How to Navigate Your 20s and Stay Green Millennials May Be The Greenest Generation Ever — If They Put Their Minds To It

Credit: Nataliej, FlickrCC

Your 20s are a time of change, development, growth, fun, and challenge. Navigating these years can be difficult but also a joy. When you also want to prioritize living in an environmentally friendly manner, you add something extra to your already full plate. But it’s worth it.

It is never too early to start changing your habits to be more in alignment with what is best for both your health and the health of the planet. It might even help you save money, which many people in their 20s know can be of utmost importance. With a few tips, you will be well on your way to navigating life as a young adult successfully and sustainably.

Eat a Local and Sustainable Diet

Eating is something that most people do at least three times a day, so it can make a huge difference to the environment when you do it well. If you’re in you’re surviving off of Ramen packets, it’s time to make a change. Your health and Mother Earth will thank you.

Eating well is the cornerstone of a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Choosing local, organic vegetables, doing away with conventional meat, limiting your intake of processed foods, and doing your best to eat what’s in season are great places to start.

If you feel like eating an eco-friendly diet isn’t in your budget, there are several ways you can get around this. Consider volunteering on a local farm one day a week. The farmers will likely send you home with armloads of produce, and you’ll probably learn something new about cooking too.

Speaking of farmers, visiting your local farmers market will give you the best insight into what’s in season and how to prepare foods you may be unfamiliar with. Best of all, the prices will be cheaper than you will find at the grocery store.

Think of eating well as voting with your fork. Each time you enjoy a meal, you are stating your values. If one of your values is staying green, then eating a local and sustainable diet is the way to go.

Find a Cause You Care About

Another way to stay green — especially in your 20s, when you have lots of energy — is to find a cause you care deeply about and explore ways to support it. Giving back to your community or a cause elsewhere will make you feel good while doing good.

When eco-friendliness is on your radar, there is no shortage of causes to get involved in. And, if you’re looking for a career in the field of sustainability, volunteering for a green cause will look great on your resume. It will also help you create valuable professional connections which may prove invaluable later in your career.

It’s clear that incorporating volunteering for a green cause in your free time is a great way for you as a young professional to lean into your eco-friendly lifestyle and try to make a positive impact. Depending on the path you take, you may find new career opportunities that match your interests in regards to sustainability. If these require further education, keep your mind open about returning to college in your 20s; doing so can open new paths, including working for companies that prioritize sustainability or potentially starting your own nonprofit.

Be Mindful Of Your Purchases and Habits

Many young adults know the challenges of saving money, curbing spending, and developing good habits for personal and financial health. The good news is, working toward a green lifestyle can actually help you save money.

You have likely heard of the zero-waste movement, which involves eliminating waste from a household or workspace. To work toward zero waste, you must be extremely aware of what you’re buying and any packaging the item might contain. Adopting a zero-waste mindset can help you when you are out shopping to pass up on items you might otherwise buy. What’s good for the environment is also good for your wallet in this case.

When you do decide to spend money on something, make sure it is furthering your green efforts, not hindering them. If you’re taking on home improvement projects, for example, choose projects like putting on a fresh coat of non-toxic paint, setting up a clothesline to dry your clothes, or working on a small backyard garden.

Finally, one more major thing you can do to save money in a green way is to drive less. Using alternative forms of transportation like bikes, walking, buses, subways, and ridesharing apps is a great way to improve your own health, the health of the planet, and the health of your bank account. Cars cost a lot to fill with gas and maintain, and they are huge polluters. One fewer car on the road is one more small step forward for green lifestyles.

Adopting a green lifestyle doesn’t have to mean an entire overhaul of your life. By making just a few small adjustments to your diet, how you spend your free time, and how you spend and save money, you can make a positive impact and inspire others to make sustainability a priority.