The following piece originally appeared as “The Bright Side” in the Spring 2022 issue of Tracy Anderson Magazine, available now for digital download and print orders.
Starting your eco-conscious journey can be daunting—especially when there’s a plethora of data telling us the sizable impact every facet of our lives has on the planet and the life living upon it.
That’s why I founded Brightly—to help people like you and me become more conscious about the choices we make and how those choices impact the environment. At Brightly, there’s no judgment; so whether you’re just getting started with eco-conscious living or you’ve already taken steps in a more sustainable direction, we’re all in this together. We value the planet over perfection, meaning we approach the journey to eco-conscious living from a realistic perspective. In other words, what works for some people may not work for others. Thus, embarking on your eco-conscious journey is going to be a unique experience.
For me, it started with curiosity and a lot of waste. Waste produced by both my family and myself: plastic bags, paper towels, the piles of garbage bags sitting at the curb waiting to be picked up. I thought: If I’m creating this much waste, other people must be doing the same. And all our waste has to go somewhere. I didn’t know the details, nor did I make the effort to learn them—until I was ready to make a change.
Before becoming more eco-conscious, I didn’t think twice about what happens to garbage after it’s thrown away. But with my own curiosity, a few Google searches, and a newfound desire to do better, I realized that small behavioral changes—i.e. trading my single-use plastic bags for reusable, silicone bags that have the exact same purpose—add up to a substantial difference. Specifically, a difference in my carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. And it all fell into place because I decided to start small. You can, too.
“With curiosity, dedication, and a willingness to do better, you too can make a difference.”
If you’re ready to become more eco-conscious, be sure to give yourself grace and be patient. We live in a consumer-driven world, and our habits aren’t going to change overnight. However, they can change gradually over time. With curiosity, dedication, and a willingness to do better, you too can make a difference. Here’s how to get started with eco-conscious living.
Starting small can mean something different for everyone. It can be reevaluating your waste, choosing to eat more plant-based foods, or making eco-friendly swaps. Let’s say you start with evaluating the waste you produce. To begin, you eliminate plastic water bottles from your home and use a refillable water bottle. That cuts down the amount of plastic you throw away, but that’s not all. It also tells companies that you, the consumer, value reusable products over single-use plastics, creating a demand for more sustainable products. Starting small has a domino effect that can have a greater impact on your life and on industries.
After evaluating one facet of your lifestyle, start evaluating others. From waste, you can move onto incorporating plant-based meals into your days. And I don’t mean going completely vegan or vegetarian; I mean starting with one meatless meal a week. You can then evaluate overspending and choose to shop more consciously. That means asking yourself whether you really need something before purchasing or whether you’re purchasing something that may go to waste. If you do need something new, support sustainable brands and buy high-quality products that are made to last. Also, look for what you need at secondhand stores. The options for expanding your eco-conscious lifestyle are endless.
Ideally, the most sustainable way to live is to not consume. However, that’s not realistic. When shopping, whether you’re at the grocery store or a department store, check the labels on everything you’re contemplating buying. For instance, a Fair Trade Certified label will tell you the product was made with people and the planet in mind. Buying products with sustainable labels sends a message to companies that consumers are shopping with their values. If you’re not sure which labels to look for, see my next bit of advice.
Stay Curious and Open-Minded
Aside from being mindful and living intentionally, an important point to remember in your journey is to stay curious. To be more eco-conscious, you have to be willing to learn and should be constantly asking questions. Everyone’s journey to sustainability is a learning experience, and education is key. Learning—and understanding—how your actions impact not only your life but also the environment can help you make more educated decisions. Do some research on sustainable labels to look for in stores, or find trustworthy sustainable businesses that do the work for you. Staying informed helps you vote with your dollars, and it can help you expand your journey to sustainability.
My journey hasn’t been perfect—and yours won’t be either. Sustainable living isn’t one-size-fits-all. Rather, it’s an individual experience that changes with the seasons. If you have the same curiosity I did, and you’re ready to make a change, there’s no better time to get on board than now.