It’s earth day, hurray! I feel as if every year Mother Earth heaves a sigh of relief on this day. “Ah,” she says, “they finally listened.” But then she scrolls Instagram 24 hours later and reads it’s now National Donut Day. “Hey, what the f*&%?”
Does anyone remember that episode of Mad Men – Don and family were lunching on the grass and when it was time to pack up, they just threw their trash where they were and carried on. That was pretty horrifying. We’ve come a long way since then, and have a lot more knowledge of how our daily activities impact the planet.
Making a change can be as easy as refusing bags in the checkout line at the grocery store. If you don’t want to or can’t feasibly go full steam ahead in to the realm of reducing waste, here are a few easy ways you can modify your lifestyle that we’ve chosen over the past couple of years. It’s easy – really – you can do it too.
Reducing environmental impact at the beach and beyond
- Sunscreen – use a reef safe sunscreen. A quick Google search will lead you to a plethora of options. This really makes a difference, especially to sea creatures and coral reef. Also, don’t be silly – apply the sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before you enter the water. Do it before you leave the house or accommodation – chances are, by the time you drive/walk to the beach and set up, you’ll be ready to swim. Avoid aerosol cans, lotion works fine. If you want to avoid the body ‘screen try a hooded rash guard – these are lifesavers for toddlers!
- Sand toys – Avoid purchasing plastic sand toys during your holiday. Many accommodations will provide these at no cost. If you do purchase them, make sure you pack them up when you leave the beach so they don’t fall victim to a rising tide. Leave them at your accommodation when you go so someone else can use them.
- Plastic water bottles – This was the biggest change we made – we purchased a few Hydroflasks a few years ago and can count on one hand the time’s we’ve purchased a plastic bottle of water over the last five years. Again, an investment up front but… bottled water isn’t exactly cheap either.
- Produce bags – We purchased these off Amazon. Buy a few, they last forever (or close to it). Every time you use one, that’s one plastic bag you haven’t used while grocery shopping. For us, this would mean about 4 produce bags per shopping trip, twice a week. That’s almost 400 single-use plastic bags a year we’re not using.
- Reusable shopping bags – These are pretty common, you can find them at most grocery stores. A bit of an investment up front but we purchased a few five years ago and they’re still going strong. Again, the whole “how many we WOULD have used thing” really helps the mental game – every year, our family alone would have used almost 500 grocery bags. As a bonus, many shops will give you a bag credit. We get 5 cents back per bag, which doesn’t seem like much but over a year, it’s about $10 – the cost of a bag!
- Take 3 for the Sea – “Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or… anywhere and you have made a difference.” We do this after every shoot, during every beach visit – little things can make a big impact.
What methods do you use at home and away to reduce your footprint? Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing right now. Don’t strive for perfection but make little changes gradually which can provide a practical, more long-lasting approach to waste reduction.
Mother Nature puts on a real show for us recently for this couple’s maternity session – full moon setting at sunrise, sea turtles…even some cute (and definitely sinister) feral chickens! Yep, we got a bit of everything for this gorgeous sunrise beach maternity session, check it out below.