLD AND NEW MATERIALS

Vintage Table Legs for Desk Top

My room has a mix of newly made pieces along with used ones, as I couldn't find everything new that I needed sustainably made, at a price point I wanted to spend. What does your budget allow? Invest in sustainably made, new pieces that you want to keep for decades if you have the money and desire to do so. You can also find amazing refurbished and used furniture in vintage stores or on websites like Craigslist and Ebay.

I decided to invest in my bed and bedding, and be more creative with the rest of my budget by searching for a secondhand desk and shelving. I found amazing steel table-legs for the base of a desk, similar to the one shown here, at a flea market in Williamsburg. Later I was able to find a wooden desktop at Big Reuse Brooklyn that fits perfectly on top. Mixing old and new things is fun and a wonderful opportunity to be creative.

5. LOOK FOR MULTI PURPOSE PIECES

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If you want to make the most of your small space, invest in furniture that has more than one function. Choose pieces with unexpected storage compartments and space-saving extensions. I got my sustainable bed frame from Urban Green Furniture. They are based in Brooklyn and build beautiful, modern furniture that is sustainable and built to last. I was able to save valuable space, that would have been taken up by a dresser, with its built-in drawers underneath. 

 

6. THINK ABOUT YOUR NEXT MOVE

Pieces need to last a long time in order be categorized as sustainable, and not just made from organic materials. Because of this, I made my furniture choices based on their versatility and ability to transition with me into new spaces. I purchased Elfa shelving brackets, so that I could move them and change the layout of my shelves depending upon the spaces I may occupy in the future.  I also loved the Elfa system because you can choose your own shelves for them. Mine are made from reclaimed wood also from Big Reuse Brooklyn! Versatility is essential to sustainability, and in a small space transformable systems are key.

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7. DECORATE WITH ORGANIC FABRICS AND LOW-WATER PLANTS

organic fabric pillows

Shop for plants at your local farmers market, and ask for plants that require less water if possible. I have chosen a variety of succulents for my room, including 3 cacti species and a Yucca tree, because they require very little water and a hardy. The less resources required to keep a plant alive, the better!

I purchased my organic cotton duvet from West Elm, my sheets from Ettitude, my natural hemp curtains from Rawganique, and my mattress from Keetsa. There are so many fantastic sustainable bedding options, so I encourage you to shop around and go with whatever your budget and location will allow for.

MY CLEAN BEAUTY ROUTINE

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       I have been getting lots of inquiries lately about my skin care routine, and what clean beauty products I use. As flattering as it is to hear, "You have beautiful skin.", I can't stress enough that, I too, have had more than a few years of trial-and-error perfecting my skincare practice. Every skin type is different. Every person's skin is different. I have combination, dry and oily skin that is sensitive to harsh chemicals, and dark circles under my eyes that never go away. I firmly believe that plant-based nutrition, staying hydrated, exercise, and adequate sleep are far more important than any topical treatment will ever be at giving someone good skin. Products are often expensive, and it's wasteful to buy something that doesn't work only to throw it away. But I also really love enhancing my natural beauty with a little bit of makeup and know that cleaning and moisturizing are also essential to maintaining radiant, healthy skin.  

       I have tested and used all of these products for the past year, and know they are good investments. They all last for at least a few months if not longer, are cruelty-free, non-toxic, and are easy to purchase online or in a local store. I hope this list is useful to you, and that you can find some items that also work for you. Let me know, in the comments below, if you want to learn more or if you have any other thoughts on clean beauty routines! Here is my daily skincare routine, and the best products I've found for my skin type:


Face Wash Powder

Day and night. Apply a quarter-sized amount of powder into the palm of your hand. With your other hand, run water over your fingers, and allow a few drops of water drop onto the powder. I only use enough water to make a paste. Too much water added can make this difficult to apply. Massage gently on your face and neck, then rinse. Avoid rubbing vigorously and be very gentle around your eyes. Optionally, you can leave this on your face for 10 minutes as a mask. 

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Facial Moisturizer

Day and night. In the mornings I combine a quarter-sized dollop of this with my bronzing tint shown below. Rub between the palms of your hands, and gently apply in small, circular motions on your face and neck. At night time I do the same application, minus the bronzing tint. This lotion is not oily, but still wonderfully moisturizing. Ideal for sensitive skin.

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Renewing Night Conditioner

Night time only. One month treatment, 3 times a year. Applied before moisturizer after washed face. Open dropper and squeeze just enough drops as one hand can hold in its palm, without dripping out. For me it's usually about a nickel's size. This has the same consistency as water, so be careful not to waste it. Use your other hand's ring finger to dip in the conditioner, and apply it on the face... then neck. Repeat until dropper is empty. Follow with moisturizer above. I really love this product as it makes my face look healthier, my pores smaller, and my skin more supple.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


Bronzing Tint

Used daily with morning moisturizer. Apply 1-3 squirts with lotion listed above, depending on how dark you want the tint to be. Blend thoroughly with a dollop of moisturizer, and then apply all over face and neck. Play around with how much you add of this to your moisturizer. Start with less, blend with lotion, and if the color is still really white, add more. If the lotion looks too dark, you probably added too much. A little goes a long way! 

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Under-eye Concealer

Used when makeup worn. For covering dark, under-eye circles and other blemishes that may occur. Squeeze a pinhead-sized drop onto index finger and hold on under-eye area for a couple of seconds to help it warm. Then lightly blot with same finger to cover purple under-eye circles. Use lightest pressure possible to blot and blend. Use same technique for blemishes. I use the "light" shade.

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Brow Pencil

Used when makeup worn.  sharpen pencil every week, to get best application. Start by nose and work your way out, using light upward strokes that match the grain on your eyebrow hair. This stuff lasts all day, but is easily wiped off with your finger if you color our side of the lines. Use opposite brush end to comb brows and blend. I use the "flax" shade.

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Bronzing Stick

Used when makeup worn. Suck in cheeks to make cheekbones more visible. Apply a line of bronzing stick, starting in line with the center of your eye, and draw to hairline. Blend with ring finger down and evenly. This makes cheeks look naturally bronzed. Apply elsewhere on face depending on your face shape. I love my jawline, so also use same technique along jawline close to ears. I don't use under my chin. In the winter, I also use alone hairline to give a sunkissed look. Always blend thoroughly. More is easily added on top of the old.

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Contour/ Highlight Duo

Used when makeup worn.  I like this as a more natural-looking eye pallet, to contour eye crease and highlight eye lids. Use small makeup brush, or finger tip, to apply darker shade in creases of the eyes. Blend outward and don't apply close to eyebrow. Use same brush, or fingertip, to apply highlighter on eyelid. These can also be used as a highlighter on cheekbones, and a contour along cheekbones/ jawline/ hairline as described with bronzing stick above. I use a finger and not a brush for this. Blending again is key for a subtle enhancement. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


Mascara

Used when makeup worn. Do NOT repeatedly dip wand in and out of tube, as this makes your product dry out faster. This will last you for at least 3 months if you don't allow it to dry out. Simply shake the tube when closed to get more mascara on wand, then open. Apply with wand in light, upward strokes. I only apply it to my upper lashes, but it may also be applied on lower lashes as well. Use light, downward strokes when applying on lower lashes. If one coat isn't enough, repeat until satisfied.  This mascara isn't waterproof, so it can be easily removed and doesn't cause lashes to break. It also doesn't smear throughout the day unless you cry or go underwater. I use the "pro black" color.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


This look achieved using products and techniques above.

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     I hope you enjoyed this look into my clean beauty routine, and that I've demonstrated how simple making a mindful makeup switch can be. What does your clean beauty routine consists of? What are your favorite products? Let me know, in the comments below, if you have any questions or thoughts about this post. 


THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES TO WATCH NOW (2017)

     Ranging from climate change and environmental issues; diets and health; social justice and inequality; and spirituality; I hope you enjoy my selection of the top documentaries to watch in 2017.


13TH

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"An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality."

"The film begins with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world's population. "13th" charts the explosive growth in America's prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. The documentary touches on chattel slavery; D. W. Griffith's film "The Birth of a Nation"; Emmett Till; the civil rights movement; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Richard M. Nixon; and Ronald Reagan's declaration of the war on drugs and much more." - Ulf Kjell Gür

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BEFORE THE FLOOD

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"If you could know the truth about the threat of climate change — would you want to know? Before the Flood, features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand.

Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet. Beyond the steps we can take as individuals, the film urges viewers to push their elected officials in supporting the use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power." -Before the Flood

“This documentary shows how interconnected the fate of all humanity is — but also the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet.” -Leonardo DiCaprio

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CHASING CORAL

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 An eyeopening look at the devastation that climate change is having on our oceans due to ocean acidification. "Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world."- Chasing Coral.com

"Whether you have spent vacation time snorkeling, watched the National Geographic channel, or even paid a bit of attention during high school science class, you likely have some level of understanding of what a vital ecosystem coral reefs are to Ocean life. Director Jeff Orlowski has a track record of important environmental documentaries with his 2012 Chasing Ice. The film does an excellent job of defining and explaining the importance of coral, and once Zach Rago is introduced, the energy and passion jump significantly. " -Imbd.com

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A PLASTIC OCEAN

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"A Plastic Ocean begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be a pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary, Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect." -Imbd.com

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REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM

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"Requiem For The American Dream is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, on the defining characteristic of our time - the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality - tracing a half century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority - while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation.

Profoundly personal and thought provoking, Chomsky provides penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time - the death of the middle class, and swan song of functioning democracy. A potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed, REQUIEM is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future." -Imbd.com

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RIVER BLUE

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"Following international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, River Blue spans the globe to infiltrate one of the world’s most pollutive industries, fashion. Narrated by clean water supporter Jason Priestley, this groundbreaking documentary examines the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future.

Through harsh chemical manufacturing processes and the irresponsible disposal of toxic chemical waste, one of our favorite iconic products has destroyed rivers and impacted the lives of people who count on these waterways for their survival. River Blue brings awareness to the destruction of a some of the world’s most vital rivers through the manufacturing of our clothing, but will also act as a demand for significant change in the textile industry from the top fashion brands that can make a difference. " - RiverBlue.com

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THE SPACE IN BETWEEN

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"Marina Abramovic travels through Brazil, in search of personal healing and artistic inspiration, experiencing sacred rituals and revealing, for the first time, her creative process. The route is comprised of poignant encounters with healers and sages from the Brazilian countryside, exploring the limits between art, immateriality and consciousness.

This external trip triggers in Marina a profound introspective journey through memories, pains and past experiences. A mixture between road movie, direct cinema, recorded performances and spiritual thriller, the documentary brings an unprecedented approach of the intimate creative process of one of the most important artists of our time." - Casa Redonda

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TERRA

 Terra is a thought provoking and visually stunning documentary about Earth. It is "an ode to humanity" and a spectacular portrayal of the beauty of life. It also brings to light the struggles that we face as we stray further and further from the natural. Watching it evokes a visceral sense awe and gives pause for reflection on the interconnectedness of us all.

"Over barely 10,000 years, life on Earth has been profoundly affected by the incredible development of humanity. But mankind is now increasingly isolated. How have our relations with other living beings changed so much? What do we still see, or notice, of the living world around us? Terra is a journey through the history of life forms, a quest for true humanity. By proposing that we once again treat wildlife with the respect it deserves, Terra shows its credentials as a humanist and deliberately positive film, openly advocating that humanity is still capable of 'getting back to basics'.” -Terra.com

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UNLOCKING THE CAGE

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"Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After thirty years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections.

Supported by affidavits from primatologists around the world, Steve maintains that, based on scientific evidence, cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse.  Using writs of habeas corpus (historically used to free humans from unlawful imprisonment), Wise argues on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.

Unlocking the Cage captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve’s impassioned arguments. It is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man’s lifelong quest to protect 'nonhuman' animals."
-UnlockingTheCage.com

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WHAT THE HEALTH

"What the Health is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases – and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it. With heart disease and cancer the leading causes of death in America, and diabetes at an all-time high, the film reveals possibly the largest health cover-up of our time. With the help of medical doctors, researchers, and consumer advocates, What the Health exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick.

What The Health is a surprising, and at times hilarious, investigative documentary that will be an eye-opener for everyone concerned about our nation’s health and how big business influences it." -WTHFILM.com

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      I hope you are as moved by these documentaries as I have been. Do you have a recent documentary favorite that you think should be added to the list? Let me know in the comments below, and as always thanks for reading.

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Renee Peters

Renee Peters is a NYC-based model, blogger, and advocate of mindful, sustainable living. She strives to be a role model by using her platform for positive change. Through her blog, Model4GreenLiving, Peters seeks to reshape the way people think about environmental issues and provide practical tips and everyday actions for readers.  Peters uses social media to promote that same message, as well as one of self-love and body-positivity. She also volunteers, is an environmental activist, and is an avid learner of anything relating to the planet and its health. For booking inquires visit Muse Models NYC or Nomad Management Miami.

WHY GIVING UP “FAST FASHION” IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I'VE DONE

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     Staying relevant in the fashion industry, while maintaining my ethics, was something that I grappled with a lot. As issues of sustainability and ethics became more important in my life, I began to question if “staying relevant” was really an issue at all. Was this just an insecurity that I developed after 15 years of advertising telling me I wasn’t good enough if I didn’t have the latest trend? I realized the questions I was having were actually masking an even deeper truth. I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion. 

"I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion."

     Beginning as a teenager, as most of us deal with issues of identity, I questioned who I was and how I wanted to present that person to the world. One year I felt goth and the next year hippie. As fast as I could throw out one identity (and the clothes that went along with it), I was replacing it with a new one. Stores like Hot Topic, Wet Seal, and Forever 21 provided trendy clothes at dirt cheap prices, and fueled my search with lots of wear and waste. Although I am thankful for these years of exploration, they lasted way too long, and far beyond my years of teenage angst.

     Throughout college, and into my career as a model, this confusion didn’t go away. With newer, more trendy stores like H&M and Zara, I never wanted to stop and think about my own personal style… the one that reflected who I am deep inside. I wanted to keep up with the trends and remained prey to the constant “Hot and Not” lists that advertisers and fast fashion CEOs count on. It wasn’t until graduating college, going vegan, and investigating the vast environmental issues facing us, that I started to even question who made my clothes. 

     A film premiere in New York of the documentary called True Cost was the catalyst for my journey. Released after the Rana Plaza disaster on April 24, 2013, it highlights the astonishing inequality that garment workers are subjected to across the globe. It shows the horror of the 1,134 people who were killed and the over 2,500 that were injured in Dhaka, Bangladesh when the complex collapsed. Despite earning my degree in Biology, the massive affect of the clothing we wear on the environment hadn't occurred to me. True Cost demonstrates how and why the fashion industry is one of the largest polluter on Earth, perhaps less damaging than the oil industry alone.** Fast fashion being the main culprit. This film was not only an eye-opener but it also marked a huge turning point in my life.

     I knew something had to change and that my mindless consumption of fast fashion had to stop. My true identity, no longer a question of outward appearance but something deep within, was finally able to take shape. Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am. My clothing also needed to last, which meant I had to be comfortable with that identity for a long period of time.

     For the first time I was forced to really ask myself, "Who am I?" and "How will I present this person to the World?". Although it was difficult at first, with practice and time I have been able to curate a wardrobe I feel confident in wearing over and over again. I have pieces that are sustainable and ethically made that all fit together. I have formed a unique capsule collection of clothing that confidently reflects my true self. 

"Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am."

     I now know that the clothing choices I make have a huge impact. “80 billion pieces of clothing are bought each year, and on average we only wear 20% of the clothes in our closet. The average American also throws away 82 pounds of textiles each year, adding to 11 million tons of textile waste in the U.S. alone." Giving up fast fashion therefore reduces huge amounts of toxic waste in landfills. Without much effort on the part of consumers, buying less and choosing well, also reduces the degradation of Earth’s waterways and ecosystems.

     Climate change is real. We are using up the Earth’s resources at a rate that compares to no other time in history. In order to sustain life in the way that humans are living now, we would need SEVEN planet Earths. The little things that we, as individuals, do everyday all add up to combat climate change. Ask the question, “Who made my Clothes?”, and stop supporting brands that exploit their labor. Investigate the environmental affects that our clothing has. Fashion Revolution and one of my favorite brands, Zady, both have vast amounts of information on their websites available for free. If you haven't seen the movie, True Cost is available for viewing via their website, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. I cannot recommend it enough.

     Giving up fast fashion has not only been an inspiring and fun journey for me with my clothes, but also helped me find confidence in how I present myself to the world. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that all add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint. Not only will you be supporting our fellow humans and the planet, but you may even find out more about yourself. 

-Renee Peters


Want to get involved?

“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect. Human beings working at the bottom of any supply chain are often treated like slaves, without reference to our common humanity. So ‘fashion’ – i.e. what we wear every single day, has huge relevance and huge consequences on human, social and environmental capital.”     - Liva Firth, Eco Age
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***2018 UPDATE: A report conducted by Quantis and Climate Works, released in February of 2018, now shows that, "Combined, the global apparel and footwear industries account for an estimated 8% of the world ́s greenhouse gas emissions." Read the full report here --> Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study

 

A SUSTAINABLE CLEANING ROUTINE JUST IN TIME FOR SPRING

     The first months of the year are usually slower than the rest, and winter hibernation can encourage an accumulation of stagnant energy. Spring is the season of renewal and manifestation, so having a clean living space allows fresh energy to come into your life. This month's coming of Spring provides a perfect opportunity to clear the clutter from the past year and open your life to the new. With the help of Conscious by Chloé, you can do your cleaning without the use harsh chemicals or expensive cleaners.

See below for Chloé's DIY and natural cleaning solutions:

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Chloé Lepeltier is a French globetrotter now based in Portland, Oregon. Her passions span multiple disciplines — from feminist literature to sustainable fashion to backcountry snowboarding — with curiosity & creativity as the common thread. On her blog, Conscious by Chloé, she chronicles her daily style, travels and life and aims to inspire and motivate her readers to live a simpler, greener and happier life. Check out the original article here.

 

Set reasonable goals

A deep cleaning is a very big task, so instead of diving into it and spending a whole week-end scrubbing and vacuuming, try to spread it over a whole week, focusing on only one area a day.

Whether it's scrubbing an oven or writing a school paper, setting an attainable goal is a good motivation, and an encouragement to keep going. One good example, is cleaning a very dirty stove. Decide from the beginning that you'll allow yourself to stop after you've scrubbed the first burner. Once you've finished this task, your mission will be accomplished. If you feel like to can do more than one, good for you. Otherwise, pick up where you've left off the next day. What's important is for you to know that if you stopped at the first one, you've reached your goal. Motivation is key and you'll quickly get to a spotless stove, one burner at a time.

Gather your supplies

Another important factor is to make sure that you have everything you need for when you'll decide to tackle this major project. To me, there's nothing more frustrating than realizing that I'm missing one key ingredient for a recipe or, like it happened for this photoshoot, realizing that 2 of my measuring spoons were missing (I should have left them hooked to that ring!).

I like to keep a shopping list on Wunderlist, adding tools, ingredients and other supplies for DIYs so that when I'm at the co-op, the home improvement store or second-hand shop, I can grab what I need without having to go back to the recipe or Youtube video.

Once you've prepared your cleaning mixtures, put them all in one location, so you can conveniently grab them in the room you're gonna be cleaning (use a tote bag, a bucket or a basket, whatever is convenient/eye-pleasing to you).

Schedule your cleaning time

And last but not least, schedule your cleaning time. Whether it's a deep-cleaning session or routine cleaning and, more importantly, if you share this task with a partner or housemates, knowing that a special date or time in the week or month is dedicated to this task makes the decision-making way easier. No arguing, no convincing, no debating, it's in the calendar so that's when it should be done!

Chloe's personal schedule:

  • Monday - Bedroom
  • Tuesday - Bathroom
  • Wednesday - Mudroom/Pantry
  • Thursday - Kitchen
  • Friday - Living Room
  • Saturday - Office

I try to keep the same schedule for weekly maintenance cleaning but mostly rely on our common bimonthly cleaning session, scheduled on Wednesdays, every other week (I'll talk about conscious cohabitation in an upcoming article).

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Supplies

  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Cheap vodka
  • Distilled water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Essential oils (sweet orange, lemon or lemongrass, grapefruit, peppermint)
  • Kosher salt
  • Liquid castile soap
  • Powdered oxygen bleach
  • Washing soda

I had most of these ingredients at home, except for the powdered oxygen bleach and granulated citric acid which I easily found in bulk at the coop.

Tools

  • 16oz spray bottles
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Parmesan shakers

You can use bottles that you already have at home and just get trigger sprayers that will fit and drill holes in the lid of Mason jars to turn them into shakers.

Tips

Work top to bottom, don't backtrack, and clean by circling the room:

  • 1st loop: Tidy the room and pick up what goes in the trash and items that belong in another room
  • 2nd loop: Dust
  • 3rd loop: Clean and wipe surfaces and glass with the relevant cleaners

Lastly: vacuum, sweep and mop toward the door. Finally, put away the misplaced items and your cleaning supplies


2 Comments

Renee Peters

Renee Peters is a NYC-based model, blogger, and advocate of mindful, sustainable living. She strives to be a role model by using her platform for positive change. Through her blog, Model4GreenLiving, Peters seeks to reshape the way people think about environmental issues and provide practical tips and everyday actions for readers.  Peters uses social media to promote that same message, as well as one of self-love and body-positivity. She also volunteers, is an environmental activist, and is an avid learner of anything relating to the planet and its health. For booking inquires visit Muse Models NYC or Nomad Management Miami.

THE BEST ENVIRONMENTAL CHARITIES TO GIVE TO NOW

From Left to RIght : PLASTICS POLLUTION, PALM OIL FARMS CAUSING RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION, mass OVERFISHING leading to ocean SPECIES' EXTINCTION, METHANE POLLUTION FROM INDUSTRIAL CATTLE PRODUCTION, THE CLEAR CUTTING OF FORESTS, AND CORAL BLEACHING DUE TO WARMING SEAS.

From Left to RIght: PLASTICS POLLUTION, PALM OIL FARMS CAUSING RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION, mass OVERFISHING leading to ocean SPECIES' EXTINCTION, METHANE POLLUTION FROM INDUSTRIAL CATTLE PRODUCTION, THE CLEAR CUTTING OF FORESTS, AND CORAL BLEACHING DUE TO WARMING SEAS.

     As an animal lover and environmentalist, I cannot think of a more pressing time to give back to charities fighting to preserve the natural world. According to the WWF’s 2016 Living Planet Report, “Populations of vertebrate animals—such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. We’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species too: on average, there’s been a whopping 81% decline in that time period.” The mass extinction occurring on Earth cannot be reversed with more climate change denial and corporate lobbying in the White House. 

From plastics pollution, palm oil farming causing rainforest habitat destruction, mass overfishing, species extinction, methane and water pollution from industrial cattle production, the clear cutting of forests, and coral bleaching due to warming seas, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Donating to charities fighting against big oil, wall street, and other corporate interests is an easy and positive step in the right direction.

     Organizations standing up for nature need our help, now more than ever, if we are to keep the planet's continued destruction at bay. I have listed the top environmental charities to give to now. All of the charities listed below have proven track records in environmental protection, conservation, and habitat restoration. Each is also transparent with their research expenses and funding, and spends 80% or more of the charity’s total expenses on the programs and services it delivers. Donations made to any one of these organizations can help ensure that the wildlife and ecosystems of planet Earth are protected for us and the future generations to come.


350.org

350.org logo

     "350 is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice."

     "Climate change isn’t a distant, abstract problem — it’s here, today. People all over the world are feeling the impacts, from island nations that are going underwater, to indigenous land being exploited for fossil fuel extraction. The fight against climate change is a fight for justice. That means listening to the communities who are getting hit the hardest, and following the leadership of those who are on the frontlines of the crisis."

     Visit 350.org to find out more information and about how you can get involved.

350.org climate march cop22

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Biological Diversity Logo

     “At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. We want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive."

     Visit The Center for Biological Diversity to learn more or check out the video below.


Conservation International

Conservation International Logo

     On a global level, Conservation International is doing great work to protect our planet. “Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, they empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.”

     “For more than 25 years, Conservation International has been protecting nature for the benefit of everyone on Earth. Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature. Our food, our water, our health, our jobs — they all rely on the health of the planet’s ecosystems. Conservation International works at every level, from remote villages to the offices of presidents and CEOs, to find these solutions. Our work is moving entire societies toward a healthier, more sustainable development path — so that we don’t use up today what we’re going to need tomorrow.” 

     Visit Conservation.org for more info or check out the video below. 


EarthJustice

Earthjustice Logo

     "Earthjustice is a public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities. Earthjustice uses federal and state environmental laws to protect the environment by taking government agencies to court for failing to enforce our nation's environmental laws, and corporations for breaking them. Earthjustice does this work on behalf of hundreds of community and environmental groups, providing legal services free of charge. True and lasting change happens when the power of the law is on your side. That is why the earth needs a good lawyer." 

     Visit Earthjustice for more information or check out the video below, featuring the true story of a town who "discovered strength in unity and turned the tables on the powerful oil & gas industry."


Greenpeace Fund

      "Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future."

     "A group of thoughtful, committed citizens came together in 1971 to create Greenpeace. That was more than 30 years ago, and in that time, Greenpeace has indeed changed the world. And we continue to make the world a better place. Our committed activists and supporters have come together to ban commercial whaling, convince the world’s leaders to stop nuclear testing, protect Antarctica, and so much more." 

     Visit Greenpeace for more information on how they are are protecting the environment, and how you can support their cause.

Greenpeace ocean activism by Denis Sinyakov

Natural Resource Defense Council

NRDC logo

     "NRDC works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. We combine the power of more than two million members and online activists with the expertise of some 500 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild. NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Today's leadership team and board of trustees makes sure the organization continues to work to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities."

     Visit NRDC for more information and check out the video below, explaining ocean acidification due to global warming and how NRDC is working to combat it.


Oceana

Oceana Logo

"Oceana was established in 2001 to fill the gap of missing resources spent by environmental nonprofit groups in the United States going towards ocean advocacy. Oceana is an international organization focused solely on oceans, dedicated to achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals. Since its founding, Oceana has won more than 100 victories and protected more than one million square miles of ocean. Find out more about how Oceana is helping to save the oceans victory by victory here."

     Visit Oceana to find out more information, and watch the video below.


Rainforest Action Network

Rainforest Action Network logo

     "Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action. RAN envisions a world where each generation sustains increasingly healthy forests, where the rights of all communities are respected, and where corporate profits never come at the expense of people or the planet."

     "We are committed to doing what is necessary, not only what is considered politically feasible, to preserve rainforests, protect the climate, and uphold human rights. We are committed to working with Indigenous communities and frontline communities directly impacted by profit-driven systems of injustice. We support the leadership of these communities in working on strategic and effective solutions to protect people and the planet. We honor the intrinsic value of biodiversity and wildness. We recognize our interdependence with healthy natural systems and seek to maintain the integrity, richness and abundance of life in all its forms. We support Traditional and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including the right to sovereignty, self-determination, reparations and the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) regarding decisions implicating customary rights on traditional lands. We believe creativity, integrity and people power drive the success in our campaigns and in our organization; while compassion, irreverence, and a celebration of life’s possibilities drive the commitment to our mission."

     Visit Rainforest Action Network to find out more and to donate to their cause. Also watch the video below to see their work fighting against the devastation of the  Palm Oil Industry.


Wildaid

Wildaid logo

     "WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. We envision a world where people no longer buy wildlife products such as shark fin, elephant ivory and rhino horn."

     "While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products by persuading consumers and strengthening enforcement. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and global network of media partners, WildAid leverages nearly $200 million in annual pro-bono media support. Our message reaches up to 1 billion people every week. WildAid's strategy for achieving this goal is to reduce demand for these products using our slogan: "When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too."

Visit the WILDAID website to learn more and watch the video below to see what their work looks like.


Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature. Our food, our water, our health, our jobs — they all rely on the health of the planet’s ecosystems. But we’re taking more from nature than nature can give. We can end this crisis. But we need big ideas and even bigger solutions. -conservation.org


     No matter who you decide to give to, giving back benefits us all. I encourage you all to find an organization that aligns with your ideals, and give back in any way you can. Visit CharityNavigator.org to find out more information and determine which charities are best for you.