Can one person make a difference in changing the trajectory of our planet & environment?
It’s taken hundreds of years and multiple generations to create the environmental issues we are facing today, and it will take just as much collective action to course correct and offset it. This common mission is in many ways both a personal & collective journey, not a destination.
From the start, WE HAVE aimed to have sustainability at the very core of Date of Birth (D.O.B.). We want D.O.B to be part of the movement to course correct an industry (retail & fashion) that has historically been a big part of the problem.
Through the process of creating & growing D.O.B it’s given both of us the opportunity to embark on our own personal journeys toward sustainability…
Noah - CoFounder D.O.B
Having worked for brands such as Levis that are known for taking a lead in driving sustainable practices in both environmental and social conditions, I considered myself well versed in the space. But as I started to conduct more in-depth research, speak to experts in the field, and partner with truly sustainable and socially minded brands, I began to realize just how much I didn’t know and I was excited to learn.
Over the course of the last year I have inspected my own behaviors and made small but impactful changes toward sustainability. The gym is my “home away from home”, working out is a personal passion that took hold after my days of competitive sports in high school and college were behind me. Carrying a plastic water bottle to the gym was part of my daily routine. It wasn’t an easy habit to break but last year I cut out plastic water bottles completely, and in the process reduced my use of plastics everywhere possible (home products, bags, etc.). I also sold my car and started exclusively using public transportation in CT and NY, it’s a little easier to do here vs. other parts of the country but it was still a big adjustment and sacrifice. And lastly, I became a full time flexitarian, reducing my consumption of animal products by 75% or more. I don’t deprive myself from these things, I choose to reduce my use of them, because I know it can make a difference. And if I am not willing to embrace these types of changes in my life then how can I authentically talk about sustainability?
This earth day is another opportunity for me to assess how I can continue to evolve my choices and behaviors toward leading a more sustainable life. I plan on doing the following 3 things.
- Shop & support only sustainable brands. This means that they are authentically on the journey of sustainability, incorporating more sustainable practices into their fabrics, manufacturing, social impact, and/or give-backs.
- Eliminate single use plastic purchases (most notably for my home).
- Join a sustainability group in NY. I have seen a couple great groups on Meet Up and will pick one and join this year to work with like minded people towards our common mission.
Wes - CoFounder D.O.B
My journey began 2 years ago when I decided I wasn’t doing enough. I identified 2 areas where I would focus 1) over consumption and 2) reducing my use of single use plastics.
Working in retail my entire career, you get used to wanting “newness,” It could be a new pair of jeans, when you already have 20 pairs in your closet, or the limited-edition Star Wars figure that will end up sitting in your closet. Either way, I usually didn’t need it, and in my past, I’d almost always buy it. Over consumption was a serious issue for me, all it did was create more waste for me and for the planet. Now when I want to buy something I always consider these 2 questions?
- Is it something I can use for at least 2 years? Meaning, is it well made with good materials or if it's a fashion piece, is it still going to be relevant in 2 years?
- Is the brand I’m buying aligned with my values? Are they trying to be more sustainable, are they giving back to causes I care about?
Where I need to improve is on buying too many shoes. I’ve done a good job over the last few months, but I’m still a sucker for a new pair of Jordans. We are seeing more and more options for shoes made with better materials and ethical production, hopefully the big brands will come around and make a bigger commitment to sustainability and ethical production.
Reducing single use plastics takes more effort than reducing overconsumption. Too many companies still rely on single use plastics that are not easily recyclable. Companies like Terra Loop, are helping solve these problems. Terra Loop works with companies to create multi use packaging and supply chain processes to get those used packages back to the factories for additional use, think the old school milk man model of the 50’s. They are starting to test in a few stores this year so hopefully we’ll see them be nationwide in the near future. Until then it will continue to be difficult to remove all single use plastics from my life, but where I’ve done a good job is:
- Taking reusable bags with me when I go shopping
- No longer buying water in plastic bottles at the store, either carrying my own water or buying water in paper cartons or recyclable aluminum.
- Replaced all of my hand and dish soap dispensers in my home to reusable glass containers and only buy refillable soap from companies that use recyclable containers.
Where I need to improve:
- I buy salads from the supermarket and they always come in single use plastic containers, I haven’t found a great solution for this. If I make my own salad the greens I like come either in a single use plastic bag or a single use plastic container. I can have fresh produce sent to me directly in boxes but I end up wasting a lot of food because they always send me too much produce for just myself.
- Most other beauty products still come only in single use plastics (shampoo, lotion etc.), so I’m constantly on the lookout for better products. Any recommendations?
Looking back on the personal changes we chose to make over the past year and plan to make moving forward, they are not easy because change isn’t easy, but they are also very achievable. One could even ask is it enough or is it meaningful? Think about the collective impact we can make through self empowerment and individual action! Small individual actions will add up to something BIG!
Where we go from here is up to us…
What is the one thing you plan to do this year to help create a more sustainable world?