Why Go Green?
The thought of starting your sustainability journey from scratch can be overwhelming. Where to begin? The products in your bathroom? Your makeup bag? How about the cleaning products under your kitchen sink? 
There is no right or wrong way to begin your journey. All that matters is that you start.  An imbalance has occurred in nature, which is why we're seeing increased natural disasters and weather patterns changing like never before. But it's now common knowledge that switching to a greener lifestyle will make a significant impact on the future. 
Going Green for the Future
With climate change on our heels, now's the perfect time to start changing your lifestyle so you can lower your carbon footprint. We all want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the planet as we did as children. But, the hard truth is, if we continue at the current trajectory, future generations likely won't get to experience Earth as we know it today.
A green lifestyle means products you buy and use are sustainably sourced, manufactured, or upcycled. You consider everything you do and minimize your impact on the planet, following a zero-waste lifestyle in most cases. Instead of buying new products, you use what is already in circulation. 
If we all followed this model, it would ease the pressure we currently put on our planet.
Environmental Benefits
As humans on Earth, we have an environmental obligation to keep our planet safe and healthy. Taking from her more than we give back has caused irreversible damage. Some of the side effects that have come as a direct and indirect result of the industrialized world are:
Biodiversity loss
Animal extinction
Global warming
As you've perhaps seen or read, biodiversity loss and animal extinction create an imbalance in natural ecosystems (4). This imbalance creates a global environmental change that scientists have dubbed "defaunation." We're facing the Sixth Mass Extinction (1), where, in just 40 years, the world has lost 52% of its wildlife to extinction thanks to human activities.
Global warming has been primarily caused by manufacturing plants, mining, and other large factories that emit tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Though global warming refers to the Earth heating up, causing issues like ice caps to melt, it's also causing extreme weather events. Heatwaves, wildfires, snowstorms, hurricanes, and tidal waves are gracing our presence like never before.
Earth's population has just reached 8 billion in November 2022. While Elon Musk may believe we're facing the crisis of human populations declining in the future, experts warn that at current population forecasts, we will face bigger issues. 
Overconsumption is already a significant issue in the world, with no definite solution in sight. Current forecasts determine that the resources we require to live and exist will continue to deplete as our population increases. So, solutions need to be implemented now to avoid a shortage of resources in the future. 
But going green is not just about sustaining life on Earth. It also directly correlates with health and financial benefits to everyone who implements these changes in their life.
Health Benefits
Going green means eliminating a lot of "junk" from your life. You can choose a more minimal lifestyle, such as decluttering, which can also positively impact your mental health. 
You can reduce your animal byproduct intake. You may be aware of the meat and dairy boycott that has vegans and environmentalists saying that we all must stop eating meat and dairy to reduce carbon emissions. 
While it's true that those industries contribute a huge chunk of carbon emissions, and many have taken on a less or no meat and dairy diet, experts warn that it isn't a sustainable solution for everyone on Earth. Instead, we should be more mindful and reduce our meat and dairy consumption. 
Many health experts, like renowned nutritional scientist and dietician Dr. Joanna McMillan, encourage a plant-based diet because of the health benefits (3). 
Dr. Joanna takes a pragmatic view of diet and lifestyle and understands that even farming plants can negatively impact the planet. There's simply no perfect solution. Her recommendation is the Mediterranean diet, which is all about eating natural, whole foods, vegetables, seafood, olive oil, and whole grains, and consuming only high-quality, minimally-processed meat and poultry. 
A diet high in animal byproducts can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer (5,6,7). 
Another health benefit of going green is that you may feel morally better about not consuming animal byproducts, which is bound to improve your emotional health.
Financial Benefits
One of the most misunderstood facts about switching to a sustainable lifestyle is that it costs more and is not accessible to everyone. This is simply not true. 
Sustainable products are not always more expensive than conventional products. Not anymore, anyway.
If you choose to buy sustainable products, they can sometimes cost more. But they are usually cleaner ingredients, making them safer, and potentially preventing health implications later on. 
Take toothpaste as an example, like Bite toothpaste tablets, a sustainable brand with just a handful of ingredients, all sourced ethically. They use a fluoride alternative. Although fluoride stops cavities, questions have been raised about its safety. 
Compare Bite to Colgate toothpaste, which contains Triclosan, an antibacterial agent and a possible known carcinogen (9), and it's clear to see which brand is taking more care when it comes to our overall health and wellness.
While it's not a given you'll get cancer from toothpaste, there is evidence that many of the chemicals we have in our everyday household products can bioaccumulate over time. So while you may only be exposed to a tiny amount each day, some ingredients stay in our bodies, so after years of exposure, they can become a hazard to our health (2). 
Cheap shampoo that contains sodium lauryl and laurel sulfates are other good examples. SLS and SLES are skin irritants that have also been linked to hair loss and other possible health implications. Spend a few more dollars on a non-sulfate shampoo, and you can skip the hair regrowth pills later in life (8).
In the long term, going for the cheaper alternative could end up costing you a lot more later on.
With more brands joining the sustainability movement, prices are more competitive. And because technology is constantly advancing and improving, sustainable skincare is now just as effective as conventional skincare, and it's even better in many cases. So going sustainable is really worth the investment when you look at it across your entire life.
How to Avoid Overwhelm
So how do you make the switch? It can be overwhelming; climate change is a doomsday topic that makes us want to bury our heads in the sand. But we simply can't anymore.
You can start by reading How to Reduce Environmental Anxiety. If you're a human who identifies as a woman, this article may be helpful: Women's Guide to Sustainability. If you're a parent, start here; How to Be a Sustainable Influence On Children. Or, if you're just curious about what sustainability means, especially in the beauty industry, read What Does Sustainable Beauty Mean?
The easiest way to take on sustainability is by taking baby steps and compartmentalizing your home—tackle one room at a time, starting with the kitchen. Set up your various recycling and trash cans first, then swap out one item from the kitchen as needed. When the kitchen is complete, move to the bathroom, the bedroom, etc. Make it a slow, deliberate habit that will stick.
Being Green
So how does one "be" green? First of all, a circular economy is arguably the best way to adopt a sustainable lifestyle quickly. But to live a life that is 100% circular would be a tiresome feat. So as well as contributing to a circular economy where possible, buy products that are:
Made with sustainably-sourced materials, components, or ingredients.
Are sustainably manufactured and distributed, which includes packaging and shipping operations.
Come from an environmentally-conscious company.
Choose good-quality products that won't wear out quickly or don't impact the environment as much during manufacturing. Buy from sustainable fashion brands over fast fashion. Invest in quality bedding over cheap bedding. Choose zero-waste or recyclable packaging, and recycle your beauty packaging through PACT.
Another way to be green is to donate your time, money, or resources to foundations and causes that help the planet. You can plant trees. Or reduce your carbon footprint through carbon offsets.
Turn off the tap when washing dishes or brushing your teeth. Unplug electrical appliances. Walk instead of drive. Don't use the clothes dryer. Think about every little thing you do, and try and improve how you do it so it has a smaller impact on the environment. 
Making small changes in your daily life will ensure the longevity and sustainability of your commitment. Even the smallest change will make a difference to your health, your finances, and the environment. And don't beat yourself up if you don't get it right the first time. The point isn't to be a perfect environmentalist. The point is to try.
"We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly." Anne Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef.
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