Towards Sustainability: Check your Footprint and Take Action

Over the past year I've been taking small steps to integrate more sustainable practices throughout my life. I became more interested in shifting my lifestyle a few years ago after learning about the Global Footprint Network's Footprint Calculator during grad school. With a series of questions, the tool calculates your overshoot day -  this is the day (amount of time) that if everyone on the planet lived live you "we would have used as much from nature as Earth can renew in the entire year." 

Earth Overshoot Day

As of today, my Earth Overshoot Day is May 26, but humanity's Earth Overshoot Day is August 1. If everyone lived like me...... we would need 2.5 years. So yeah, I have some work to do. For context, we live inner city in an up-to-date duplex, monitor our energy usage, use efficient lights, repair rather than replace when possible, and I don't drive more than 65 kms a week. While I work from home now, I would typically take transit to work. 

While the tool doesn't capture every little thing you do to reduce your footprint (like using rain barrels, or buying from sustainable brands), the questions are eye opening and highlight areas in your life that could use a little attention if you're looking to reduce your impact on the planet.

In the past while, I've been focused on reducing daily waste and reducing my consumption of food that is hard on the planet. Some of the things I've done include:

  • Ditching cotton pads and opted to use reusable cotton and microfiber cloths to remove my makeup
  • Purchasing reusable silicone q-tips
  • Use compostable kitty litter  (Our cat is an eco-warrior training)
  • Shifting to bamboo toothbrushes
  • Introducing more plant-based meals (but there's still lots of work to do here)

Some of these substitutions are small, and may in someways only offset waste created, and do not address the energy needed to create the products in the first place. My thoughts are that the less waste our house sends to the landfill, the better. While only briefly addressed in the calculator, your purchasing habits do factor in to the calculation, including your purchasing decisions for clothing. Making changes to my purchasing habits and making a shift toward slow fashion options have been top of my list in reducing my waste*. Because I want to do this in a purposeful way I've decided to do a 10x10 challenge. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a on my 10 x 10 experience and for more information about slow fashion.

MALOU Co-founder

*Beyond waste, the fashion industry doesn't have a great reputation for fair compensation or safe practices either. This is top of mind for us at MALOU Collection and influenced our decision to manufacture locally. You can find out more about our practices on our Towards Sustainability page.


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