Addressing Earth Overshoot Day 2020: Cora’s Tips For Sustainable Living
Saturday is Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity will have used “all the biological resources that Earth can renew during the entire year,” as calculated by Global Footprint Network, an environmental research organization. Every year since I started Rêve En Vert, I have watched awareness and compassion grow, but sadly carbon emissions and pollution keep growing as well. We as individuals and businesses must do more to prevent losing the earth as we know it. So today I wanted to list out my top tips for how I live each day in accordance with my values, and also some of the companies I have switched to supporting in my daily life. I hope you find them helpful!
Cora Hilts, REV Co-founder & CEO
A Word From Cora
The reason I started Rêve En Vert was less about how we consume better and more about how we completely amend the companies and individuals we support, the way we think about the economy and overall the sustainability of the world we live in. Every year since I started, I have watched awareness and compassion grow, but sadly carbon emissions and pollution keep growing as well. We as individuals and businesses must do more to prevent losing the earth as we know it.
That is why I wanted to take the opportunity of Earth Overshoot Day to write this piece. I will get more into what exactly Overshoot Day is, but I wanted to preface the rest of my writing to say that as I have become more aware of my individual impact on this earth, as I have become more committed to sustainable living and equality of humanity, and as I have dedicated myself to living a life of fighting against the status quo, I have never been more fulfilled or confident. I do not need to look to others when I know what I am doing is the right thing to do within myself. Living in harmony with nature and my personal values is the strongest I have ever felt.
Working with purpose has alleviated many of the smaller issues that can plague modern day living and I would encourage you all to think about how you can commit yourselves to joining in our fight against climate change and the powers that be, it’s really not as difficult as you might think. For Earth Overshoot Day today I wanted to list out my top tips for how I live each day in accordance with my values, and also some of the companies I have switched to supporting in my daily life that you may want to check out. Thank you all so much for being here!
“Living in harmony with nature and my personal values is the strongest I have ever felt.”
What is Earth Overshoot Day?
Saturday is Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity will have used “all the biological resources that Earth can renew during the entire year,” as calculated by Global Footprint Network, an environmental research organization. This has been measured year on year ever since 2006, and each year this day has been creeping up and up and up to the huge detriment of people and planet. Humanity currently uses 60% more than what can be renewed – or as much as if we lived on 1.6 planets. If the whole world consumed like the United States does, by the way, we would’ve hit Overshoot Day on March 14th this year [New York Times]. The way we in the Western world consume is that powerful when it comes to the impact on our earth.
This year, we hit Earth Overshoot Day three weeks later than the last due to the decreased emissions from the pandemic. It is a good thing that worldwide emissions dropped by over 9%, but it is a devastating thing to think of the human loss and sacrifice that came with this. We need sustainable solutions that see emissions dropping even more than this, and one thing we can learn from this horrible disease is that it is possible for us to come together and create incredible change when we need to. But wouldn’t it be so much better if it didn’t take a crisis to achieve this movement?
“One thing we can learn from this horrible disease is that it is possible for us to come together and create incredible change when we need to.”
10 Things I do to Engage in a Better World
I thought long and hard about the things that I have incorporated into my day to day life in order to make sure my actions align with my values and I wanted to share these all with you in the hope that they would inspire you to find your own ways to engage with the points below!
1. Educate Yourself and Speak Up
Don’t shy away from the hard conversations. Ironically this might be one of the hardest things to do when the news can be so dark and overwhelming. 2020 is the hottest year thus far on record with forest fires blazing from Australia to California, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and as an American, I am watching the most important election in my opinion in the history of our country. It can be a lot. But knowing what the stakes are is one of the most important things we can all do so the burden of necessity is shared.
I am reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wells Wallace, and you can also listen to him on the Goop podcast. Also the On Fire by Naomi Klein. Sign up for the climate update from the NY Times too!
2. Regenerative, Organic Agriculture: Find Your Local Farmer’s Market!
I was introduced to the idea that regenerative agriculture could help curb our carbon emissions drastically and heal our broken healthcare systems. We have destroyed our soil with pesticides and irresponsible farming by big agriculture companies and it’s no longer able to effectively capture carbon or provide nutrients.
Buying organic produce looking for regenerative farmers is SO important. To learn more please follow Zach Bush and listen to him on the Goop podcast, also watch The Biggest Little Farm (get the tissues!).
3. Train Over Plane, Bike or Walk Over Cars
This we all know – planes have absolutely enormous carbon footprints. If you must fly, try to go long haul and cut down on those short haul flights. See if a train can get you there – we took the eurostar from London to Marseilles last year and it was so excellent. Much less stressful and way less travel guilt!
4. Invest in Solar Energy!
Find a provider or if you are privileged enough to be able to afford solar panels, invest in them. I know solar panels are still extremely expensive, my husband and I are saving up now to get them installed on our house but it’s going to take a couple of years to invest in those!
In the meantime, we have found Bulb to provide solar energy for our flat in London. Ecotricity is another great option here in the UK and all you need is a quick search on the internet to find a local solar provider for most of us!
5. Eat More Plants & Less Meat
Especially meat that is not locally and ethically reared. Conventional livestock agriculture creates more greenhouse gases than cars, trains, planes and ships combined – livestock is also the reason behind much of the world’s deforestation, namely in the Amazon. Cutting back on meat and dairy is a no brainer for environmentalists, you don’t have to cut it out entirely of course (I still eat cheese!) but it’s important to try and buy locally and ethically reared meat and dairy if you possibly can.
I know it’s more expensive but if you spend more on less and fill out the rest of your diet with plants than the planet, and your own health, will benefit! Watch Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers on Netflix for a bit more information on plant based eating.
6. Avoid Plastic (Petroleum) in the Obvious and Not So Obvious Places
Absolutely invest in a reusable water bottle, but you also need to look at your clothing for plastics – clothing made from synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon are contributing to microplastic pollution in our oceans. Please see our last editorial on detoxing our activewear and yoga routines for a bit more context here!
We have also put together an editorial on plastic-free fashion swaps for tips on the simple ways you can avoid plastic in your wardrobe!
7. Shop Local & Ditch Corporate Companies!
Shop small, local, independent, diverse and ditch corporate companies. Look at the personal wealth of Jeff Bezos and think, do we need more billionaires and millionaires? Not only is it wonderful to support your local independent businesses, but this has also helped me to get to know other likeminded people in my community!
If you’re in East London, check out some of my favourite sustainable local spots in our guide, here.
As an American, I cannot think of a more important thing to do this year than cast a ballot against the people currently in power. Go to I am a Voter to understand how best to vote in this upcoming election if you are an American citizen – remember in this election that every single ballot will count.
And for all those living outside the States, when any election comes up on your side please remember the importance of voting in officials who believe in climate policy, equal opportunity and diversity, women’s rights, and curbing corporate interests. These are the people who are our voices in government and I cannot emphasize the importance of casting an opinion on who represents you.
9. Avoid Fast Fashion at all Costs
This is a trillion dollar industry that is responsible for so much harm. I would suggest following Aja Barber and Venetia La Manna who will speak more eloquently than I can about all the thousands of reasons to abstain from fast fashion! Another great resource is Lily Cole’s podcast episode with The Business Of Fashion.
I have always been an advocate for buying better – choosing the pieces that are sustainably and ethically made, and designed to last. I really don’t own many clothes! The pieces I do have in my wardrobe, I wear over and over again. Special mention to my E.L.V. Denim Jeans and The White Briefs basics! For my pieces that need special care, I go to BLANC for sustainable dry cleaning.
10. Browse With Ecosia
I wanted to end on something incredibly simple that everyone who’s on the web can do – switch your web browser to Ecosia! Ecosia use the profit they make from our web searches to plant trees where they are needed most.
10 Good Decisions I Have Made Recently!
Just switched my bank to an ethical one called Triodos that is amazing, you can see where your money is invested – including to organic farms and care for the elderly.
Inspired by our 10 sustainable bathrooms swaps, I have ordered sustainable, plastic free toilet paper from the very cute company Who Gives a Crap.
Refilled my household cleaning products at Fin and Earth.
Just signed up for Farmdrop to get everything that I am not able to from the farmer’s market in the most sustainable way possible.
Ordered wine from Low Intervention to get my hands easily on some natural wines (needed in 2020!).
For my birthday, I have asked my family to donate to Trees for the Future for me.
Planned a visit to The Newt for the garden meal lunch on route to Devon for a staycation with my husband.
Planned to dine at Joy for my birthday dinner – I am so excited to see a restaurant in London that is this invested in local, organic food!
Asked my husband for an organic kefir cake from Spring.
Got my hair done sustainably at Buller and Rice, who use organic, vegan products and try to maintain a plastic free salon.