Save The Earth: 6 Websites That Will Help You Go (And Stay) Green

Do I want to save the rainforest? Of course. Lower carbon emissions? Sure thing. Stop cows from being skinned alive? Eek, yes!

Do I actually do anything to stop these things? Well, no. Not technically.

But one time I didn’t change the channel fast enough when a “Save the Polar Bears” commercial came on and I totally got guilted into donating. Even got a super sweet stuffed animal out of it.

We all want to do something about animal abuse, deforestation, agricultural sustainability, the ever-growing number of critically endangered species—

But that’s a hella-long list of world problems and I’ve got accounting homework to worry about.

Maybe the everyday college girl can’t completely erase her own ethical and environmental footprint. But while you’re out restocking your shampoo supply, getting sushi with the girls, or cooking a bacon-centric breakfast for that eternally famished boyfriend—it never hurts to try to go a little greener.

And guess what? You totally can.

Check out these simple websites, apps and online shopping guides to help you make healthier, more environmentally conscious choices when you shop—no polar-bear guilt required. You down for the challenge?



Health, Societal, and Environmental Impact 

How does it work?

Want to know if that Purina you bought for your new pup (the one you promised your mom you’d never get during college) has healthy ingredients, was made in a socially conscious way, and has a limited environmental effect? Use Good Guide’s simple search-engine or download the Good Guide mobile app to search for individual products or browse the recommended products lists.

How do I know what to use?

Scored 8-10? This product is “good” to the core— head to the checkout counter!

Scored 5-7? Eh, this product could be better. Smh.

Scored 1-4? RUN.

Secret Deoderant? Killin’ the game.

Good Guide- Secret Platinum

Neutrogena Face Wash?

Good Guide- Neutrogena

We’re not impressed.

taylor swift loser gif



No Animal Testing

Why does it matter?

Animal testing is a bizarre subject, so here’s the basic rundown: every processed chemical you come in contact with had to be tested on something. And that something is sometimes animals. Shampoo, lipstick, eye drops? Animals. While this sounds harmless, remember the point of these trials is to see how the body reacts to products for the first time. And most of the time, it’s not good: 100 million animals are burned, crippled, and poisoned from this each year without relief. If you have the stomach for it, check out a demonstration of cosmetic animal testing done on a human as performance art here. Warning: I lasted about 45 seconds.

How do I know what to use?

Use Peta’s search engine to browse specific products or use their list of Test and No-Test companies, organized by country or product type.

Peta Search--The Body Shop


dancing bunny in a cup



Cruelty-Free Grocery Products

Why does it matter?

Tearing off the beaks of chicken after birth, chopping meat off the bones of living cows, jacking up pigs with hormones so they grow unnaturally large: what sounds like the synopsis for American Horror Story: FarmVille is actually what happens everyday in “factory farms”. Even if you don’t care about animal welfare, let’s talk about your welfare: a typical supermarket chicken raised on a factory farm today is twice as fatty and has 1/3 less protein than 40 years ago.

All together now: ewwwwwwww.

How do I know what to buy?

Use Certified Humane’s location service or type in your zip code in the search bar and local grocery stores will pop up on a map. Click the stores around you to browse their cruelty-free products! Talk about true “guilt-free” food with all the caloric goodness.

Certified Humane

Bring on the bacon!

bacon gif



Cruelty-Free Restaurant Products 

How do I know where to eat?

Similar to Certified Humane, search by location! Instead of grocery stores, however, Animal Welfare Approved lists restaurants and their menu options that are cruelty-free. And because I know you were lookin’ for another excuse for a girls’ night out—try one of the welfare-approved restaurants with your ladies and have a toast to humane meals. 

toast gif



Certified Sustainable Palm Oil Products

Why does it matter?

You may have heard that palm oil kills orangutans, but that’s the simple version: palm oil kills everything and it’s literally in half of the products on the shelves. While all the destruction is distant and hard to imagine, here’s a home-turf reality: this palm oil just isn’t sustainable. Cue the RSPO, which certifies companies who support or implement sustainable palm oil production so we can binge eat Oreos and regret them loooong into the future.

How do I know what to use?

Download the 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard here, scroll to page 15, and check out the easy-to-browse chart.

wwf palm oil-2 wwf palm oil-1

If a company has 100% CSPO, you’re good to go. A monkey will surely thank you for it (but probably in sign language).

monkey hug



Sustainable Seafood

Why does it matter?

There’s a lot of dispute between science-y people about over harvesting fish: 85% of fisheries overharvested? Out of fish by 2050? Fact or fiction, it all sounds pretty doomsday to me. I’d like to keep that possible reality at bay because fish means SUSHI and bless this planet if that ever goes extinct.

How do I know what to eat?

Monterey Bay Aquarium made Seafood Watch, a searchable website, and app where you can search by fish or sushi type and know if it’s over harvested based on its source.

Mahi mahi

Like Dr. Suess said: one fish, two fish, red fish—buy green fish.

fish emma stone gif


Though we’ve had twenty-one centuries to destroy the planet, we’ve also had twenty-one centuries to innovate for its sake and learn to become daily environmentalists. So try one website, or try them all! Green is a color that looks good on everyone. 

winking cat

Image Via Sarah Nichole

Madison O'Shields

Contributor, University of Texas at Austin Major: English Her heart belongs to: Burberry Coats, Breakfast Tea, and the BBC You can find her: attempting to dress like Blaire Waldorf but reverting back to her zebra onesie pajamas instead

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