We all have a role to play in tackling the climate crisis and making changes in our daily lives is a good place to start. Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, but a sustainable lifestyle will reduce waste and promote healthier habits.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, why not take the advice of leading environmental activists on their responsible and environmentally conscious habits.
Drive an electric vehicle and reuse tumblers like Leonardo DiCaprio
One of Hollywood’s most visible environmentalists, Leonardo DiCaprio has not only funded documentaries on the climate crisis, but has long advocated for environmentally friendly practices.
In the early 2000s, the actor made headlines for driving a Toyota Prius, a gasoline / electric hybrid vehicle – allegedly even bought the same for family and friends.
The 46-year-old then expanded his fleet to include electric vehicles (EVs) such as a $ 200,000 Tesla Roadster and a Fisker Karma hybrid. DiCaprio is also often seen on two wheels, cycling with his entourage on Citi bikes near his Manhattan home.
Electric vehicles have a lower carbon footprint than gasoline-powered cars, even after accounting for the electricity used for charging, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports.
And the actor does not hesitate to invest sustainably either. The A-lister owns an island called Blackadore Caye in Belize where they are building a luxury eco-resort where only reusable cups and containers will be allowed – although development is several years behind schedule after encountering several local roadblocks.
Reusable materials not only prevent waste of single-use products, but also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manufacturing items and then sending them to landfills and incinerators.
The United States only recycles about 32% of waste, according to 2018 EPA data, although this is up from the 6% estimated in 1960.
Use recycled insulation like Adrian Grenier
Attic, who played a character inspired in part from Dicaprio’s real life in the HBO drama Entourage, adopted some of the enthusiasm of his fellow actor for sustainability.
The 45-year-old recounted People magazine last year that he used ripped jeans for insulation in his remodeled Brooklyn brownstone. He not only used recycled denim insulation, but also “reused floors from the original wall beams and cabinetry created only from wood certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)”.
“I think honoring history is part of what sustainability is,” Grenier said. “We wanted to be able to bring a part of this history, to conserve and preserve it, but also to update it. “
However, durable insulation doesn’t have to come from your old overalls. Materials such as wool and cork also require much less energy than fiberglass insulation and can help reduce emissions.
The burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil to heat homes and to generate electricity is the single largest source of GHGs in the world, according to the EPA, accounting for 25% in 2010.
Adapting homes with recycled insulation, as well as geothermal and electric heat pumps, can help reduce this daunting figure.
Stay out of the sky like Greta Thunberg
The 18-year-old climate activist is leading by example when it comes to travel, choosing modes of transport such as trains and boats over planes to reduce her carbon footprint.
Aviation accounted for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the DC-based Institute for the Study of Environment and Energy, which added: “Consider that if global commercial aviation was a country in the national CO2 emissions ranking, the industry would rank number six in the world between Japan and Germany.
“Non-CO2 effects, such as warming induced by contrails and other pollutants, bring the combined total contribution of commercial aviation to about 5% of the global warming problem.
Thunberg has taken a high-profile stance against the airplane – and his example has prompted thousands of followers around the world to abandon flights.
New efforts have sprung up in dozens of countries, causing people to swear not to steal. In Thunberg’s native Sweden, for example, a group called We Stay on the Ground was formed in 2018 to recruit people who pledge to stop flying for a year.
“For most people, it’s knowing that others have made this decision. It really is the most powerful way to change people’s minds, ”said founder Maja Rosen. Similar efforts in 61 countries recruited more than 10,500 people.
Eat clean food and grow your own like Gisele and her Brady gang
Gisele Bundchen and her NFL star husband Tom Brady are said to have a zero waste, plant-based lifestyle. The model wrote a detailed personal essay last year for Marie Claire magazine, explaining how the family buys food from local farmers to reduce packaging waste, compost waste, grow their own vegetables, and eat a mostly vegan diet.
Food production accounts for about a quarter of GHG emissions and, according to one Oxford University Study, “Reducing the consumption of meat and other animal products can make a valuable contribution to mitigating climate change”.
Like her ex-boyfriend DiCaprio, the Brazilian model is also advocating for reusable containers and wrote that she has seen the impact on her children before.
“I see them talking about it with their friends and showing them the water bottles in the hope that they can join them and use them too,” she wrote.
“It makes me so proud to see them eager to share with their friends. While it’s just a small gesture, it’s about it: having positive conversations, taking a solution-oriented approach, and learning from each other. “
Wear your plea on your sleeve and on your face like Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway and other stars
While Adrian Grenier can recycle jeans for insulation, it’s just as useful to carry them. Anne Hathaway has made no secret of her commitment to vintage and recycled clothing wherever possible for sustainability – and Gwyneth Paltrow is an advocate for green fashion, starting lines with famous friends such as designer Stella McCartney.
According to the United Nations Sustainable Fashion Alliance, industry is responsible for up to 8% of the world’s GHGs and consumes 215 trillion liters of water each year. Textiles also account for around 9% of the annual microplastics that enter the oceans and are consumed by fish, end up in the food chain and on our plates.
Swapping newly purchased yarns for vintage designs can make up for those disturbing numbers – and makeup choices can be vegan and cruelty-free, too. Drew Barrymore, for example, launched an affordable line called Flower Beauty, offering responsible, guilt-free facial beautification.