We all have a responsibility to care for the environment – to practice eco-friendly activities. This belief inspired the beginning of the zero waste movement. However, aside from the struggles of living “green” in a traditionally “wasteful world”, the zero waste community has another struggle—GENDER MISREPRESENTATION.
Over the years, women become the visible backbone of the zero waste movement. Female personalities such as Bea Johnson, Lauren Singer, Kathryn Kellogg, Erin Rhodes, Ariana Schwarz, and many more, were attached to the green lifestyle. Adding the growing number of other female enthusiasts, the zero waste community became an influential group of women. Because of this, the notion that the movement is feminist sparked.
Are men missing in action?
Men in the Zero Waste Movement
Contrary to the feminist stereotype, men have made vital contributions to zero waste.
In 1996, the dawn of the zero waste movement, Eric Lombardi slammed the gates of Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta, to demand for planet-friendly bottles in the beverages of the multi-billion dollar company. This bold move urged the industry to rethink the way they pack their bottled products.
Aside from being an ex-footballer, Richard Eckersley was most known as the owner of UK’s first zero waste food shop. In fact, he bartered his professional football career for the environment. For him and his family, zero waste was the real score.
In the modern days, more and more men are becoming visible for their zero waste lifestyle. These people include Matt Akehurst (The Rubbish Runner), Rob Greenfield (and his book Dude Making a Difference), Hendrik Kaiser (Zero Waste Man), and Jonathan Levy (Zero Waste Guy).
Why is it necessary to find eco-friendly activities for men?
Men do care for the planet. But behind their sincere eagerness to support for green causes is a list of underrepresentation. What’s the basis? The eco-friendly activities that only target the women population. Obviously, we need a shift.
- The planet is men’s liability, too.
In zero waste movement, we always encourage everyone to be accountable of their deeds, to care for the marine life, or to refuse one-time use plastics. But when we provide eco-friendly activities that only women can relate to, we are already excluding men from the environmental responsibility. They are reproved before they even participate.
- We need to break the eco gender gap.
Eco gender gap is the belief that females take more of the green burden than males. Believe it or not, the activities featured in zero waste campaigns contribute greatly to this. Imagine a man browsing for eco-friendly activities, to find out the terms such as “household” or other activities women usually do? Not to mention eco-friendly products that are designed only for women such as menstrual cups, reusable pads, or fashion clothing. Other than disappointment, this is also intimidating to men.
- This could change statistics.
According to a 2018 survey in the United Kingdom, “71% of women try to live more ethically compare to 59% of men.” Think of this. If more women are attracted to zero waste lifestyle because they see it as “feminine”, then men may more likely neglect the environment because they think it’s “manly”. The point is sexism and gender inequality has something to do with environmental exploitation and degradation. If we erase the stereotype by also supplying eco-friendly activities for men, we may change the statistics.
Eco-friendly Activities for Men
Men can and should go zero waste. To help males who want to live more sustainably, the Zero Waste Lifestyle System asked many prominent writers, bloggers and industry experts about their favorite eco-friendly activity. Get inspired to start your eco-friendly lifestyle here.
Online Sound Bath Or Sounds In A Hammock – Peggy Lundquist Of Gen X Mindfulness
Stuck indoors? Go on a trippy odyssey of relaxation with an online sound bath. If you can move it outside, take your sound bath in a hammock—you won’t be sorry!
YOGA – Katie Ziskind of Wisdom Within Counseling
Yoga is one of the best eco-friendly activities for men. Yoga helps men develop physical strength, muscle tone, and improve bone density. Yoga also helps build muscle, holistic movement, and deepen flexibility. Men can connect with themselves, to their mind, body, and spirit and develop a strong self-care practices through yoga and meditation. Men benefit from yoga to reduce the stress of being parents, husbands, and balancing responsibilities of a growing career. Yoga can help men arrive in the present moment and help them make themselves a priority again.
Upcycling – Joao Mendes Reis of NoFootprintNomads.com
“The best activity for a man that is Zero Waste is to do upcycling with practical things for the house or garden. Men like to do useful stuff, so anything like using plastic bottles to make plant vases or glass bottles to make candles would work. To raise difficulty level, some woodwork like fixing tables or making benches.”
Build furniture from old materials – Tim Bigknee of SightsAndInsights
“Men who are looking for an eco-friendly activity to do can use old materials to make furniture or other items for their house. This activity helps to repurpose goods that would otherwise go to waste and take up room in our landfills. Plus, it lets you use these recycled items instead of having to buy something brand new.”
Fitness for charity – Peter Koch of DollarSanity
“Download the Charity miles mobile app and donate by exercising. You can choose from running, walking, biking or even dancing. Every movement you make earns money for a charity you choose. There are over 40 charities to choose from the World Wildlife Federation to Nature Conservancy.”
Learn Knots And Lashes – Mark Wilcox Of Camping Forge
“By learning 7 simple knots and lashes, it’s possible to build useful structures such as tripods for cooking on your next camping trip. They’re cheap to do and you can do it even while watching Netflix.”
Camping – Tory Jon of Tent Hacker
Camping can be a fun and eco-friendly activity as long as you follow the 7 LNT (Leave No Trace) principles and respect your surroundings. Camping helps you develop a deep respect for our environment as it brings you closer to nature and it’s inhabitants.
Clean-up hikes – Aleksandar Hrubenja of ModernGentlemen
You can join or organize a local clean-up hike. While you hike and enjoy the natural sites around you, you can collect pieces of trash scattered around the trails on your way. The only things you’ll need besides the regular hiking gear you wear are work gloves and trash bags.
Coastal cleanups – Philip Weiss of PhilipWeiss
“There is nothing unmanly about picking up trash, especially when there is tons of plastic that ends up on some of the most beautiful shorelines in the world. When done as part of a coordinated group of volunteers, you can efficiently pick up quite a bit of trash on the beach. Shore cleanups are a great way to team build, meet new people, and do something positive during your next beach vacation.”
Camping and bird-watching – Dale Gerrett of Chipper Birds
For me, one of the most eco-friendly activities I do is camping and bird-watching. Whenever I camp, I make sure I do not destroy the flora by picking flowers and plants. I also make it a habit to pack up trash where there is and also not to leave them myself.
While camping, bird-watching is an activity I enjoy the most. Observing them in their natural habitat is calming and makes me appreciate the natural world that is bestowed upon us.”
Biking – Matthias Alleckna of EnergyRates.ca
“If you find that you’re the type to need to burn off energy, then biking is the perfect hobby to take up. They’re also a good way to replace your vehicular commute if your workplace is within reasonable distance. Overtime, you’ll be able to develop an entire fitness routine to help you build and get to know your body.”
Make a delicious and flavorful bean burgers – Alena Schowalter of nutriciously
One of the biggest and most powerful impacts every one of us can have on the environment is to shift our diet towards eating more plants. Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels, so cooking some delicious and flavorful bean burgers instead of buying beef patties is a fantastic way towards a greener future!
Accessible and affordable plant-based burger patties are fun to make at home and you can use a whole range of different ingredients because they are so customizable — some plant-based burgers are even grillable. From black beans to chickpeas or beets, the variety of recipes is almost endless.
Build A Worm Bin – Chris Kaiser Of Click A Tree
A worm bin is a box made of plastic or wood, depending on the preference. As the name suggests, it houses worms. And these worms turn all your bio waste into super fertile soil.
You create something that you can benefit from in the long term. You get new house mates, and they create fertile soil for your garden or balcony plants for you.
Gardening – Matthias Alleckna of EnergyRates.ca
What’s more eco-friendly than bringing more plants into the world. If you don’t have a backyard, you can just do small window-sill gardens using repurposed containers to grow things like small flowers and fresh herbs. Caring for something and watching it grow will allow you to really get in touch with the impact you have in the world.
We only have one Earth. Even apart in culture, language, continent, race, or even gender, our existence are intertwined by our actions. When we take care of our nature, we benefit others. When we neglect the Earth, we harm our brothers and sisters. Indeed, our lifestyles are the influence we choose.
If we isolate zero waste living to only one gender, we deprive others to choose the best life there is. Let them live the cause, regardless of who they are and where they come from.