You can’t stop me from caring, Mr. Trump.

Want to reduce your carbon footprint? You don't have to live in burlap and only eat quinoa. Click through for doable steps!
Welp, it happened. Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, the agreement that 195 countries signed to slow climate change. NORTH KOREA SIGNED IT FOR PETE’S SAKE.

But here’s the ‘good’ news: Donald Trump cannot prevent any of us from caring about climate change. Click To Tweet He cannot prevent any of us from spending our money, time, or energy to reduce our own carbon footprints.

This country (and planet) is made up of individuals. Many of our individual choices got us here and our individual choices can make a difference now, too.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from recycling or composting.

We’re signed up for Hennepin County’s organics recycling program and we loooove it. In case you were wondering, it’s not gross and nothing smells. If your city doesn’t offer composting, this countertop compost bin is cute, costs $22 and has 5,000+ five star reviews.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from reusing things and using fewer disposable items.

We have these coffee travel mugs and love them.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from driving hybrid cars, taking public transport, or riding our bikes.

NiceRide, Minneapolis’s bike sharing program costs $75 a year.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from eating less meat.

Afro-Vegan and The Chubby Vegetarian are great places to start!

Donald Trump can’t stop us from buying carbon offsets.

You can buy them through places like CarbonfundCool Effect or TerraPass.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from buying more things secondhand.

If you’re not up for pawing through piles at thrift store, start at Buffalo Exchange or thredUP.

Donald Trump can’t stop us from using LED lightbulbs, adjusting our thermostats, or signing up for wind or solar power.

We use SunShare and love it! And it’s cheaper!

Donald Trump can’t stop us from buying local produce.

The Hmong Farmers’ Market in St. Paul is wonderful! Or join a CSA! We’re signed up for Abraham’s Table and I’m nerdily excited about our first box.

Donald Trump can’t stop us voting with our dollars and supporting companies who favor ethical, environmentally-friendly policies.

Here’s a list of the world’s most sustainable companies, as of 2017. Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Adidas, Colgate/Palmolive, and General Mills made the cut.

When it comes right down to it, Donald Trump can’t stop us. Period.

9 Comments

Emily

Horribly disappointing, but nothing he does is surprising anymore. Thank you for this post, really great ideas in here.

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Nikki

Thank you for the reminder, Sarah! I’m having a hard time with the current state of the world and I often start to feel like I’m powerless and that my small choices don’t matter. That’s just not true though!

If you don’t mind, I’d like to make a few more suggestions that I’ve learned in an effort to reduce waste:

1.) Glass or stainless steel straws
2.) Cloth produce and bulk foods bags (up-cycle some old bedsheets or t-shirts for extra bonus points!) in addition to re-usable grocery bags
3.) Make your own staples! I know it might sound kind of daunting, but for example, learn to bake your own bread! Buy the ingredients in bulk if you can and then use a bread box or an expandable bread storage container. Think about all the plastic you can save if you replace your weekly loaf of bread with a delicious homemade one! I’ve also pretty much stopped buying cereal since I make a big batch of granola each week. It’s delicious and all of the ingredients can be purchased without waste.
3.) Re-usable menstrual products
4.) Ditch paper towels and paper napkins. You can use old t-shirt scraps for paper towel replacements and I’ve been able to find cloth napkins at thrift stores for like ten cents a piece.
5.) Stainless steel razors and bamboo toothbrushes in place of ones made out of plastic
6.) Carry around re-usable cutlery. You can buy bamboo forks, knives, spoons, and sporks, or look for metal ones at a thrift store. A spork is great if you only want to carry one item and bamboo cutlery are really light, so you won’t really notice them in your bag.
7.) Reevaluate your morning coffee routine. Like you suggested, definitely go for a travel mug, but also think about how you get your coffee (or tea). Can you make it at home using a re-usable filter instead of a single-use pod? Can you bring a mason jar of milk to work instead of the single serve creamers? What if you use a spoon to stir your coffee or just put your sweetener or creamer in the mug first, and then pour in the coffee so it mixes on its own rather than using a disposable stir-stick?
8.) Re-usable food wrap. You can DIY or purchase beeswax coated fabric to use as plastic wrap. Just wash in cold water and air dry. Similarly, you can find silicone baggies or sew your own from oilcloth.
9.) Consider investing in a re-fillable pen instead of the cheap plastic ones that you have to throw out when the ink runs dry.
10.) Evaluate your trash and recycling. Households are all different, so see if there are products that seem to pop up in your garbage over and over again and research for alternatives.

Finally, try to see if you can make your zero-waste replacements or buy them second hand. Oh, and be creative with the stuff you already have! The purpose of this exercise isn’t to buy a bunch of new stuff, even if it is kind of fun and exciting.

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Rebekah Jaunty

Whoo hoo, zero waste! Our culture is so convenience-oriented, we’ve gotten used to doing a LOT of things that are outright terrible for other people and the environment. The good news is, we’re smart and we can change.

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Victoria

These are great, Nikki! Just added glass straws and reusable produce bags to my Amazon cart 🙂

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Poorva

Sarah, I’m a little disappointed in you for your recommendation of Thug Kitchen. Yes, they’re vegan… but they’re also two white people appropriating Black culture and identity for profit. I recommend Bryant Terry’s Afro-Vegan instead.

Thank you for this post, though, and the reminder that the orange dumpster fire isn’t actually as powerful as he thinks he is. Another thing he can’t do: stop people from working to elect representatives who actually care about the planet.

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Sarah Von Bargen

That’s a great point, Poorva. Honestly, I’m not vegan and the only time I’ve encountered Thug Kitchen recipes is when someone brings them to a potluck and I’ve always been impressed with the food. But, yes, obviously I wouldn’t want to promote appropriators. Thanks for the head’s up!

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Robyn Petrik

Great ideas in the post and in the comments! I finally bought reusable bags a few weeks ago and I’m kicking myself for not having bought them years ago. My next purchase will be reusable straws.

i know bamboo toothbrushes have already been mentioned, but I wanted to recommend bambrushes.com. You can buy them one at a time or as a subscription service so that you regular have new toothbrushes every couple of months!

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Teresa Benson

Thank you for this. I needed the reminder that not all hope is lost and that there are still things that we can do as individuals. I already use reusable water bottles and grocery bags, but of course there’s more I could be doing.

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