Sustainable YOUniverse: World Environment Day

by Natalie Bencivenga


June 2, 2022

Throughout the last few years, we have embarked on a journey to learn how to create sustainable style, green our living spaces and enact changes within our power to help reduce our carbon footprint. With World Environment Day coming up on June 5, it seemed like the perfect time to share a round-up of some of the most popular — and user-friendly! — ways to showcase how being eco-friendly is oh-so-chic! 

Shop at your local second-hand or vintage boutiques: Not only are you bound to score one-of-a-kind pieces at a fraction of the price you would pay for retail, but you are also helping to keep more clothing out of landfills and reduce your carbon footprint all while giving gently-loved clothing a second life! 

Swap it out: Another great way to stay fashionable and eco-friendly is by hosting a clothing swap with friends. Here’s how it works: Everyone brings three to four well-maintained clothing items or accessories (like handbags or shoes) that they loved but no longer wear. Then, let the swapping begin! Whatever you don’t take, send to a space like Goodwill. 

Eat more plants: One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable in your everyday life is to reduce your consumption of animal products. While 70 percent of the world is covered in water, only 2.5 percent of that water is fresh, drinkable water. Much of this water goes to sustaining the unsustainable industry of animal agriculture. Many people around the globe – 2.1 billion – lack access to safe drinking water. As the climate crisis continues, this alarming number will continue to increase. Check out my YouTube show Heating Up for plant-based recipes and conversations around the dinner table with thought leaders focused on creative solutions to the climate crisis! 

Learn to sew: You may have checked out one of my newer column pieces where I share my desire to learn to sew, darn and repair clothing. If you can pick up any of these skills, you are not only extending the clothing that you love but removing yourself from a cycle that believes that new is always best. 

Get yourself a houseplant: Houseplants are great for creating a healthy home as well as cheering up any space. There are many types that require varying degrees of care, but snake plants and rubber plants are great choices to start with. 

Ditch the chemical cleaners: Buy a reusable, machine-washable mop pad and try this easy solution so that you can feel good about your kids and pets eating off the floor: 10 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar. Want to be wild? Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which has antibacterial properties, too. Take it to the next level: Forgo a shopping trip and instead wrap a towel or an old sock around a mop-shaped base and pin it together on the top. Voila! 

Explore a place like The Refillery X the Local Instead which was highlighted in a recent edition of The Green Voice. When you run out of your cleaning supplies, you can refill them there so that we reduce our dependence on single-use plastics.

Put your money where your earth is: Generations Gen Z and Millennials recognize the power in their purchasing, loudly boycotting certain brands on social media, causing entire sectors – like the fast fashion industry – to rethink their purpose as it looks at its bottom line. Don’t forget, we have an incredible amount of power as a consumer nation. By deciding what and when we buy particular products, we can force the hand of large, multinational corporations to take a stand, clean up their practices and even phase out single-use plastics. 

Whatever you decide to do, remember it isn’t just individuals who can solve the climate crisis. It will take all of us – including multinational corporations and governments – to address this in a meaningful way. Use the power of your voice, your wallet and your vote to demand a Green New Deal and a brighter, healthier and greener future for all. We have one home. Let’s take care of it. 


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter