Tips & Tricks to Live More Sustainably with Meg Haywood Sullivan
Meg Haywood Sullivan is a photographer, Explorers Club member, and co-founder of Plastic Free Fridays. Her heart & career lie at the intersection of creativity, science, and adventure. Meg partnered with CamelBak for their September Sustainability campaign and give a few tips to live a more sustainable life!
Small, Inspired Actions Add Up to Big Results
This photo I took of a washed-up Coke bottle went viral. Like the kind of viral where every ocean conservation non-profit around the globe featured it on their instagram accounts. Sights like this are sadly not uncommon, even in some of the most remote places on our planet. So the story goes I stumbled upon this bottle at the high tide line in Mexico after surfing untouched waves without another human in sight, and it’s an image that will be forever imprinted in my memory. Us. Our massive, inescapable footprint. It was this photograph that helped to launch the Plastic Free Fridays movement that my co-founder Sierra and I created last year.
My journey to living low waste and working as an activist started when I was a teenager lifeguarding the beaches of New England. I remember putting in a full day's work in the sun only to finish my shift and find the beaches covered in trash. After work, I would often spend another 40 minutes on my own picking up the red solo cups and plastic water bottles that were left behind. It bothered me so much and inspired me to take action. I bought my first reusable water bottle and utensil set and vowed to dedicate my life to telling stories that encourage the public to care about our environment. Oftentimes, the best thing we can do is take that very first step.
As a surfer, snowboarder, and all-around nature nerd, I often think about how my daily actions add up and affect the places I like to play, and I know I’m not alone. Our outdoor community represents a whopping 50 million people. 50 million people who adore our mountains and beaches and who live for adventures both near and far. Us outdoor-loving nature folx are on the frontlines of our changing climate and the plastic pollution crisis because we see it everyday encroaching on our beloved trails and waves. The way I see it, it’s our duty to be the best stewards to the environment that we can possibly be, regardless of our political outlooks and personal opinions. It’s all about making environmentalism accessible to all, and about celebrating progress over perfection.
So below I’ve compiled some tips & tricks to help leave Mama Earth a bit better than when we found her. Enjoy and happy trails!
10 Easy Ways to Live More Sustainably
1. Use a low-waste, reef-safe sunscreen
2. Try out sustainably-made surf wax
3. I always bring loads of post-surf snacks with me, so I’ll pack my aluminum tupperware, spork, and reusable water bottle for my favorite treats
4. Pick up 3 for the sea. *Safely* pickup three pieces of trash (or more!) every time you go to the beach
5. Join a local Surfrider Foundation chapter. They have amazing communities around the country of local activists that organize beach cleanups and protests
1. Ditch the plastic and bring a cute, reusable water bottle. I love that I can attach a carabiner to my CamelBak Chute Mag bottle!
2. Make treats ahead of time and wrap in beeswax wrappers. I have a killer recipe for vegan & gluten free brownies you’ll have to ask me about
3. Pick up 3 for the peaks. *Safely* pickup three pieces of trash (or more!) every time you head out on the trail
4. Become a Protect Our Winters member and advocate for climate policy. They make it super easy to get involved with activism
And last but not least, join the Plastic Free Fridays movement and say no to single-use plastic every Friday. It’s harder than it looks, but we are all about celebrating all those steps in the right direction. See you out there!
Here’s why you should ditch disposable and single-use plastic products ASAP.