Act: Green & Natural Living
You're already inspired and excited about changing the world, now it's time to get out and do something! In the articles below you'll find hundreds of ways to implement small changes that make a big difference on the planet.
Get the answers: learn the How's and Why's here. If you need further advice, check out the Resources section for websites, blogs and articles, as well as the EvG Store to shop for products.
"The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river." ~ Ross Perot
Within this guide, you’ll find eco-friendly, compassionate gift ideas for everyone on your list, no matter the budget. The following are products and services that I use and love. Love and care is poured into every recommendation. Your purchases support hard-working small businesses and ethical businesses that are doing great things for people and the planet.
Click on each item in the guide to view more details.
This guide is brought to you by Brush with Bamboo, creators of my favorite eco-friendly toothbrush and tongue cleaner. I also use their travel case, brush holder and straws often, which makes it super easy to be less wasteful. Find out why in this video.
Protecting and healing the planet is very important to me. I believe in climate change and I believe that we can reverse it. Lately, I haven’t felt like I’ve been doing enough activism to spread the word and inspire others to be eco-conscious. Perhaps that’s because it feels a little overwhelming and honestly even a bit more challenging than it used to feel. Sure, being vegan is one of the most Earth-friendly lifestyle choices, but there’s so much more we can do as individuals to make a difference. Can you relate to this at all? Is it just me, or does climate change feel confusing with all the conflicting information about what we should and shouldn’t do?
One of the biggest issues is CO2 (carbon dioxide):
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is necessary for plants and trees to grow. Forests play a specific and important role in the global carbon cycle by absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, storing carbon above and below the ground, and producing oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis (US Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
Through the many industries, especially transportation, we’re producing very high levels of emissions that have thrown off the balance in the atmosphere. Now our forests are close to CO2 neutral and trees are working overtime to remove CO2 from the air. Oxygen gets released back into the atmosphere and gives us clean air to breathe, while carbon gets stored in the trunk. That’s part of the reason going vegan makes a difference - this lifestyle and diet can reduce about 20 lbs of CO2 in the air every day (source: Cowspiracy). There are more solutions, and one of the latest and greatest is this new device called the OBRIST C-Transformer.
The OBRIST C-Transformer is a machine that helps trees to pull CO2 from the air by taking char off their trucks and making the soil around them more fertile. Here’s how the company explains it, “before a tree dies and releases its carbon, which has been stored in its wood during its life span back into the atmosphere, the OBRIST C-Transformer will turn its trunk into biochar and introduce it into the forest's ground. In this manner, the carbon improves soil fertility and the release of carbon back into our atmosphere is prevented.” Through this process, the trees can do their jobs more effectively and new vegetation can grow in the extra fertile ground. This can revitalize the forests, make them healthier and biodiverse with mixed species, and reduce CO2 from the atmosphere. All this can be done with minimal human interference and allow the forests to become self-sustaining.
It’s a little nerdy, but this is exciting stuff for me (and the planet).
So now we know the problem and a long-term solution. You’re probably wondering what you can do next. And that’s exactly why I’m writing this post.
In order for the OBRIST C-Transformer to be implemented in forests, they need your support. They recently launched a campaign on Indiegogo in order to fund the next steps of their company. Up until now, they’ve been focused on gathering the scientific proof and developing the concept of the machine. Next, they need to get it into production (their goal is to complete this by 2025) and they expect this to cost upwards of a billion dollars. That’s why they’re crowdfunding - they could use some financial support while raising global awareness about the machine. You can help with a donation as small as $1 or $5, the latter of which includes a perk of planting a tree on your behalf.
We can help the planet do it’s job faster and reverse the damage done by humankind to our atmosphere with the OBRIST C-Transformer. As they put it, “worldwide solutions need worldwide actions.” Please visit and share their Indiegogo campaign to help them take the next steps alongside Mother Nature: indiegogo.com/projects/obrist-c-transformer-nature
Want more details? Check out the OBRIST C-Transformer website, which has further information, explanations and videos from scientists and up to 100 answered questions: obrist-c-transformer.com/platform
Disclosure: I partnered with OBRIST C-Transformer to write this. My thoughts and opinions are my own, and I drew data from the company’s website and Indiegogo page. I’m passionate about the environment and I felt this was an important project to share with you. They compensated me financially to help spread the word, and I hope you enjoyed learning about them!
The holidays are all about generosity and love. I want you to know how much I appreciate your support and dedication to making the world a more conscious, compassionate place. What better way to show how much you mean to me than by giving you what you want: more videos and free products! And I'm not talking the run-of-the-mill video series and giveaway here, I'm talking EPIC! More specifically, 12 videos plus a chance to win over 20 vegan products worth over $2,700. You read that right.
Over 4.7 Billion plastic toothbrushes are produced every year worldwide, and once used they end up in landfills and oceans. This is pretty frightening considering that the average person replaces their toothbrush every 3 months. For years I thought I was doing my part by using brushes made from recycled plastic, then realized that it was ending up in the same place as all the other brushes. Bummer. Then I was introduced to the company Brush with Bamboo, who is aiming to be the most ecological toothbrush.
A few days ago I was nominated to do the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS, and I really hesitated to participate. I talked it over with a few people in person, then turned to social media to get the Eco-Vegan Gal community's opinion, which was really all over the place. It is evident that there is a lot of confusion and frustration around this topic, so I started doing research to learn more. Over the course of several hours pouring over websites on ALS, a book on animal testing, and several sources on water waste, I put together a video to address my findings and feelings. Since vegan chef Jason Wrobel was also nominated to do the challenge and hesitated for similar reasons, he joined me on camera to spread the message on the importance of educating ourselves before supporting a cause and joining a social trend.
People mean well when they donate to health charities, but many are unaware that they may inadvertently be supporting cruel and unnecessary animal experiments. With growing awareness of the dangers of reliance on data from animal tests, the public should be able to make an informed choice as to how their generous donations are really being spent. ~ Helen Marston, chief executive of Humane Research Australia.
Product review by EvG team member Rachel Curit:
Sometimes you don't need words to understand the magnitude of a photograph. All you need is to look into the eyes of the subject and feel what they feel. Photographed and written by Jo-Anne McArthur, "We Animals" is a collection of full color and black and white photographs, depicting animals in some of their most vulnerable states, whether it's right before their death or in the arms of their protector. Almost every photo affords you the opportunity to look into their soul and really understand them for who they are: individuals.
Book review by EvG team member Margie Spurrier:
Have you ever wondered if animals have intelligence or if they are capable of feeling emotions like empathy, grief or depression? Have you wondered what makes humans unique compared to all other animals? If so, then "Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed" by Marc Bekoff is a book you should be reading right now.
Book review by EvG team member Rachel Curit:
Most vegans are familiar with the concept of farm animal sanctuaries, where abused and neglected beings find peace and happiness for the rest of their lives. Many of us don't spend our days kissing pigs and massaging sheep while simultaneously mucking stalls and doing office work. For those of us not able to see the transformation of "broken beings [becoming] whole again," there is "Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary" by Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York.
Product review by EvG team member Rachel Curit:
An animal sanctuary is a place for animals to heal and humans to find peace in this crazy, exploitative world. Animal activists often say they visit sanctuaries when they need to recharge. If you’ve ever felt this way, try taking a peek at My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope. Written by Ellie Laks, the founder of Gentle Barn, this book will take you on a journey. From the early days of Gentle Barn to its booming success in recent years, you’ll get the inside scoop on Gentle Barn’s ups and downs.
Most people live a "lifestyle of consumption, enabled by convenience", perhaps because "we don’t have to think about the costs, beyond what is printed on the package or on our receipts. We don’t have to think about the consequences." One of the biggest problems we face is plastic, which is turned into inexpensive products that are not designed to last and "are packaged so that they can wait indefinitely on store shelves for our sudden desires". While some call plastic addiction the “crisis of our civilization”, it's really just a reflection of the real issue - "the biggest challenge is paying attention".
These are quotes from Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, a book by Beth Terry, who educated herself about environmental, health and political issues surrounding plastic and found ways to get it almost entirely out of her life. Her passion lead her to pen a now very successful blog called My Plastic-Free Life that inspired the book, both in which she shares her personal journey and offers accessible solutions without imposing guilt. But her driving forces goes beyond plastic - there's a bigger message within her words that encourages people to start thinking and living differently to achieve longer, happier lives.
The following video is a review of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. My feelings are best captured on camera than in writing, but I wanted to share some more details, facts, quotes and links to more information here because it's more easily accessible.
By now, most people at least know that they should bring their own reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. This prevents waste from plastic and paper shopping bags, which get at best a few uses after returning from the store. However, one eco trend that hasn't quite caught on yet is reusable produce and bulk bags - every day thousands of shoppers use the provided small, thin plastic or biodegradable bags at the market without even realizing there's an alternative, and they usually end up in the landfills. Good thing there's a fantastic option: reusable produce bags made from cotton, canvas, or related plastic! Skip to the bottom for the video.