A beginner's guide to going green
Part of my mission to live more gently on this Earth (for others and for myself) also involves my impact on this beautiful planet.
So many things need to change for the way we live to become sustainable, and a lot of this involves governments and corporations taking responsibility and buying into the solutions.
There are still many things we can do as individuals to help make the planet that much more 'green'. I've listed some of them below, as well as some further resources.
- Make noise. What I said about governments and corporations taking responsibility? That only tends to happen when enough people have made enough noise - for a long enough time! That means writing to and calling representatives, signing petitions, talking to your family and friends and engaging in this battle both on and offline.
- Find out more about the food you eat. Which companies are you buying from? Where is the food made? In what conditions? It sounds daunting, but just tackle one product at the time. For example, one of the first changes I made was switching from regular milk to almond milk. I chose this because the environmental implications of industrial dairying are huge, but it was such a simple and easy switch to make. If you look at one product or category of food at a time, you can slowly learn a lot more about food and where it comes from. Then you can make the right decision for you.
- It's all about packaging. Plastic bags, boxes within boxes, plastic inside boxes inside more plastic...packaging is a hard thing to avoid. But it's important to try as it has such terrible consequences for wildlife. It's good news that supermarkets are starting to get the message and phase out plastic bags - and if you're ordering your groceries online, you can even request they deliver them in cardboard boxes. You can suggest your local cafes invest use paper or metal straws instead of single-use, use a keep cup, invest in reusable bags and try to avoid plastic as much as possible in everyday life. It's getting easier in New Zealand, with stores like GoodFor and The Natural Co making plastic-free life a lot more accessible.
- It's not just food. Clothing, household products, toys, furniture - everything you can think of has sustainability considerations. That can be overwhelming, but just think about what's most important to you first and go from there. You don't have to save the world in one day.
- You don't have to be perfect. I'm not vegan, I still use plastic products, I drive a car that runs on fossil-fuels...but I'm only at the start of my journey, and have already made some valuable changes. I know I will only keep going from here. Every time I choose to spend my money on something, or somewhere, that puts a higher value on sustainability, I'm making some kind of difference.
- It's a constant process. Trying to make your own life more eco-friendly is a forever thing. There's always going to be more to do, more governments to write to, more companies to demand better from. See that as an inspiring challenge, not as discouragement. All those actions add up over a lifetime - the most crucial thing is just to get started.
Best Fish Guide - to help you eat the most sustainable fish
2018 Ethical Fashion Report - for more information about fashion and sustainability
100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life - more tips on ditching single-use plastic
Write a letter to your MP - tips on how to lobby your local MPs
How to compost - a great way to deal with your organic waste
Feel the fear. Be your best. Give back.
Any other great beginner eco-tips you think I've missed? Let me know! Always love hearing from you.