I worry about the environment – I’m sure everybody does. I’m frightened at predictions that there’ll be limited food and water available in 30 years time. That’s pretty soon. I don’t want to live out my elderly years fighting over food (notice the way my environmental motivations are centred around food).
However I’m also lazy and selfish and want an easy life!
I imagine all the sacrifices I’d have to make to live a truly sustainable life:
Get rid of my car? No way!
Don’t buy any new clothes until my current ones have worn out? My heart’s just not in it.
Go plastic free for a month? Sorry to sound like a loser, but I don’t know how I’d go plastic free for a day.
Stop taking flights. No!
And I mean, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of changes I could/should make, so it’s not looking very promising for me so far.
But rather than beat myself up/go into denial about the whole situation, I’ve decided that my best approach is to bring some small changes into my life, and hopefully continue to do so.
If I feel like I’m going to have to ‘give things up’ it’s a bit like going on a crash diet, the feeling of being deprived is going to end up backfiring and causing resentment, so I’d prefer to be more realistic.
One of my number one commitments is to quite simply get more educated about the environment and things I could do to help. I’ve been asking my friend Charlotte (aka Creative Wilderness) for advice – she’s a keen environmentalist. Charlotte’s an inspiration and a role model because she’s very upbeat and creative in her approach to sustainable living. Here are just a few things that she does:
- buys most of her clothes from charity shops (and is very stylish I might add!)
- buys her fruit and veg from Food Life Organics and grows some of her own too
- buys her kitchen and beauty stuff from The Kind Store and And Keep
- chooses environmentally friendly energy suppliers.
- shops with lots of independents
- works with environmental companies to help them with their design and branding (that is her job by the way!)
- gets book out at the library
- tries to only buy stuff she needs
I’ve started following lots of environmental accounts on Instagram like @m20refills and @ethicalhour to start trying to understand how I could be living differently. I’m not putting myself under any pressure to implement any of those changes – but a bit of knowledge is a good first step.
And after a bit of investigation it turns out the amount of products and packaging in modern life that are harmful to environment are MIND BOGGLING – toothbrushes, tampons, anti-bacterial hand wash, wet wipes, cleaning products, washing detergents etc. I’m not ready to change everything I use yet, because I think I’d have to give up work to have the time to figure out how to do this. And to be honest quite a lot of the eco alternatives cost more money.
However I’ve started to invest in a few bits and pieces – a soda stream because I used to get through a few big plastic bottles a week of sparkling water. I also bought a Kindle which (maybe I’m wrong!) I figure is environmentally friendly as I’m not purchasing books any more. I’m trying out Who Gives A Crap recycled loo roll which I love and I’ve also purchased the most expensive ear buds I’ve ever bought in my life (£8!!!)! They are made of bamboo. We also have been ordering the Riverford Veg box for the past two years – which has been an awesome and enjoyable investment – especially because there’s always a cracking recipe included in each box. These are all very small things I realise, but if I can implement a few small changes a year, it’s all going in the right direction isn’t it?
And then there’s the environmental experiments that have backfired. I spent autumn and winter not buying any new clothes – I was so proud of my self restraint for not purchasing anything new and gave myself lots of smug brownies points. And then something cracked in me in March and I went and bought a shed load of new tops. But it felt so good. And I realised that the confidence and the happiness those clothes gave me was worth it. I think we can cut ourselves some slack about these things.
However I’m 100% committed to continue to educate myself, to ask questions and keep introducing small changes and perhaps most importantly I want to join in the conversations about the environment, admit that I’m scared, don’t know what I’m doing but I’d like to help. That’s got to be a good starting point don’t you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts/tips on this subject – particularly around getting the balance right of making changes, but not feeling like you’re missing out as a result.