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Monday, September 11, 2017

Celebrating Autumn Sustainably and Vegan

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                           Here you are, September, and welcome!


I don’t know about all of you out there, but I have been excited for autumn for a while. With its chilly days, colorful trees, Halloween parties and pumpkin spice everything, it’s the best time of the year. I have been ready for it to start at least since the beginning of August, and more even more intensely in the last couple of weeks. The bad thing is that some of the ways I used to celebrate are not so friendly for others on the planet. So, in honor of the first day of autumn coming up next week, here are some ways to prepare for it and celebrate in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.



1.     Make your own pumpkin spice treats
What else says autumn like pumpkin spice? Not much, really. Unfortunately, quite a few of the treats that you would like to enjoy are not vegan, and the replacement products can be pricey. So my first tip is to find ways to make your own treats rather than buying them.  That way you can make sure that you don’t accidentally buy something that is not vegan, but you also help the planet while reducing plastic waste, have a fun time making something new, and your house will smell good! Here are some of the best recipes that I found online for all your pumpkin spice needs!



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2.     Changing up your wardrobe ethically and sustainably


As the seasons change, it’s usual to think about ways to change your wardrobe. The cooler days of autumn come, and sometimes you find that you may need to get some warmer clothes, or maybe they don’t fit anymore, or you just need a long overdue clothing update. In any case, here are some ways that you can modify your attire while staying cruelty-free and lessening your consumption of goods, leading to less of an environmental impact.


a.     Don’t buy without consideration! By thinking about your purchases and not being swayed by fashion trends may actually help you save money. That savings can be used to buy from companies that while higher priced, may last you longer and also be produced ethically and sustainably.

b.     Look for clothing that is free from artificial dyes, synthetic fabrics, animal products, etc. This is admittedly one of the harder steps, as most of the clothing sold in the US has one of these in it/made from it because of how it is easy to make cheap clothing like this for a better profit. Though I think that still, the more you are aware of this, all the better. And perhaps if this were to catch on, then more companies would feel the need to invest in more sustainable ways of making clothing.

c.      Find a sustainable way to get rid of your used clothing.  There is yet to be found a really good way for reusing and recycling textiles but you can use the options that available to you in your area. Donating to Goodwill or another thrift store is an option, and the chain store H&M will actually give you a 15% discount on their clothes for a bag of used items (doesn’t have to be their brand either) that you bring in. If you are able to, another good option would be to have a clothing swap with some friends. The best option for really worn clothing is to recycle them, but only some areas have the recycling facilities to do this. More than a dozen local governments in states including Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, have implemented curbside textile pickup.


3.     Having autumn fun in an ethical and sustainable way


Autumn is the perfect time to get outside and have fun with the family, may it be an orchard or maybe a fall festival. Thankfully, doing this in a way that is good for you, the planet and other beings is relatively easy.


A trip to the orchard or the pumpkin patch is one of the best ways to have some great fall fun. Most places are also perfect because no animals are harmed, and the fruit can be eaten and the waste composted (this goes for the pumpkin also). The only thing you need to watch out for is if the location has a petting zoo, like the orchard/family fun farm that is near me does.

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There are I’m sure some fall festivals going on in your area, and luckily this is also something that can be enjoyed ethically and sustainably with maybe only a few preparations. There shouldn’t be much that you should have to worry about on the ethical point. As a vegan, avoiding food places that serve meat and dairy is relatively easy but there may not be many choices available to you after that, depending on the size of your festival. When I go I seek out the places that are more vegan-friendly and I usually choose items that are fruit based or that are customizable.


Making your visit sustainable is relatively easy as well. To avoid waste, you can bring reusable serving items to get your food and drink on. Bring a glass or metal water bottle with you for something to drink, and some festivals that I have been to have a vendor that sells root beer and other sodas on tap (with purchase of a metal cup) to avoid the plastic waste. Thankfully if you do have to go with the standard options for getting your yummy food, most festivals also have a way to recycle any food waste you might have.

All in all, this season is a wonderful time and you can enjoy it, even more, when you know that the all the autumn fun you have had is in line with your values of compassion and sustainability.


Have a Happy Autumn!

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