I love a good environmental statistics.
Not because they usually leave me feeling all that optimistic about the future of our planet, but because I think that they have a huge amount of power.
Living in our own little bubbles, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how our individual actions, or our actions as a society, are impacting our wider home. I mean, I certainly didn’t used to think about where my plastic was ending up every time I put it in the rubbish bin in my little shared student flat in London! I was too busy being annoyed at the fact that I had to empty the aforementioned bin. Again.
But research into the state of our environment allows us to zoom out. We can look beyond our rubbish bin, our homes, the supermarkets we visit, the cars we drive and the countries we live in. Basically, a bunch of incredible scientists do the leg work for us. They allow us to take a glimpse at our present, our potential future and how the earth will look if we don’t get our shit together.
However, I also know that these sorts of facts and figures can feel overwhelming.
Reactions can range from “I’m going to ignore that and pretend I never saw it” to “Well shit, if it’s already that bad, what does this one bit of plastic matter?”
Been there. Done that. Got the fast fashion t-shirt.
So today, in celebration of Earth Day 2019, I’m going to utilise all of fuck-ups and successes that I’ve learnt from on my journey to more ethical and eco-friendly living. I’m going to show you how we can look at four of those statistics, take a deep breath and start to change them, one step at a time.
How to reduce the harm of the fashion industry
Stop supporting fast fashion. Or at least stop supporting it so much.
I wrote a whole post about how to avoid fast fashion, but let me give you the basics: Stop buying clothes that you don’t need. Make your clothes last by buying high-quality items and actually looking after them. Support brands that are doing good and are actively dismantling the harmful effects of the fashion system. Buy second-hand wherever possible.
Start with just one of these actions and you will already be taking a huge step in the right direction.
How to reduce your harm on rainforests
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you’ve probably heard about the havoc that palm oil causes. It is a huge contributor to deforestation, not only getting rid of the tress that we need to, ya know, breath, but destroying the habitats of various species too.
Before buying food, check the labels, making sure that you know the many aliases “palm oil” goes by. When possible, avoid it! Yes, even Nutella.
How to reduce the harm of factory farming
It’s simple, eat less meat and animal products.
If you can, eradicate them entirely!
However, if you’re not ready for that just yet, introduce a “meat free Monday” or experiment with veggie meals at home. Just cut down on your animal products and increase the amount that you eat which grows straight from the earth.
Find my veggie meals board on Pinterest for some serious cooking inspo.
Related podcast episode: How to eat more sustainably without going vegan
How to reduce plastic pollution
Reducing your plastic usage can feel like a huge task. And, well, that’s because it kind of is!
In 2019, plastic is everywhere from in our teabags (yes, really) to wrapped around our veggies. It’s definitely hard to avoid.
So, start small. Begin buying your produce loose. Remember your tote bags every time you go shopping. Take a reusable water bottle with you when out and about. Invest in a travel mug so that you don’t use disposable cups for your coffee.
Then work up to the bigger changes, like using plastic-free cosmetics, buying food from zero-waste bulk stores and making your own cleaning products to avoid unnecessary bottles.
If nothing else, dispose of your plastic properly (and recycle where possible!) to make sure that it is responsibly dealt with, and doesn’t end up in the sea.