5 Ways You Can Be Kinder To The Planet
It wouldn’t surprise me if 2018 went down in history books as the year that mankind was, as the cool kids say, WOKE. People around the world suddenly became aware of the impact of fossil fuels, palm oil sources, mistreatment of livestock, land misuse and degradation, poaching, plastic etc. We entered into a consumer lifestyle with blinkers on; society told us it was important to “keep up with the Jones’” and we never even considered the implications.
And what can you do about it? After all, you are just one person so how could you make a difference? Well, we got to this point because one person chose a certain lifestyle, and then convinced another person to do the same. And that, my friends is how we will get out of this mess too! So, take this small handful of easy-to-implement tips onboard, and add them to whatever good work you are already doing, share this all with your friends and be the person that starts the movement. You might just save the world!
Buy your vegetables from the green grocer, your meat from the butcher and your bread from the baker. Just like in the good old days. And check where imported food is coming from. Remember that Avocado craze? SO BAD for the environment. If you check the origin of your avocados, they are likely being flown in from Brazil! So, maybe leave avocados off the grocery list this week.
CHOOSE LOOSE FOOD
The less we, as consumers, are buying pre-packaged food the greater strain it puts on producers to get rid of any unnecessary plastic. Plastic waste can take between 10 to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Plastic bottles take 450 years! That said, and at the risk of being attacked by the anti-plastic army I maintain that plastic itself is not the enemy; it’s done us huge amounts of good in other sectors, think computer microchips. It is our dependence on it in the food industry that is the problem, and this is something that we as individuals can fix simply by changing the way we buy our food.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
I’ve heard this referred to as Fast Fashion, which is great because just like Fast Food it’s amazing for a few moments (ie whilst you are consuming - how amazing that you bagged that dress for £5! How delicious is this Big Mac!) but the implications are severely detrimental. For the most part, cheap clothes contain micro-plastics that break down in your washing machine and end up in the ocean, and EVERYWHERE. The production process often relies heavily on harmful chemicals, which are not disposed of correctly - in parts of Indonesia these chemical leaks kill off entire reefs and hundreds of marine life. All so you can “POP in that blouse”. So, where you can, pay for Quality clothes, made of natural fibres from sustainable sources that will last.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
If I go to a yoga class in the city it costs me the same amount in bus fare as it does to pay for parking. So that’s just a no brainer. If I take a bus to London it costs me substantially less than it does to drive! So, why drive at all right? Because we are all still trying to keep up with the Jones’! The bus people are my people; they are my Jones’!
STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP
Maybe you are doing all these things, and more! And yet you still just feel like you aren’t doing enough. Like the world is still falling to pieces despite your efforts. That my friends is way too big a burden to bear; shake it right off. Be aware, educate yourself, trust your instincts and just do your best. Then share your successes, sleep well, wake up, recycle, reuse, repeat.
MY PERSONAL JOURNEY INTO SUSTAINABILITY
The biggest shift I felt in myself was the day that I started reading the labels on food items, instead of just lobbing them into the trolley. It was a huge moment for me to realise just what goes into the making of sauces, frozen food, tinned goods, oven meals. Some of the contents I couldn’t even pronounce! I started making my food from scratch wherever I could, and then I started wondering where my own food was coming from - where it was grown, the quality of the soil it was grown in, the journey it took to get here. I began to wonder how the animals were being treated, what they were being fed and how much of that went into my food. I stopped buying meat when I ate out at chain restaurants, or on the go, because I wasn’t sure that the meat came from a sustainable source, or if it even was meat!! I boycotted palm oil products for a while, sick with outrage at the images of orphaned Orangutans, but then learned that shutting down the palm oil industry was not the answer, and if we did this then in it’s place would rise another oil monster. I had to check if the producer used a sustainable palm oil source. I also started checking the labels on my clothes before I bought them, to see what they were made from. I thought that buying 100% cotton was the answer, then learned that mass cotton production is a huge environmental issue! Organic cotton is what we need.
The list is endless, and always changing. I am always learning, and then relearning. It seems like a lot, maybe even too much work, and some days I do feel helpless and stuck. But it’s like going to work with a hangover; you just have to suck it up, and do it!
We can get so bogged down in our ways, or so accustomed to taking the easy way out that we are happy to keep our blinkers on and pretend this is someone else’s problem. But it’s not; this is our world - we use and abuse it for our needs and it is our responsibility to, at the very least, learn about and acknowledge the effects of our choices.
RECYCLE - REUSE - REPEAT