DC’s Recycle Baes: Why a Sustainable Life is Important and How You Can Achieve It

The things we do daily impact the environment, so it is of no surprise that our behaviors and habits can also help to fight against climate change and global warming. As a community, it is important to care for our DC neighborhoods so the next generation can thrive. We believe that everyone can “be green,” but it starts with a change of perspective.

Many of our neighbors assume that spending more money, buying products labeled “organic” or “recycled,” and never using plastic again are the only ways to truly be energy efficient and help fight climate change. The truth is, choosing to be sustainable takes small and intentional steps, self-awareness, dedication and research. We began our journey to becoming the Recycle Baes by first understanding why it is important to live a sustainable life.

The DC community opens its arms to residents from all over, and will continue to do so. Thus, it’s important for us - the residents of DC - to do our part in preserving the environment. As more people begin to move into the city, more energy will be used. DC government organizations, led by Mayor Bowser, help manage energy use and implement sustainable options for all. 

By now you’re aware of the impact climate change has on our finances, but how much do you know about the effect it actually has on our lives?

Climate change is not just about how hot the weather gets. Results directly impact our air - like greenhouse emissions polluting the atmosphere - and cause an increase in health issues.

Globally, increased temperatures also impact the quality of the water, causing more evaporation to occur which leads to droughts. What does that mean for us? Farmers will struggle with producing our food and keeping animals healthy. With droughts comes scarcity in fruits and vegetables, the plants that release oxygen into the atmosphere, and the animals or fish that we ultimately eat. Humidity increases with more evaporation, too—which is horrible for those who have respiratory issues and, on a personal note, it’s horrible for our natural-hair sisters.

Additionally, the quality of water is compromised when extreme storms constantly occur. This is because of the increase of minerals that are dumped into our major bodies of water. Long story short, if water is compromised, sea-life will also be affected. What is life without crab cakes, DC?!

What are some ways you successfully switched to a sustainable household?

When we began our sustainable life journey, we started to look at how to use what we already had as opposed to buying something brand new. We minimized the amount of electronics and appliances in our home to only what we need and use most often.

Our next step was to challenge ourselves by making one small, intentional change in our lives every day towards reducing our carbon footprint—be it unplugging unused devices, taking reusable bags to the grocery store; creating broth, compost and stock with leftover veggies and bones; planting veggies in a garden; walking instead of driving; or using the ceiling fan instead of cranking up the AC.

During the 2020 shut-down, we drank water constantly. Instead of continuing to buy water bottles—plastic, glass or reusable, we decided to get a water filter, which added value to our kitchen. While glass and reusable bottled water is still very much sustainable, this works better for us since now, we’re able to get gallons of clean, filtered water without garbage or waste.

We also began to use a power strip for our electronics, like computers and Justin’s game system. This way when the electronics are off, although still plugged in, the power strip turns off the power source and helps save energy.

What benefits have we seen so far?

One of the biggest benefits so far is the money we have saved. Another benefit that we’ve learned is how to be more resourceful, which came in handy in 2020 for sure! By reusing items that we purchase, we create multiple lives for it and get more bang for our buck.

We also have recognized that we have more space in our home. Let’s not go as far as to call it a minimalist lifestyle, but by reducing the desire to constantly buy things that harm the planet, we produce less waste and have more storage space - which is great for all of Kam’s purses!

The best part about taking steps towards a sustainable life and learning about reducing your carbon footprint is that you can start right now in the comfort of your own home. Most major retailers now have energy efficient versions of items you can use to help save energy and reduce your energy bills.

Small steps can lead to big changes in the way we approach sustainability! Join us in doing our part to help make the District a better, more sustainable city. We challenge you to take the pledge and follow that promise with one thing every day that helps reduce your energy use!

Follow us on social media to get more encouragement as you embark on your sustainability journey!