Sharing Adventures From the Seat of My Bicycle

Sharing Adventures From the Seat of My Bicycle

Riding a bicycle is a beautiful way to reduce carbon emissions and have rewarding adventures while exploring the world.

My passion for bicycling began years ago when I purchased a Miyata Trail Runner Mountain bicycle.  My bike partner joined me riding in the woodlands in the Adirondacks on free weekends. We bike-packed our tent, sleeping bags, food, and fishing poles. It was great fun!

My bike riding slowed down as I became busy raising my children, but about twelve years ago, I jumped back on the saddle.  Since then, I have spent countless miles riding the rails to trails – an adventure that has rejuvenated my mind, health, and spirit.

I have seen incredible sights that I would have missed by traveling in a vehicle.  

Pedaling through the tranquil scenery of the forest, along the banks of rivers, streams, and fields of wild plants, I ponder many questions, like how old are the deciduous and pine trees along the trail? The circumference of these secondary-growth forests is enormous. If trees could speak, what would they tell us about history, romance, and changing times in all cycles and genres of life? What kinds of birds and butterflies migrate, and what is happening in the process and diversity of wildlife concerning our changing climate? I think of people in years past riding on the train and viewing the countryside as we do only from a bicycle seat. Where were they heading? What were they taking in from their views of the countryside?

Once abandoned, rail tracks have become a great trail system and growing in the U.S. to 25,000 miles. 

For example, the Great American Rail Trail from Washington State to Washington, D.C., boasts 3,700 miles, not including 145 existing rail trails, greenways, and other multi-use trails. In the southwestern corridor of Pennsylvania, a path that has expanded from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., known as the Greater Allegheny Passage Trail (GAP), is approximately 150 miles to Cumberland, Maryland. It then connects to the C&O Canal towpath to Washington, D.C., nearly 335 miles.  

These rail-to-trail systems are fabulous for people who love the outdoors and explore nature through birding, hiking, running, walking, bicycling, and more. In addition, towns and small cities close to being dormant have revitalized as the need for a place to stay, eat, and rest are becoming more popular. 

Yvonne Dwyer Biking on a Rail Trail
One such place is the Morguen Toole Company Hotel, located in Meyersdale, PA. 

One such place is the Morguen Toole Company Hotel, located in Meyersdale, PA.  I recently stopped here on a bike ride and chatted with the owner.  He told me that if it were not for the rail-to-trail system, many small towns that were once thriving due to rail service and other industrial jobs would be ghost towns. On the other hand, the local owners of small businesses such as restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and museums are grateful for the trail system and restoration of their local economy.  

Riding a bicycle is a beautiful way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise your body and reduce carbon emissions. We appreciate and respect those who work on the recreation trail systems connecting corridors so that everyone enjoys these beautiful all-purpose trails.

Written by Yvonne Dwyer

Written by Yvonne Dwyer

Master Naturalist and OPL Content Contributor

“It is truly an honor for me to be a contributor to One Planet Life. By sharing my experiences and lifetime of learning, I hope to inspire conservation, sustainability, stewardship, and awareness of enjoying the natural wonders of the world for the wellbeing of people and the planet.”

Unraveling Fast Fashion, its Impact, and How Consumers Can Demand Better

Unraveling Fast Fashion, its Impact, and How Consumers Can Demand Better

Fast fashion is having a significant impact on people and the planet. We reached out to an expert to learn more.

One Planet Life had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Karin J. Bohleke, director of the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University, regarding the varied impacts of fast fashion, its historic rise in popularity, and how we, as consumers, can make changes to shift the tide in support of a more sustainable model. 

Q: What is your definition of fast fashion, and how do you think it’s impacted today’s fashion industry?

A: When I think about fast fashion, I think about the rapid production of multiple collections by design houses – and by that, I don’t necessarily mean designers in the French “couture” sense of the term – and the constant disposability of goods that have to be replaced very quickly by new items. 

When you think about it, historically, designers had to come out with their spring/summer, fall/winter, and their resort collections. They only had to come up with three collections per year, so they could spend time developing their ideas. Now, young designers are expected to turn out a new collection every three to six weeks. It leads to burnout, poor designs, and overproduction.

 rapid production of multiple collections by design houses
Q: What are some of the environmental consequences of fast fashion, and how do they compare to past historical fashion practices?

A: There are several issues at stake; one is the dye agents, the colorants used for the fabrics. The United States outsourced most of its dye houses to developing nations, so their waterways would be polluted and not our own. Traditional dyeing operations also require a lot of water.

Another aspect is that most clothing is made using artificial fibers, and many of them are petroleum-based. When we are talking about natural fibers such as cotton, increased production leads to increased use of pesticides. 

The popularity of certain fibers is damaging the environment. Most cashmere comes from Mongolia. Western greed for cashmere has led Mongolians to increase the number of cashmere goat herds, and they are devastating the environment in Mongolia. So we have an active consumption issue there due to species overpopulation. That’s another example. 

And when you think about the greenhouse gasses for production all along the way – we’re using water, we’re using land, we’re putting emissions into the air. 

There are also labor costs associated with cheap fast fashion – and that is outsourced sweatshop labor. Since many of these workers are women, it does entrap women in cycles of poverty.

Q: That actually leads to another topic I wanted to touch on – the exploitation of workers, low-income communities, and some methods on how we can address this issue.

A: Fair trade is becoming an important factor in mitigating this through fair wage concepts, but sometimes companies get away with ignoring this through a series of subcontracts. By the time you get to the sweatshop, you have subcontracted from fair trade and more expensive labor to unmonitored, exploitative labor. 

There are technological advances taking place to use less water with dyes. In other countries, they are growing hemp, which works the same way as cotton and linen do; and I’m simplifying here. Hemp requires a fraction of the water and a fraction of the pesticides but can produce the same amount of yardage with smaller land plots. So there is some shifting to sustainable fibers.

There are a number of companies that are investing in zero-carbon production. There are also companies in Sweden that are taking innovative steps towards fiber recycling so abandoned clothing can be taken out of the landfill and turned into either clothing or something else. This is where our manmade fibers are an issue because they don’t recycle as easily as natural fibers do. If you’ve got 100% wool, 100% cotton, 100% linen, 100% silk – that recycles more readily than artificial polyester and similar petroleum-based fibers that are often complex blends.

Q: Looking at the shift into fast fashion, can you pinpoint when that started to take place and why?

A: The roots really begin in the late 1960s with the Youthquake fashions. That’s when you start to see fads that change quickly. It was the expectation, particularly among young people, that they were going to change their styles quickly. The difference is that things were still very well made during this time period. When you pick up a dress from the 1960s, it’s beautifully made, even if it was considered sort of disposable at the time. 

Even remembering my own shopping days as a college student in the 1980s and 1990s; I still own pieces that I bought at that time that are amazingly well done. I really blame more recent decades for the fast fashion that we now associate with very low-quality fabrics as a base, as well as simplified construction. A lot of fast fashion is going back to simple T-shaped designs: everything is based on squares and rectangles. 

1960s Dress
Q: Would you say that fast fashion is highly representative of women’s fashion more than men’s? Or has that shifted as we see trends change?

A: Yes and no. It hits women harder. They want us to be clothes horses, constantly changing our wardrobes and our outfits. It is hitting men in another way. You will never get away with removing the pockets in a man’s work trousers, like your dressy khaki. Guys would never do without that, but women now get excited when a garment comes with a built-in pocket because it is so rare. But I have noticed over the years in shopping for my husband that the quality of fabrics is going down for men as well. It’s not as bad as it is for women, but I’ve noticed it. I’ve also seen it in, for example, unisex goods such as T-shirts. The fabric quality is deteriorating for both men and for women – getting thinner and thinner. The fibers are very badly spun. And these are the T-shirts that start developing spontaneous holes by the third wash.

Q: From your perspective, how can consumers make informed decisions about the clothes they buy and reduce their contribution to the fast fashion industry?

A: I’m actually a 19th-century specialist, but the attitudes towards clothing they had back then are very relevant today. They had a number of proverbs, and one was, “Don’t throw good money after bad.” We work hard for our money and should vote with our wallets. Don’t buy something that’s badly made that is going to fall apart. That’s the first thing I would recommend to anybody. We are better off saving our money and buying a higher quality product. 

I’d also say, and this is another 19th-century principle that’s highly relevant, “Buy less but buy well.” We don’t need a ton of pieces in our wardrobe. We need classic, quality garments that will last. Say you get a T-shirt. It’s the perfect color. You love it. You pay $10 for it, and it falls apart. It’s developing those holes in the third wash, and you’ve worn it, let’s say, six times. How much did that T-shirt cost per wear? Whereas say you save up money and buy a $25 or $30 T-shirt that is really good cotton and is really going to last, and you wear that T-shirt for two years. Which item is more expensive? 

The fast fashion industry is seducing us with a low price at the purchase point and trying to make us think that we won’t notice that we’re actually having to spend more to have fewer wearable items in our wardrobe. 

I’d also say that, especially our staple goods, the things we come back to again and again – those are the ones where we do want to spend and invest good money. The ephemeral things, the fads, save that for accessories. ‘FAD’ stands for ‘For A Day.’ That’s how long it’s fashionable.

Q: Can you speak more to the rise of vintage fashions?

I love going to vintage clothing stores. As a student preparing for job interviews, I bought a tailored suit in the 1980s that I still wear, and all I did was take out the jumbo shoulder pads.  I substituted thinner shoulder pads, and the suit is still a knockout. It’s a skirt with a jacket inspired by the fashions of the 1940s. The skirt even has two pockets! The lines of the jacket are fabulous. It’s a gorgeous 100% wool exterior, and it’s still pristine after many wearings. 

We also need to learn to repair our clothes and maintain our wardrobes. 

Some of the classic problems, especially if you have wools, of course, revolve around keeping the moths at bay. That’s where a nice garment bag can help. 

The typical repair you have to deal with is a button falling off. Learning to sew a button on yourself is a basic skill, right up there with learning how to swim. Sometimes a hook will come off, and functionally, that’s the same thing. Every now and again, a seam will split. That’s an easy thing to fix as well. So we’re not talking about developing extensive skills. These are things that don’t necessarily require investment in a sewing machine unless you have a real interest in learning how to alter and make your own clothing. 

Vintage Clothing Store
Person sewing button nto shirt

Jazzing up a jacket can be as simple as replacing the buttons for a new look. There are tricks too. Say you lose a main button, but there’s a similar one on the cuff. You can take the one from the cuff to keep this line preserved and then maybe even put something different on the cuffs. Nobody will notice. Or if you lose a top button, you take a button from the bottom and put it on the top. Put the slight mismatch down below, away from your face, and nobody will notice.

Q: How do you see the fashion industry changing within the next five to 10 years?

A: I think that any change will have to be consumer driven. As long as the shoddy goods associated with fast fashion remain profitable, that business model will continue to exist. Not to be negative, but it underscores the importance of consumers voting with their wallets. Really, education has to take place at the consumer level, and I think a lot of change is driven by young people who are waking up to the real economic costs of fast fashion. But at the same time, their own education is short-changing so many of them: traditional home economics courses have largely vanished from most high school curricula, and if no one is at home who can teach them about clothing care, they have to look elsewhere to learn. Fortunately, there are many online venues, but they have to want to make the effort, and, speaking more broadly, everyone has to commit to personal change. 

Written by Carley Kimball

Written by Carley Kimball

Freelance Journalist and OPL Content Contributor

“I’ve always tried to implement planet-friendly practices in my life but didn’t quite realize just how much of an impact individuals can make until I was introduced to One Planet Life. I’m so excited to be able to utilize my professional skills to contribute valuable information and positive personal experiences to help make the world a better place.”

Tofu 101: How to Master this Versatile Protein

Tofu 101: How to Master this Versatile Protein

The more you know about tofu, the easier it will be to master this versatile protein.

Tofu may seem intimidating if you’ve never cooked with it before, and preparing it incorrectly may lead you to believe that tofu is squishy, tasteless, and unappetizing.  If you’ve been disappointed or intimidated by tofu, you’re not alone.

Tofu is made from mature soybeans that are soaked and boiled until soy milk is produced, then the milk is curdled and pressed into blocks in much the same way as dairy cheese is made.  It is a healthy, high-protein alternative to meat products which requires minimal processing and emits 12.5 times less greenhouse gas emissions than beef.


Follow these helpful tips and tricks to master this healthy and versatile ingredient:
Choose the right tofu. 

Not all tofu is the same!  Silken or soft-block tofu is best when used in creamy foods like smoothies, blended soups, pudding desserts, and salad dressings.  Medium soft tofu is best used in miso soup or other dishes that don’t require much handling (as it will break up if treated too roughly).  Firm and extra-firm tofu are the hardiest varieties and are best used in recipes where the tofu is stir-fried or handled more roughly. 

Firm Tofu
Always drain and press your block tofu.

Silken tofu doesn’t require pressing (you can drain it and eat it raw!), but all firmer block tofu should be pressed.  To do so, wrap the tofu in a towel or absorbent cloth and sandwich it between two cutting boards.  Place something heavy (a cast-iron pot or a few pounds of potatoes) on top of the cutting board, which will apply pressure and squeeze any excess water out of the tofu. Press the tofu for 10 minutes.

Wrapped Tofu
Pressed Tofu
Marinate the tofu.

Once your block tofu is pressed, you’ll want to marinate it, so it becomes a flavorful component of your dish.  Scratch-made marinades are the best for ensuring a flavor profile that compliments the rest of your dish, but in a pinch, you can use any oil-based bottled salad dressing (like a robust Italian dressing) to give your tofu a boost of flavor.  Pressing and then marinating your tofu is essential to making a flavorful tofu-based dish!

Cook tofu with care. 

Tofu can become a crispy, delicious part of your dish if prepared correctly.  Pan-frying it will give it a golden brown crust, but if you’re craving something crunchy, try tossing cubed tofu with a tablespoon of oil, tamari, or soy sauce, and 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch before baking it in the oven.  You can also air-fry tofu with delicious, crispy results.  

Now that you know the basics of tofu – get out there and try it! 

There are a ton of great recipes online. To get started, try these two tofu recipes submitted by One Planet Life home chefs:

Matar “Paneer” with Tofu Makes an Easy Vegan Weeknight Meal

Surprisingly Good Parmesan Tofu Cutlets in Mariana Sauce

Make Simple Changes to Drastically Cut Waste Generated in Your Kitchen

Make Simple Changes to Drastically Cut Waste Generated in Your Kitchen

Put Eco-friendly Alternatives to Work for You to Cut Waste in Your Kitchen.

Do you find yourself pulling several paper towels off the roll for every mess? How about reaching for single-use plastics like water bottles and plastic wrap more often than not? Is your trash overflowing with smelly food scraps? You’re not alone. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce the amount of waste in your kitchen.

Explore the Eco-Friendly Alternatives. 

Did you know that the average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees? This amounts to about two billion trees per year, according to data from Middle Georgia University. The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year would be enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.

Paper towels are a huge source of unnecessary waste that falls into that category. Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels a year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It’s not surprising when you consider families go through an average of nearly two rolls a week. A whopping 110 million trees are downed annually to produce paper towels alone.

Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to help clean up messes in the kitchen and beyond.

Cloth towel rolls, often made of flannel or cotton to easily stick together and include a simple stitch along the edges to prevent fraying, are super easy to make for the novice seamstress. If sewing isn’t your thing, we recommend the ones pictured here from Cheeks Ahoy.  A quick search on Etsy can deliver plenty of variations to choose from – plus, you’re supporting a small business!  

Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels
Swedish Dishcloths have taken the sustainability world by storm.

By adding a few of these absorbent little squares to my kitchen, I’ve been able to nearly cut paper towels out of my life. They are super absorbent, compact to store, and easy to keep clean for everyday use. 

“Invented by a Swedish engineer in 1949, the rags are made of 100 percent naturally biodegradable cellulose or a combination of wood pulp and renewable cotton,” writer Ashlea Halpern noted. “They are superabsorbent, able to soak up 20 times their own weight in liquid. They are soft and pliable when wet but dry quickly in between uses.”

Looking for a cheap and simple solution to replace old paper towels? Cut your old bath towels and cotton t-shirts into squares. Not only will you be giving this fabric a second life, but well-used cotton is ultra absorbent! This is a completely cost-free solution you can implement immediately. 

Still not sure if this Joyful Change will make an impact? Think again. If each American household swapped just one roll of paper towels for a recycled version, nearly 54,000 trees could be saved each year!

Plastic wrap is another culprit for unnecessary trash in the kitchen.

That sticky, flimsy plastic cannot be recycled because it contains PVC. Considering that 5.3 million Americans used ten or more rolls of plastic wrap in 2020 alone, landfills are filling up fast. When sent to the dump, plastic cling film can take about 450 years to decompose. That’s where beeswax wraps can save the day. Instead of breaking out the roll of harmful, single-use plastic, invest in a few different sizes of beeswax wraps – fabric squares, often organic cotton, coated in naturally produced beeswax that you can rinse off and use over and over again. 

Speaking of flimsy plastic, we all know how intrusive plastic grocery store bags have become in the environment.

Make the switch to a canvas tote or foldable tote bag instead. Stash one in your car, purse, or backpack so you always have one available for those spur-of-the-moment stops at the local grocery store or farmer’s market. Do you have some flimsy bags tucked in a drawer at home? Do some research on where you can take these to recycle since most curbside recycling can’t utilize them. A lot of grocery stores have drop-off bins available for these items.

Canvas Tote Bags
Do you find yourself packing plastic water bottles and single-use cutlery into your family’s lunches?

These items are notorious for overloading landfills and aren’t easily recycled. Instead, opt for a water filtration system and encourage reusable water bottles in your household. Filtration systems give you that same fresh taste, and reusable bottles will often keep water cold for much longer. To cut down on single-use cutlery, try substituting a washable set, like the pouch sets we have available in our eco-store.              

Give Composting a Try.

We’re all trying our best to combat the food waste problem. However, we inevitably end up with bits and pieces of food that get tossed into the trash can – potato peels, coffee grounds, or the moldy cucumber that never made it to our lunchtime salad. Before you toss this waste into the trash can, consider composting it. 

What exactly is composting? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, composting entails the following:

“A controlled, aerobic (oxygen-required) process that converts organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil amendment or mulch through natural decomposition. The end product is compost – a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling material. Microorganisms feed on the materials added to the compost pile during the composting process. They use carbon and nitrogen to grow and reproduce, water to digest materials, and oxygen to breathe.”

By composting anything from kitchen scraps to yard trimmings, you are implementing a resourceful habit of managing waste in a more sustainable way. All you need to get started is a compost bin in your kitchen. In no time, you’ll be able to generate free, high-quality soil for your houseplants or garden.

If you have space to set up a compost pit in your backyard, be sure to allow for enough room to turn over your compost regularly for even decomposition. If you live in an urban area, check out our map of curated composting services nationwide to get started.  

Composting is an easy and rewarding sustainable practice; you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!

Pro Tip: Add some earthworms to your compost pit, “Vermicomposting,” to help speed up the decomposition process!

Save electricity in your kitchen.

In the market for a new kitchen appliance? Look for the blue “Energy Star” designation for energy-efficient models. The United States Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency has even teamed up to create a free online resource to search for efficient models. 

If your refrigerator is over 15 years old, consider looking for a new one. It’s likely using twice the amount of energy than a new Energy Star certified model! Make sure to recycle your old one, too; by properly recycling your old refrigerator and replacing it with a new Energy Star-certified version, you can save more than $260 over the 12-year lifetime of the product. 

Dishwashers are another appliance worth upgrading in your kitchen. A standard-sized Energy Star certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and can save you about 3,800 gallons of water over its lifetime. 

In 2020 alone, Energy Star certified appliances helped save more than 520 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and avoid $42 billion in energy costs. These savings resulted in associated emission reductions of more than 400 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses, roughly equivalent to more than 5% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions. 

Food production constitutes 8-16% of the total national energy consumption in the US, according to the Yale Environmental Review. Cooking accounts for 20% of consumers’ energy use. Refrigeration and dishwashing evenly split the remaining energy demand.

Is a gas or electric oven more efficient? The typical gas stove in America is only 40% efficient, whereas its electric counterpart is 80%, according to a 2013 study, “Review Energy consumption during cooking in the residential sector of developed nations: A review.  However, when you take a more holistic view of how each form of energy is generated, researchers determined that electric stoves powered with gas are the more efficient choice by approximately 20%. 

Cooking methods can affect the amount of energy we use in the kitchen. Curious as to whether specialty appliances, like rice cookers and electric kettles, are more efficient? Most studies determined that these specialty appliances are more efficient than ovens and stovetops.

“The microwave showed trends that were less clear, but seems to emerge victorious for small portions and foods with short cook times,” the Yale Environmental Review reported.  

Simple practices, such as cooking in large batches, putting a lid on a pot during cooking, and cooking food in full pots, are easy habits that can make a big difference in cutting energy waste in the kitchen.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends a few additional tips to implement when preparing meals:

  • Only use as much water as you need – boiling extra takes more time and energy.
  • Always cover your pots and pans – the water will boil faster and use less energy to heat your food.
  • Turn off the heat a couple of minutes before your food is fully cooked – particularly if you’ve got an electric hob, as they take some time to cool down and will continue to cook your food.
  • Don’t open the oven door repeatedly – you’ll let out hot air and waste energy. If you can, take a look through the glass door instead.

These tips are just a few simple ways your family can contribute to creating a more sustainable space. With a room as versatile as the kitchen, the possibilities are truly endless. Be sure to track and measure your efforts to reduce waste in your kitchen. Get the One Planet Life app and select the Reduce Waste Journey.

Written by Carley Kimball

Written by Carley Kimball

Freelance Journalist and OPL Content Contributor

“I’ve always tried to implement planet-friendly practices in my life but didn’t quite realize just how much of an impact individuals can make until I was introduced to One Planet Life. I’m so excited to be able to utilize my professional skills to contribute valuable information and positive personal experiences to help make the world a better place.”

New Year, New You, Renewed Planet: One Planet Life Can Help You Live Sustainably

New Year, New You, Renewed Planet: One Planet Life Can Help You Live Sustainably

Resolve to Live Sustainably in 2023 and Track Joyful Changes in the One Planet Life App

New Year’s Resolutions can be tough. Establishing new habits often comes with a mountain of challenges, which can derail your goals for the upcoming year. It’s more important now than ever to shrink our collective carbon footprint and stay on track with our individual sustainability goals. The right knowledge and tools to support our efforts can make all the difference. How can we possibly stay motivated to turn new habits into regular routines when life gets busy? One Planet Life has the perfect tool for you.

The One Planet Life App, first launched last February, has grown into a wonderful community of like-minded goal-setters that support each other to make lifestyle changes that positively impact the planet.

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, How are habits formed: Modeling habit formation in the real world, researchers found that, on average, it takes more than two months (66 days) before a new behavior becomes second nature. Setting goals, tracking progress in real-time and having a community to share tips and struggles can help habits stick.

One Planet Life helps people track their sustainability goals in a familiar way, like tracking progress on a fitness app. 

Users can set goals for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and celebrate everyday victories. With the Life Center Sustainable Living Dashboard, you can easily see just how much of an impact your Joyful Changes are making, and the pounds of CO2 emissions you are saving through each action. App users can also earn Planet Points, and stay motivated by seeing just how much of a difference their active changes make as they add up throughout the year. 

One  Planet Life App

One of the greatest aspects of the app is the community within it. Users communicate with others working through similar eco-journeys, offer tips, compete in challenges, share recipes, and more! The focused social platform makes it easy to stay motivated by sharing in each other’s sustainability goal achievements.

Knowledge is Power

The idea for One Planet Life has been over two decades in the making. Founder Lorie Buckingham was first inspired to create a platform like One Planet Life because she struggled to find accurate information about our individual impacts on the environment.

“There was an obtuseness to information and lots of dubious information to drive purchases,” she shared. “I was asking simple questions: ‘Where was this tomato grown? What chemicals were sprayed on it?’ It was almost impossible to get any information.”

One of One Planet Life’s best features is an active blog accessible online or through the app. Our team works hard to sort through the overwhelming amount of information online to bring accurate, peer-reviewed, relevant content to help our community succeed along their eco-journeys.

“The journey for information continued because knowledge is power,” Buckingham said. “Over time, I began to work to reduce my carbon footprint. Starting small, I have been decreasing it more each year. I continue to work on my journey to live a sustainable lifestyle.”

Jump into Eco-Journeys to Maximize Impact

Not sure where to start? One Planet Life has established six unique journeys that come with their own series of Joyful Changes, focusing on different types of sustainability goals. If these journeys don’t work for you, you can also customize your own path by choosing from 121 different Joyful Changes to pursue. Once you master a Joyful Change, you can then turn it into a Lifestyle Habit.


The Green Nest Journey focuses specifically on changes you can make around your home to reduce waste, energy, water, and more. Through this journey, you can make the largest impact and cut 1 ton, 1,405 lbs of carbon emissions per year.

Here are the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward:

  • Changing your thermostat one degree daily
  • Replace one incandescent lightbulb with an LED lightbulb once per quarter
  • Turn off electronics when not in use daily

CO2 Reduced: 1 ton, 1,405 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 37,550 
Duration: 12 Months

One Planet Life Green Nest Journey App Screen
One Planet Life Travel Lite Journey

This journey is perfect for the frequent traveler! It’s no secret that traveling can really add up when it comes to carbon emissions. On average, carbon emissions can total over 500 lbs per passenger, per hour of flight in a Boeing 737 or Boeing 747, Carbon Independent estimates. Choosing first class adds even more emissions, according to a 2020 study by the International Council on Clean Transportation. 

Through this journey, your goals can add up to saving 1 ton, 492 lbs of carbon emissions per year. However, by implementing additional changes, like choosing drivable travel destinations and dropping flights altogether, you can make an even larger impact! 

Here’s a sneak peek of the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward: 

  • Downshift from a flight to a drive for your next vacation
  • Bring reusable containers on your trip
  • Dine at a local restaurant on your trip

CO2 Reduced: 1 ton, 492 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 23,560 
Duration: 12 Months


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! By giving everyday items a second life, you are cutting down on the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill. This eco-journey helps you change your mindset in everyday situations that add up quickly. You can cut 1 ton 66 lbs of carbon emissions per year through this eco-journey.

Here’s a sneak peek of the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward: 

  • Use a reusable water bottle daily
  • Use reusable shopping bags four times per month
  • Buy recycled or secondhand products

CO2 Reduced: 1 ton, 66 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 65,005 
Duration: 12 Months

One Planet Life Reduce Waste Journey
One Planet Life Plastic Be Gone Journey

We all know that plastic has become a major environmental issue. By choosing to replace single-use plastics with reusable options, carbon emission savings quickly add up! You’ll save 1,078 lbs of carbon emissions per year by choosing this eco-journey.

Here’s a sneak peek of the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward: 

  • Buy dry goods in bulk every week
  • Refuse disposable to-go items every week
  • Buy package-less produce

CO2 Reduced: 1,078 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 32,355 
Duration: 12 Months


This eco-journey is a great mix of several different types of Joyful Changes that allow you to make an impact across different aspects of your life. Cut 1,513 lbs of carbon per year off of your footprint by choosing this eco-journey.

Here’s a sneak peek of the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward: 

  • Buy in-season produce at your local farmer’s market once per quarter
  • Take a walk in nature twice per month
  • Swap paper towels for cloth napkins and dish towels daily

CO2 Reduced: 1,513 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 31,995 
Duration: 12 Months

One Planet Life Planetary Sampler Journey
One Planet Life Focus on Food Journey

Buying locally grown ingredients, eating what’s currently in season, and cutting down meat consumption are all great food-related ways to shrink your carbon footprint. Learning the ins and outs of composting can drastically cut down on the amount of waste you send to the landfill each week. In this eco-journey, you can look forward to saving 1,709 lbs of carbon emissions per year.

Here’s a sneak peek of the Joyful Changes you’ll work toward: 

  • Eat a vegetarian meal three times per week
  • Swap beef with chicken once per week
  • Start composting weekly

CO2 Reduced: 1,709 lbs
Planet Points Earned: 39,945 
Duration: 12 Months

We know New Year’s Resolutions are challenging. But with the One Planet Life App and the supportive, like-minded community that comes with it, we can help each other mold sustainability goals into habits – and save a whole lot of carbon in the process!

Struggling to stay motivated? Sign up for App Notifications!

  • Get your daily dose of inspiration from the OPL team.
  • Get a reminder to track your joyful changes.
  • Celebrate your achievements with our progress reports.
  • Get a reminder to complete your challenges.
  • We are on this journey with you. We are in this together.
  • Our entire team is committed to helping you succeed. Download the newest update or join us for the first time today. We look forward to meeting you.
Written by Carley Kimball

Written by Carley Kimball

Freelance Journalist and OPL Content Contributor

“I’ve always tried to implement planet-friendly practices in my life but didn’t quite realize just how much of an impact individuals can make until I was introduced to One Planet Life. I’m so excited to be able to utilize my professional skills to contribute valuable information and positive personal experiences to help make the world a better place.”

New Year | New You 15-Day Sustainability Kickstart Challenge

New Year | New You 15-Day Sustainability Kickstart Challenge

The second half of January is a great time to start a 15-day sustainability kickstart challenge now that the holidays are over and we are focused on the year ahead. 

Consider it a warmup to a year of joyful changes that benefit you and the planet. Lowering your impact on the planet isn’t difficult once you set your mind to it and begin to take daily action. Sometimes, the most challenging part is knowing what actions make the most difference and which of those actions are manageable within your lifestyle. That’s where we come in!

We have created a fun and accessible challenge for you. 

Over the next 15 days, January 17-31, 2023, you will reduce your carbon footprint, make fewer trips to the store, reduce waste, and save money. And, even better, when you combine your success with everyone else participating in the challenge, those sustainability wins add up!

To kick things off on Day 1, try using your reusable water bottle or coffee cup instead of single-use plastic throughout your day. Americans use and throw away up to 4 single-use beverage containers daily. If you keep up this pretty doable action, you could reduce your carbon emissions by 231 metric pounds and reduce your single-use plastic waste by 720 bottles or more this year. Now this is the type of slimming down that benefits you and the planet. Your cheering section just grew louder.

Here is the calendar of joyful changes to make during this challenge.
January 15-day Sustainability Challenge Calendar
Tracking your actions is as important as taking action.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to download our free app and use it to track your impact during this challenge. If you are already using the One Planet Life app, you can follow your current journey during this challenge and track any joyful change each day.  The goal of the challenge is to take daily action and track it to build lifelong habits toward more sustainable living,

Share This