Over the last couple of years I vowed to leverage my consumer power and take a more active approach to tackle the climate crisis, starting with some pretty significant changes in my life. Embracing this type of lifestyle can be challenging and there are several debates that I had to fight on this with myself and with others. We can’t and shouldn’t “buy” into sustainability. I take a lot of positive inspiration from others and from what they have achieved and that is what’s helping me to grow.
Small changes can add up to big transformations and I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned so others can get inspired from it too.
As we all know, global temperatures are rising – According to the NOAA 2019 Global Climate Summary: “The combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880.”
But why this is such a big deal? This rise is causing dire consequences throughout our planet from impacting our precious coral reefs to lengthening wildfire seasons alongside with worsened extreme weather events/changing of the seasons.
Even half a degree change over time could put our agriculture, water, health and environment at risk. A warmer world has more evaporation, leading to more water in the atmosphere. There is a great FAQ available on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’s website if you would like to read more on this. I can highly recommend it.
What we need to realise is that it is not too late to act – despite the growing concern we can still slow this transition down by changing our habits.
And with everyone’s help, no matter how small they are — we can attack climate challenge.
My sustainable habits and ideas should be able to slip into your normal daily routine with minimal disruption. This is what I needed from others when I started my green journey.
Some I find harder than others but overall they have helped me to be a better and greener version of myself.
- Choosing greener energy sources: If you are a homeowner, you are entirely responsible to source and pick your energy provider. You could look into renewable options (solar panels for example) but even as a basic change you could just pick a provider with greener electricity. There might be a small increase in price but generally you will be making a big difference to the planet long term. (Easy)
- Fast fashion: The fashion industry is thirsty and is a massive consumer and polluter of our freshwater. From a human perspective, the real cost of fashion is harrowing and we should all aim to make sure a fair price is being paid to the people doing the work so they can care for their families the same way as we do and have to. As the fashion industry is one of the largest user of water globally – the decision we make over our purchases have a massive impact globally. I have a couple of other articles on my blog about fast fashion and its devastating effect on our planet (not just environmental but also impacting real people and their jobs) Have you ever researched how much water it takes to create a pair of jeans? I have and the numbers are frightening. I follow a minimalist capsule wardrobe and I really enjoy the simplicity and practicality of it. (Hard)
- Fabrics, water pollution & washing: Avoid clothes that are made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester. By washing these items over and over again small microplastics are being released into our water system. Similar case with plastic sponges which you are using to do your washing up. These are relatively small things but very important. Opt for natural fibres and a wooden brush instead. (Easy)
- Change your relationship with plastic: Plastic is extremely hard to get rid of. I have already posted an article about my plastic-free cleaning tips but this point is worth mentioning here too. A couple of swaps I recommend in the kitchen: Silicone Sheets > Baking paper, Washable clothes > Kitchen towel, Plastic bags > Reusable cloth bags, Plastic carrier bag > Reusable tote bag, Plastic or paper straws > Steel or glass straws, Plastic containers > Re-fill jars. (Easy)
- Switch to a healthy and plant-based diet: Reduce your meat and dairy consumption, but also eat seasonally, and locally. There is no need for you to turn vegan overnight, but your diet is a massive contributor to the climate crisis. Check out my Vegan Lasagne recipe. (Medium)
- Support circular consumption: Buy products designed for circularity. As conscious customers, we have the power to choose and buy products that are redefining waste providing alternatives to re-use, remanufacture or repair. (Medium)
- e-Waste: A fast growing mountain of e-waste is further polluting the planet. The main benefit of recycling e-waste properly enables us to recover various really valuable metals and other materials from electronic devices that otherwise would go to landfill – with this we are also saving natural resources (energy), reducing pollution and creating jobs. (Easy)
- Green travel: Yes, I’m very guilty on this one. I fly and travel an awful lot which is definitely not eco-friendly and this habit is heavily contributing to my carbon footprint. I can’t live without traveling I’m afraid so I’m trying to compensate where I can. I’m also trying to look for sustainable stays and smart accommodation choices. (Lonely Planet – Sustainable Escapes) (Medium)
- Eco-friendly parenting: Ditch single use wipes and think about plastic toys twice. Buy plastic free toys from trusted brands who responsibly source their materials and don’t use plastic in their packaging. (Easy)
What more you can do?
- Learn and understand recycling symbols and recycle correctly at home
- Quit buying bottled water and plastic bags
- Try staycations closer to home
- Get some indoor houseplants
- Think about your commute
- Buy cruelty-free only
- Build a minimalist wardrobe
- Avoid greenwashing
- Check your labels (polyester = wearing plastic)
- Grow your own food
- Share your success stories
- Connect with sustainability communities
What others things I will do to improve?
How to start your waste free journey? Read more on here: ‘How to start your zero-waste journey?’
Keep pushing for change. I’m pushing myself each day to do better and be better. Use your voice, knowledge is power.