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Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

Happy #EarthDay guys and gals!

The more I tour and travel this earth, the more beautiful oceans, incredible mountains and magnificent creatures I get to see, the more conscience I become of how ALL of us impact this planet. Things we do everyday, things that have become second nature to us, hugely impact earth.

Today is a wonderful reminder that it is OUR job to take care of this beautiful planet we are fortunate to call home.

It's easy to forget that the choices you make everyday directly effect our planet and it's way easier to live life pretending that problems don't exist or that what you're doing really can't be that big of a deal. But the truth is, so many of the small things we do everyday are altering our world negatively. Ignore it all you want, but pollution, climate change, losing species of animals, deforestation, greenhouse gases, human consumption and other environmental issues ARE big problems. These are problems that will continue to build day by day into enormous issues that will be almost impossible to deal with if we don't start chipping away and dealing with them NOW.

Earth Day isn't a day, it's a movement.

Taking care of our earth and all the creatures who inhabit it is important EVERY day. And y'all, it's SO easy to start making small changes in your life that can make a BIG difference in our world.

Wanna start being a part of the solution instead of the problem?
Wanna be someone who helps others and makes this world a better place everyday?

I'm not trying to sound preachy and I don't want anyone to feel like I am telling you what you have to do or that you aren't allowed to have fun and enjoy the resources this earth provides for us or energies that make our lives easier. It's important though that we are aware of our consumption. So, even if only ONE person decides to start using reusable grocery bags or unplugging appliances that aren't being used in their house after reading this, it's worth it.

Also, I am not perfect and I am definitely not the most environmentally conscience person on the planet, by any means. But I'm trying everyday to have more of a positive impact on earth and it's inhabitants. I thought I would share some tips and information that has been useful to me in my efforts to reduce my carbon footprint and put more love out into this world.

Here is some information, a few helpful tips and easy things you can start doing TODAY to start helping yourself and those around you enjoy our planet for years to come. There are way more things you can do aside from this list, obviously. I just wanted to throw a few things out there because I truly believe more people would make a change if they just had a starting point. So I guess that's what this list is, a few starting points, some easy examples of immediate and simple changes you can make.

1. Stop buying so much bottled water.

I get it. Sometimes it's unavoidable to have to purchase/drink bottled water and it's not the WORST thing in the world to purchase a plastic container once in awhile (recycle it afterward though). I play a lot of outdoor fairs and festivals in the summer and sometimes bottled water is the easiest way to get water to all of the bands and people attending. But plastic from bottled water is costing us, and not just the $2.00 spent on something you could have walked to your kitchen to get. Plastic containers for bottled water use HUGE amounts of oil and energy to create and billions (BILLIONS YOU GUYS) of water bottles are wasted each year (not recycled). Here are some small ways you can be a part of changing these numbers for the better.

Get a sweet water bottle dude!

Buying a reusable water bottle and filling it at the tap can save you hundreds of dollars a year. When was the last time you wished you had a couple extra hundred bucks? (for me it was like 2 minutes ago). On top of that, you'll improve your health! By keeping a water bottle with you you'll drink more water. All good things! 

Recycle that bottle homie! 

Traveling, public events, emergency situations and other instances sometimes make having to purchase/drink bottled water unavoidable. Sometimes in situations where the water source has been compromised it's the only safe alternative. If you have a plastic bottle though, recycle it. You'll be helping to cut down the billions of plastic bottles wasted each year. These plastic containers end up in our oceans and lakes hurting wildlife and fill our landfills creating the need for more and more space on earth for garbage. Just choose the recycling bin instead of the garbage next time, it's that easy. :)

Get a sweet water filter man!

First things first, I know the idea of drinking from the tap freaks some people out and some people just don't like the taste of tap water. However, in most cases your tap water is perfectly safe. Unfortunately savvy advertising and false perception has made many folks believe that water from the tap is not as healthy as bottled water. This is just plain false y'all. 

Dr. Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide and a member of the MAYO Clinic Staff reported that,

"Tap water and bottled water are generally comparable in terms of safety. So the choice of tap or bottled is mostly a matter of personal preference." (Mayo Clinic)

If drinking from the tap still stresses you out, there's an easy fix. There are tons of great filters out there and you can easily find one that fits your needs, whether it be one that attaches directly to your faucet or a pitcher that you can fill and keep in your fridge. Some filters are designed more to improve taste while others are more geared toward filtering out contaminates, so you really can find exactly what you're looking for. You don't have to spend huge dollars to filter water from your tap either. For the price that you spend on coffee every week or that monthly magazine subscription you can purchase a great filter. There are plenty of affordable options out there and they WILL save you hundreds of dollars a year vs. the cost of purchasing bottled water.

Below is a helpful link to get you started on finding a water filter that works best for you!

http://www.softwaterlab.com/best-water-filter-pitcher-reviews/

I don't want to just regurgitate a bunch of facts, so please visit this website - BAN THE BOTTLE to learn more and get the facts on bottled water. I think you'd be incredibly surprised to find out how negatively our overuse of bottled water is effecting so many different facets of our lives.

2. Eat Less Meat!

OK, I am a vegetarian, well I'm actually considered a Pescatarian because I still eat fish every once in awhile, but I promise I'm not going to turn this into my soapbox on why you shouldn't eat meat. I chose to be a vegetarian and to also cut out or cut down on other animal based products (milk, eggs, yogurt, cheeses...etc) and use vegan friendly consumer products based on my own personal beliefs and findings about the standard practices of our corporate meat and dairy farming industries and the health risks involved in consuming those products and using those products.

I also just really love animals a lot and the idea of contributing to their suffering or eating them makes me sad.

But that doesn't mean YOU have to be a vegetarian.

By eating less meat though you'll be helping to cut down on greenhouse gases caused by agricultural practices and you'll improve your carbon footprint (and you'll probably even eat more veggies which will improve your health). Whoohoo!

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency reported that, “Reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation.” (Huffington Post)

You could easily start implementing this by simply removing meat from your diet once or twice a week even (remember you can start small, start where you can). Or, save meat eating for special occasions. Eating vegetarian isn't hard and there are some bangin' recipes out there.

Here are some super fun receipts I really like that you can try out. 

1. I. Love.Tacos. I love mexican food. Here are some incredibly tasty vegetarian taco recipes.
2. Pasta! Here are some awesome recipes. Gluten-free? No worries, me too! I've made a few of these with gluten-free noodles or substituted quinoa for the noodles and it was super good.
3. Sandwiches...who doesn't love a good sandwich? Again, these are just as awesome with gluten-free bread for all your gluten-free folks.
These are just a few ideas...google "vegetarian recipes" and you'll find a TON more. And by the way, cutting down your meals with meat will afford you the opportunity to make more quality meat choices. You'll save a few dollars not including meat with every meal so that when you do eat meat you can consciously purchase meat that is raised humanly and hopefully even locally.

3. Walk/Bike More.

Can you walk or bike to your job or to run our errands? Give it a whirl. You'll be helping cut down on pollution AND getting exercise. Annnnd bonus, it's fun! Look attchu go!

If walking or biking is impossible for you, you can always try carpooling and/or public transportation. Just doing these things even a couple times a week makes a huge difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Turn Off Lights.

Obviously turning off lights saves energy. We all know this. Unplugging devices helps too! We get so used to being constantly stimulated that sometimes we have devices on that don't need to be running. I find myself guilty of this from time to time. Something that has helped me has just been being more conscience about how much I am using my devices. I don't have a TV anymore, but I watch Netflix and Hulu on my iPad and laptop sometimes. I started asking myself, "Kari, are you really watching that show right now or do you just like having the background noise?" I found often I was barely paying attention to what was on the screen. I was just used to having it on.

Limiting the noise has actually been great for my creativity and worth ethic too. That bit of background noise is more distracting than I like to admit. I find I'm way better off without it.

Laptops and iPads don't need to be constantly charging either. If it's charged, unplug it. :)

5. RECYCLE!

Guys, recycling is so easy. I know it seems like a lot of work, but it's not and there are absolutely no reasons why more people shouldn't be recycling. I know some counties make it easier than others (not charging for a recycling bin as opposed to charging for one...etc.) but that shouldn't stop you. There are plenty of recycling plants you can take your recyclable items to. I gather mine in a few paper bags in my garage and then make a trip to the recycling center every other week or so. It takes very little effort. :)

iRecycle is an awesome app you can have right on your phone that helps you locate recycling centers near you, lets you know if your item is recyclable and tells you where you can take certain items to be recycled (things like batteries, electronics, different metals, hazardous materials, automotive parts...etc.).

Recycling benefits everyone. You'll be helping our air, beaches, lakes and oceans stay cleaner. You'll be helping our animal friends live healthier and safer lives and you'll be helping yourself and others by providing the opportunity to enjoy this planet and all of it's wonders for a long time to come. Doesn't that sound nice? :)

Reducing and reusing is so important too. Humans place huge demands on our earth's natural resources and those demands are getting greater all the time. Can you switch to using reusable grocery bags? Can you wash your car less or donate clothes/towels/furniture to a shelter in your area rather than throwing them away? Just a couple of ideas!

6. Educate Yourself!

Learn about the world you live in. Learn about how the way you're living affects the world and all of the creatures who share it with you. Read a book. Google it. Just educate yourself. I have to believe that if more people knew the facts and had access to information, more people would make an effort to better our planet.

Start somewhere, start small even, just START.

I love being able to walk around barefoot outside, lay in the sun, sit on mountain cliffs, breath clean air, jump into clean lakes, hike the trails in Tennessee and visit the beaches in Michigan. It makes me sad to think about a time when these things might not be possible. So let's make sure these things are always possible, for ourselves and for future generations. Let's all do small things everyday to better our planet and contribute to more happiness in this world. Sound good?

Have a good day! (and go outside and enjoy this pretty planet and how absolutely amazing it is to be alive, ok?) :)

Thanks for reading guys.

Nothin' but love



xo - Kari