how to change the world

5 Easy Ways to Save the World

With Earth Day coming up this Saturday there’s going to be a lot of talk about the environment and, well, the way we as humans are essentially destroying it. These conversations can often be tense because while yes, we do love and care for the environment, not everyone is into reusable everything. But while we’re not all eco super heroes, we all have the potential to be their sidekicks, and today I have some easy ways to help you reach that potential.

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1) Take advantage of Tupperware

When my sister and I first moved into our own place, one of the first gifts we were given was a sh*tload of Tupperware from a few generous family members. And while I used the occasional box for leftovers, I was much more apt to grab a plastic bag for whatever needed storing, including the sandwich and apple slices I put in my lunch every day. Now, call it divine intervention—or laziness—but when I ran out of plastic bags, instead of going to the store, I used a Tupperware to store the sandwich, and one for the apple slices. Call it a change of heart—or recurring laziness—but I’ve yet to go back. I’ve been using Tupperware for about 2 months now in place of plastic bags, and when you run the numbers that equates to over 100 plastic bags I haven’t put in the trash. This may not seem like a lot, but you figure if everyone in my office made the same switch, we would probably save upwards of 300 bags in that same time period, and if that habit spread outward to other offices, well, you get it.

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2) Use Less Paper Towels

I’m a creature of habit, so when I use a public bathroom I will almost always grab three paper towels to dry my hands after washing. I don’t have a reason for landing on this number, I don’t have a compulsive need to maintain this number and I only recently noticed it was a consistency, so I figured it might be an easy thing to change. And while its only a small change (I take 2 now), again it all goes back to the if I do it and then someone else does it and then someone else and then someone else. Little tweaks to normal behavior can make a big difference.

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3) Carry a Reusable Water BottleThis is a two-fer because it eliminates the use of plastic water bottles, and it helps you stay hydrated. Have you ever been at a party holding a water bottle, only to put it down, walk away and try to come back to it, only to realize that 20 other people have open water bottles, so instead of doing a DNA test on each and every one, you just decide to open a new one? Very anti-eco super hero move there, my friend. When you bring your own water bottle, like this giant I haul almost everywhere with me, you never have to worry about orphaning a water bottle again. And while sure, you might get the occasional mocking of your super cool, super giant and bulky hip hydration station, you can always hit them with this awesome come back, “Yeah, this bottle isn’t the most attractive thing around, but you know what is attractive? My unstoppable, indescribable, hardworking kidneys that reap the benefits*.”

*Note: This comment might provoke more mocking than aweing, thus, a third use for your reusable water bottle is a weapon to ward off haters. Just one swift swing to the stomach should get the point across.

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4) Support the Superheroes

Like I said before, we’re not all cutout to be superheroes, but there are a handful that are. And it’s those people that are recycling and up-cycling and bicycling (probably) their hearts out. So when you see products made from recycled goods and it catches your eye, buy it! Help keep those superheroes in business! (Here’s a list of some cool places to check out!)

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5) Carpool

I think we’ve all heard this one time and time again, but I figured I’d throw it on here anyways because I firmly believe it can save the world in more ways than one. First and foremost, carpooling obviously reduces carbon emissions. Second and (still kind of) foremost, carpooling cuts down the physical number of cars on the road, thus reducing traffic, thus reducing the number of people planning to murder other people. So buddy up and carpool, you just might save a life and the environment, and five minutes on the way to work.

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Happy (almost) Earth Day everyone!

How to Change the World with T-Shirts

I love t-shirts.

LOVE.

Like if there was a way to calculate how much affection there is in your heart for tangible things, I think t-shirts would have 85% of mine and sweet potato fries and ice cream would have an even share of the other 15.

I especially love t-shirts if they serve a philanthropic purpose. It’s like the double rainbow of shopping. Not only do you get a t-shirt, but you also give a donation to a good cause, and provide a voice for that platform to grow. That being said, as much as I’d like to buy allllllll the t-shirts, I try to make a point to only buy those I really like and that represent a cause I truly stand behind. That way, when people spot my t-shirt from across the street and risk their lives running through traffic to come ask me about it, I know what’s what and who’s who. Plus, in my desire to know the facts in order to share the facts, I’m inspired to actually learn the facts. And the more I learn about the facts, the more I want to change the facts. And the more I want to change the facts, the more I end up actually getting involved in the cause, which is really what the world needs more of: PARTICIPATION!

All that being said however, it can never be overstated how much the small steps count. And by small steps, I mean t-shirts. Yes, let’s go back to the t-shirts. Because t-shirts f*cking ROCK. And t-shirts can change the world.

So right now, as I sit completely unladylike in my kitchen chair, I’d like to share with you some of the t-shirts I own. The little shout-outs I wear across my chest for companies that I love, and I hope will continue to do big things for this world. In my mind, I’m like a walking boob and back megaphone for their cause, and in some ways, I feel like that’s exactly what they need, but can’t ask for in so many words. So consider this your official invitation to be a BoBaMeg (Boob and Back Megaphone)—which I just made up (clearly) but am kind of proud of it because it sounds like a philanthropic character that got cut from the Star Wars series.

*Note: I tried to take pictures of my own shirts, but it was arguably the saddest attempt at product photography I’ve ever seen, so these photos are not mine. I know this will probably be shocking, especially this first one, but I did not in fact have Josh Groban pose in his own company’s shirt for my blog. I’m sure he would though, you know, since we are actually GREAT friends. (Hey Josh!)

 

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Find Your Light Foundation: A company started by Josh Groban that is focused on providing art education for children. I’m actually not sure if they are still selling t-shirts, but it is an amazing organization, and being an art student myself, I completely support and understand the benefits of having access to art education, I don’t know where I’d be without it! Prison maybe. Just kidding, Mom. [fylf.org]

 

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The Elephant Pants: An online store that dedicates a portion of its proceeds to the African Wildlife Foundation. Elephants are my favorite animal, so if you sell a product featuring or benefitting them, the chances of me purchasing it start at around 75%. (And they obvi sell more than just pants.) [theelephantpants.com]

 

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Sgt. Pepper’s Friends: An adoption agency for homeless animals started by Rachel Brathen a.k.a Instagram’s YogaGirl and her husband. I dare you not to adopt one of these adorable animals. [sgtpeppersfriends.com]

 

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Stand Up to Cancer: An initiative aimed at raising money for cancer research. Also, if you’re looking for something to JAM to while wearing your t-shirt, look up “Just Stand Up” on iTunes. It’s a kickass lady jam that was created to raise money for the cause a few years back. I’ve listened to it approximately 200 times, most of which I both danced and cried at the same time. [standup2cancer.org]

 

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FEED: An organization that raises funds to combat hunger. I found this company when it partnered with Target for a bit and they make great products that raise money for an amazing cause. [feedprojects.com]

 

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Children’s Hunger Fund: A Christian organization that packages, compiles, and delivers Food Paks (which can feed a family of 4 for about a week) to impoverished neighborhoods. Great t-shirts and also a great place to volunteer, gasp, in person! It is one of the most enjoyable, rewarding things I’ve ever done. [childrenshungerfund.org]

 

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TOMS: Based on a simple One for One concept where when you buy one pair of shoes you also donate one to a child in need, TOMS now provides a variety of products (including t-shirts!) that give people access to water, sight, and safe child birth. [toms.com]

 

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charity:water: Raises money both by donations directly to the company and through campaigns run by individuals to fund projects that give people access to clean water. I hosted a campaign for my 25th birthday and it was so exciting! They sent me email updates informing me where and when my funds were being allocated and exactly how many people I was able to provide water to. Can you say H2O-mazing! (Sorry, not sorry.) [charitywater.org]

So if you’re looking for a way to change the world but don’t know how, why not start with t-shirts? Buy t-shirts from your favorite charity. Wear t-shirts to promote your favorite charity. Inquire about t-shirts that advertise a charity you’re not familiar with. Take the little steps and roll with them, because the big ones have to start somewhere.

Connection

The Glitter of the World (feat. Taylor Swift & Mary J. Blige)

This past weekend I went to my first ever Taylor Swift show and it was quite different than anything I’d ever been to before.

An easy critique would be to say she puts on a good show and clearly enjoys what she does, both of those things are obvious within the first few minutes. The unexpected magic, however, came from her audience.

In general, concerts are funny places. Strangers from all over come together for a night to listen to a person or persons that they love. And it doesn’t matter who they are or where life has taken them because once those lights go down, every heart simultaneously escapes into the music, creating one communal heartbeat within the room.

This past Saturday I was sat up high in the Staples Center, with my friends on my left and a boy to my right whom I’d never met. Upon arriving, the boy was very quiet. He sat down between his mother and I and didn’t make a sound during both of the opening acts, not even a clap, and I became curious of who he was and what brought him there that night. But then, as the room went dark and cameras began to flash wildly, he came alive.

From then on, not one lyric went unsung and not one song went without applause. I’d never seen someone so completely free. The whole night was a celebration for him.

At one point during the show Taylor Swift brought Mary J. Blige on stage to sing a song that Taylor explained meant a lot to her. She said she’d heard it at a party and it completely resonated with her and changed her way of thinking. As she told this story and then sang the song, I couldn’t help but realize what a catalyst Mary J. Blige was. She herself already has a substantial fanbase, however having chosen to play that song on that night that Taylor Swift heard it, she was now reaching thousands more people than she may have expected to.

That’s what I love about music. So many artists write songs from their heart, not knowing how or if it will reach the public, but they write them because they have to, because it’s who they are.

Isn’t it amazing, the power we have to spark change, even if we don’t know when we’ll set it alight?

I am an avid hiker, and when I’m on the trail, I make an effort to acknowledge fellow hikers that I pass, whether it be with a simple nod and a smile, or an audible “good morning.” It’s strange in a way, I’m not someone that would usually go out of my way to draw attention to myself, however when I’m out there, I feel like I’m part of such a big family, and as such, I feel the need to spread some kindness along.

Who knows, maybe after I pass them they scoff at my back or roll their eyes, or maybe they smile, feeling like that hello is exactly what they needed. I’ll never know. And I think the same goes for artists like Mary J. Blige and Taylor Swift and millions more out there. We never know how our words or actions are going to change the lives of others, but if they are rooted in kindness and honesty, chances are they’ll be a catalyst for good.

The way I see it, kindness is kind of like the glitter of the world. Once you use it, even if it’s just a little tiny bit, it spreads, everywhere, on seemingly everything, and it tends to linger long after you think it’s gone.

Quarter of a Century Campaign

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a blog about turning 24. This one will be about turning 25. DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING DID YOU?! And you thought Gone Girl blew your mind.

I had a number of plans for my 25th birthday, most of which I still plan on completing, however I was anxiously searching for something else I could do that would really commemorate the day uniquely. And after some research, I think I found the perfect solution.

An organization called charity:water provides clean water to developing countries, and gives you the opportunity to raise money for the cause by starting campaigns to commemorate special occasions. For example, one campaign I saw featured was a newlywed couple that asked for donations rather than wedding gifts, and another showed a 5 year old girl named London asking for donations rather than dolls for her birthday. It was truly inspiring to read through the campaigns and hear of all the giving hearts the world has to offer. It was a nice reminder of all the good that people can do, even though the media is determined to showcase the bad.

Upon reading their stories, I really felt drawn to starting a campaign of my own. Can you imagine being 5 years old and having such love for people you don’t even know? I want to leave that kind of mark on the world. And just think, I’ve had access to clean water for all 25 years of my life, while some people have never experienced that luxury once. What a tragedy that is.

So, I’ve started a campaign that I’m calling “Kim’s Quarter of a Century Campaign” and I’m hoping to raise as much money as I can, to help as many people as I can.

You can find the donation page here, the campaign is open until September 30th.

Anything, and I mean absolutely anything can help.

I know it’s hard to imagine how pocket change can make a big difference in the world, but I’m a firm believer in chain reactions that stem from genuine generosity. It feels good to be helped, it makes you feel loved, it makes you want to love.

So for this birthday I want to love, and I’d be so thankful if you did the same. After all, you never know how far a little love can go.