Constantly bombarded with the urgency to take action in the fight against climate change, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and, in a sense, paralyzed. This global threat transcends social issues and affects every inhabitant of our beautiful planet, yet we are often left feeling helpless as individuals. To learn more about reducing our carbon footprint in our everyday lives, I caught up with Bloom Farms CBD community member and sustainable living extraordinaire Elana Jadallah.
Elana is currently a full-time photographer, writer and business mentor who focuses on sharing sustainable and regenerative solutions for her clients’ lives and businesses. Launching her career when social media was in its infancy, she was able to utilize her analytical mind and love for photography to help grow online communities surrounding her clients’ brands, soon leading workshops all over the country. She eventually created her own brand, ElanaLoo.
When it comes to navigating the world of sustainability, Elana is a vital resource because her own journey as an environmental advocate is so relatable. While her life and business is rooted in a passion for visual art, storytelling and marketing, she explained that it was not always filled with a deep purpose. It was not until she moved to Hawai‘i and encountered the severely poor state of our oceans that she discovered her true purpose: educating herself and others on how to create a more sustainable future. Elana spreads awareness and shares resources so that anyone who is interested can learn and get involved.
One point she makes abundantly clear is that progress is more important than perfection. Her advice for the first step toward awareness is to count the total number of times in a day that you touch single-use plastic. Tally up this number, and find a reusable/biodegradable solution for one to three of those things. If you have already eliminated single-use plastic, think about where all of your food is sourced in each meal. Determine how much is locally grown/caught/raised, and swap a few of the ones that aren’t with ingredients from your local food supply.
One common misconception is that sustainable living is only possible for wealthy people. Elana advises shifting your thinking from “What things do I need to buy?” to “What can I reduce?” If sustainability is important to you, the simplest way to begin is to reduce your purchases of goods you consider toxic or stop buying from companies whose ethics don’t align with yours. She adds that while some sustainable products initially cost more, they typically last longer—an investment that can save money in the long run.
Elana provided a few tips for shopping sustainably on a budget.
Ditch plastic bags.
Many of us already bring reusable bags to the grocery store, but often forgotten are the plastic produce bags we use at the market. Opt to place items directly into your cart. If germs are a concern, just think about the journey those fruits or veggies took on their way to the shelf. (You should be washing your produce anyway!)
Switch from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo.
The price difference is minimal, and the impact is huge. Elana recommends these.
Stop buying single-use plastic razors.
Elana recommends safety razors, including the multi-blade, all-metal Leaf Shave. It is an investment (around $75), but it is high quality, and the replacement blades are inexpensive. Over time you will save. For a less pricey alternative, check these out; just be sure to watch a tutorial as it is a little different than shaving with more common razors.
Swap plastic hangers and baskets for wood or bamboo.
Plastic hangers and laundry baskets are among the most common items polluting our oceans. Elana advises not to throw away what you have (that’s beside the point!), but to stop buying more in the future.
Make your coffee at home.
You will save money and reduce your consumption of plastic. Skip the pre-measured single-use cups and paper filters, opting instead for a reusable cup or a stainless-steel filter for additional waste reduction.
Click here for a full list of the sustainable living action items Elana recommends.
The road to living sustainably is not straight and narrow. It is a journey filled with obstacles and triumphs, and it is important to celebrate every win. Every time you buy a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one or simply consider the impact of your actions before deciding which product to purchase, you are making a difference. Remember, progress is more important than perfection.
Some other resources on sustainable living:
Zero Waste Home
The Pistachio Project
Environmental Health News
Artists and Climate Change
Green Global Travel
Find more at ElanaLoo
Currently living in San Francisco, Sivan was born and raised in the Bay Area. With a degree in Criminology, she has a passion for criminal justice reform and trashy true crime docs. Other passions include health and wellness and world travel. With just over 30 passport stamps, her goal is to visit 40 countries before she turns 30.