By Ally Pratt
With seemingly infinite information clogging our newsfeeds and inboxes, it can be difficult to focus on the facts that matter. Lucky for you, we have an energetic and motivated team that wants to share their knowledge about how things are changing in the world of sustainability. Coastalong's mission is to spread the news about practical, sustainable lifestyle choices so you can do the right thing without having to think too hard. Here are a few things we've gotten excited about in the recent environmental news – we hope they excite you, too!
1. Huge companies are going zero-waste.
Of course, we heartily commend companies that have been pledging zero-waste policies since birth. We also want to highlight a few companies who've adopted a zero-waste plan in recent years: Clif Bar, IKEA, Adobe, Sierra Nevada, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, Virgin, Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Kroger, Pillsbury, and more recently, Coca-Cola, Lego, RyanAir, and Garnier. (Click here to learn more about 127 companies that have pledged to go 100% renewable.) Did you know that this year's Super Bowl diverted 91% of their waste from landfills? That's huge. There are endless reasons to go zero-waste, but at this large scale, it requires strong initiative, infrastructure, and persistence. Bravo to these businesses for setting a good example.
We love watching this list grow. Coastalong has always implemented measures to reduce our landfill waste as much as possible – our vendors use only 100% recyclable materials. Of course, we only promote brands that align with our sustainability standards. Eco-focused businesses everywhere are looking for our support. It's important to know that your personal footprint matters, too.
According to Isabelle, these are some suggestions to easily reduce landfill waste on your own:
- Trade plastic bags for a reusable shopping tote.
- Swap one-time-use water bottles for a stainless steel one.
- Pick up a set of reusable utensils that you can take with you on the go.
- When you order a drink, ask for it without a plastic straw.
- Buy compostable, sustainable toothbrushes instead of plastic ones.
Another great article on steps towards being less wasteful can be found here. Keep us posted with any ideas you have about how to reduce waste and about any zero-waste companies that you support. We're working on several recyclable art projects for this year's festival, so stay tuned to find out more. 🌿
2. Renewable energy farms are popping up all over the world.
New York has recently pledged to reduce their greenhouse gases 80% by 2050, and their newly anticipated offshore wind energy is predicted to power over 1.3 million homes. This is all part of a plan to get 50% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2030. Nice! (BTW – check out this site to see how the states stack up in terms of renewable energy production.) Visa also just announced that they want to use 100% renewable energy next year, and the United States Agency for International Development just finished a massive renewable energy project in Nigeria. Exciting!
Despite a tumultuous political climate, solar power has remained a strong force in renewable energy development in recent years. According to the National Resources Defense Council, carbon emissions from the power sector last year dropped 28% below 2005 levels. Check out who's number one on the list.
This isn't just an American effort. According to Elle Hunt, "the number of cities [in the world] getting at least 70% of their total electricity supply from renewable energy has more than doubled since 2015" (The Guardian). Iceland is home to one of over 100 global cities predominantly powered by clean energy, Reyjkavik, which sources all of its electricity from hydropower and geothermal power.
Turning to renewable energy has never been more widespread. Naturally, Coastalong promotes renewable energy and we prove it by using bike power to fuel our whole festival! 🚲
3. We're finally getting rid of plastic and styrofoam.
At the current rate, plastic is predicted to outweigh fish in the world's oceans by 2050 (The Telegraph). This ties back to the zero-waste movement. Thankfully, large companies like Johnson & Johnson have been pledging to take plastic out of their products. Queen Elizabeth II just banned plastic from all the royal estates in Great Britain. Taiwan is banning single-use plastic from every restaurant by 2030. Dunkin Donuts recently announced that they will be banning styrofoam cups from their menu. If they can do it, who can't?
It's finally happening... the first completely plastic-free supermarket aisle just debuted in Amsterdam this week. Check it out.
Nope, that's not plastic. We promise.
Also this week, a little closer to home: Malibu officially banned plastic utensils, straws, and stirrers in every restaurant. We love it! Keep up the good work. 👍
4. Cities are becoming more sustainable.
For those of us living in big cities, it's important to know that our actions contribute to some of the strongest and most dense sources of CO₂ emissions, waste, and deforestation. There is still a lot to strive for, but cities are definitely taking active measures to tackle these huge environmental issues. Like I mentioned earlier, many cities are now banning plastic straws. Urban gardens and eco-inspired architecture and design are trending, too. Japanese architects just announced their plan for the largest wooden skyscraper in history. Restaurants are competing to be more sustainable, environmentally-conscious, and have more plant-based menu options. Hydroponic farms in New York are even delivering their produce by bike! Do your part, and support businesses you believe in.
Also, shout out to a new gym in New York that's powered by it's own exercise. Go pedal power! 😊
5. Veganism and plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular.
Vegan diets are going seriously mainstream. It's officially more expensive to buy meat and dairy than ever before. Google searches of the word "vegan" have increased by 6x in the past decade and the number of vegans in the UK has increased 350% since 2006. The Canadian government just announced a major push towards vegetarian farming. And best of all, BEYONCÉ IS GOING VEGAN. Veganism isn't just a diet, though; it's a lifestyle. It's no secret that veganism is growing worldwide – and it's happening fast.
There are substitutes for literally any animal product out there... and they actually taste good. The meatless "meat" industry rose dramatically last year, and the plant-based milk industry is projected to reach $28 billion in the next four years. People are realizing that they don't need dairy in their diets, and vegan cheese is becoming bougie. If you haven't tried any of these products, trust us, you will soon.
Oh, and you NEED to try this burger. (The 2-pack at Whole Foods is only $5.99.)
This one shouldn't need convincing. 🍔
We love to see all the efforts people are taking to reverse the damage humans have caused to our environment. Clearly there's still a long way to go, so we encourage you to mindfully follow the trends toward sustainability on a social and personal level so these changes can endure nationally and even globally. If you want to learn more, visit some of our favorite resources TreeHugger, ScienceDaily, and GreenMatters. To get in touch with the Coastalong team, you can reach us via our Facebook or Instagram. To all our loyal sustainability advocates, environmental activists, and Earth lovers: good luck, keep your head up, and keep coastin'! 💚