Lori Myren Manbeck has always loved the environment but, in 2017, the Edina resident decided she could do more to protect the planet.
“I felt like we weren’t taking the steps that we needed to take to protect the Earth...I started feeling like time is sort of running out for us,” she said.
To increase her environmental efforts, Manbeck, who works full-time as a geriatric psychologist at the Associated Clinic of Pyschology, founded a sustainable t-shirt company, Inclusivi-tee.
Manbeck also wrote an e-book, “You Can Save the World, In Fact You’re the Only One Who Can”, and is raising funds on Kickstarter through Jan. 6, 2023, to print the book.
The book is designed to make sustainability approachable and tackles everyday switches people can make to decrease their carbon footprint.
For those wanting to start making sustainable changes in 2023, Manbeck recommends starting small, such as switching your liquid laundry detergent to laundry detergent sheets.
The sheets, which resemble dryer sheets, have laundry detergent in them and dissolve in the washer. They also usually come in recyclable cardboard containers, eliminating the need for a large plastic bottle for liquid detergent.
“You also don’t need to use laundry soap every time you wash your clothes because some of the soap stays in the fibers,” Manbeck said.
Manbeck also suggests not washing your clothes as frequently.
“If your clothes don’t really smell, you don’t have to wash your clothes every time you wear them,” she said. “If there’s stains you can spot-clean them. … It also helps the clothes last longer.”
Manbeck also suggests switching from dryer sheets to wool dryer balls. “They’re reusable over and over and over again and there’s no chemicals in them whereas dryer sheets are full of chemicals,” she said.
She also recommends traveling eco-consciously and using “your glasses of sustainability before you look at anything.”
For example, when planning a trip, try getting a direct flight rather than one with a layover because every time a plane takes off and lands, more pollutants are put into the air. Also look for an airline that helps offset its carbon footprint.
Among the simplest changes, Manbeck recommends turning your thermostat down by a couple of degrees or taking shorter showers.
“It actually makes a difference,” Manbeck said. “These are good things you can do for your immediate environment just by making these little changes.”
Manbeck acknowledges that large corporations must make changes in order to combat climate change but she emphasizes the need for people to demand these changes from companies through their purchases.
“What’s really important for people to understand in the new year is as you’re buying things, the more you buy, recyclable or recycled, the more you buy eco-friendly things, the more companies are going to produce them and the cheaper they’re going to become,” Manbeck said.
The hardest part is getting started but once you do, it’s easy to continue to make small changes, she observed.
“What I found is that the more I do little things to change, the more I want to do things to change and the more I want to tell my friends about it and the more I think about legislation that might impact it, the more I pay attention to the companies that I support. So I think it’s all about mindset and focus,” Manbeck said.
Another tip from Manbeck includes trying to buy ingredients from local merchants, such as farmers’ markets, rather than grocery stores where ingredients have to be shipped from around the world, contributing to air pollution. She also recommends dining at restaurants that source their ingredients locally.
“The closer we can get things to where we live, the better,” she said.
Lastly, Manbeck said the most important thing people can do is start having conversations about the environment and sustainability with their friends, family, children and community members.
“The kind of grassroots movement where all of us are having conversations and we’re having them with our children over the dinner table and we’re excitedly talking about all the ways that we can change things, I think that’s a powerful, powerful thing to do,” Manbeck said. “We can change the tide.”