A Feminist’s Guide to Saving the Planet

by Leigh Anne Jasheway
Leigh Anne Jasheway

When I was a college sophomore, I took a sociology class on population and family planning. Somewhere in between the professor’s explanation of how the growing number of humans threaten the planet and his demonstration of birth control methods from the past (anyone want to stick some lint and honey up their vagina? No?), I decided not to have children.

Truth be known, having been the eldest girl of eight siblings, half-siblings, and stepsiblings (one of whom I dated) also entered into my decision to remain child-free. I never regretted my choice although everyone told me I would. Well, I’m 64 now, bitches, so suck it!

This is all to say that women have many choices that can affect the only planet we have until someone discovers how to colonize Elon Musk’s big head.

In honor of Earth Day, I’ve put together this list of 10 steps you can take to improve the environment in ways you may have never considered before.

1.) Never date or marry a science denier. You don’t have to start every conversation with “What’s your favorite geologic era?” but if your date refuses to get vaccinated because he says it’s the deep state’s way of tracking his movements or he has a Flat Earth Society bumper sticker on his Humvee, put down the breadsticks and back away from the table. Also, never vote for a science denier.

2.) Speaking of dating, if you’re into the girl/guy thing, choose vegan, biodegradable condoms for sexy time. Did you know that most condoms contain plastic and some never break down, unlike my last one-night-stand, who broke down immediately when I told him I just wasn’t that into him. When it comes to more natural birth/disease control, our options aren’t limited to honey and lint any more. Check out this slideshow for options.

3.) Buy everything rechargeable, including your vibrators (I mean, who limits themselves to just one vibe? They’re like potato chips.) A quick online search will provide a plethora of vibes that won’t dump toxic batteries into landfills. Also, wouldn’t it be great to spice up your search history so it’s not all cupcakes and dog rescue organizations? Or is that just me?

4.) Get into sustainably produced fashion and/or shop secondhand for clothes. That cute dress with pockets that you’ve had in your online shopping cart for months may actually be bad for the planet. Manufacturing clothing and accessories is second only to oil and gas production as the most polluting industry due to pesticide use, plastics in items such as Spanx and yoga pants, toxins in dye, and all the energy it takes to keep churning out items that will be out of style by the time you can afford them.

If you pride yourself on your style, you can check out fashion lines that are better for the planet and support communities of color. You can even buy bras made from recycled plastic bottles! (Typing that sentence made my nipples hard).

5.) Recycle your protest signs. Let’s face it: Our demands are rarely met, so chances are, if you’re out in the streets and on the sidewalks supporting feminist issues, you already have a sign that will do the job. No point in buying more posterboard, markers, and glitter. In fact, leave off the glitter altogether; it’s bad for the environment and wildlife. You’re sparkly enough already and you know it.

6.) If you have kids, teach them that science is cool (or hot or on-fleek or whatever means what cool used to mean) and that the Earth is also their mother and they better treat her right. Bonus: If you create a passion for the planet early enough, your kids probably won’t start forest fires or try to raise manatees in the bathtub.

7.) When you finally get to go wherever you want, whenever you want, you may be ready for an electric car. Studies show that women buy 62% of all new cars in the U.S. (which is why “new car smell” now has undertones of chocolate in it).

Last year, right before the pandemic hit, I bought a 100% electric car and could not be happier. When the dealer told me that the average electric car on the road today has the same greenhouse-gas emissions as a car getting 88 miles per gallon, I had a little orgasm. And, not only do I not have to worry about fluctuating gas prices and pollution every time I take a trip to stand in front of a restaurant wishing it was safe to eat inside, my car has fewer moving parts and less fluids to be replaced than my InstaPot.

8.) Un-plastic your periods. The average woman uses over 12,000 tampons or pads during her childbearing years (and that doesn’t include those used as nosebleed stoppers and art installation projects). Unless you’re already using organic cotton menstrual products or a silicone menstrual cup, you’re contributing to plastic pollution 3-5 days a month. Plastic is in practically everything and bits of it have shown up in the blood stream of almost every animal, including nursing babies. If you’ve never explored non-plastic period options, you could start here.

9.) Head to the bar, with your daily hygiene products, that is. Shampoo, soap, moisturizer, deodorant all come in packaging free options. I’ve been using bar products (and not just tequila and lime) for years now and have saved lots of money and my body is just as clean/moist/not too smelly as it was in the past. At least that’s what my dogs tell me.

10.) Speaking of drinking, when you pour yourself another one (and who isn’t drinking more during this pandemic?), choose a sustainable alcohol. You can get just as tipsy as you want and feel better about yourself for doing less damage to the planet. Check out this eco-friendlier booze list.

And if you want to, you can have no or fewer children too. It will free up more of your time to search for sustainable tequila and rechargeable vibrators.

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