Are you aware of the impact that you have on the world? If not, please do continue. If you do that’s great, but you can also continue to read.
I write this post as I sit in my favourite cafe on a chilled Saturday morning in Queenstown. I am not sat here saying I am perfect BUT every single day I am working on reducing my plastic consumption and living a little more sustainably. Let me set the scene, I am currently sat opposite three couples who all have two kids each, each child has a small takeaway cup, each adult has a large one, they have their food in takeaway bags, on cardboard plates with disposable cutlery yet they have chosen to sit down, in total that’s 12 takeaway cups and four brown bags of food. Now the cafe I am in is great, I’m sure well I hope these cups are going to be recycled BUT the lid won’t decompose. That lid will sit somewhere in our precious land, covered by more lids, bottles and everything else you can imagine that we so flippantly buy and toss away into that big landfill site somewhere in the world, it then becomes someone else’s problem right?
I write this because I’m passionate. I am passionate about change and I refuse to be one of those who talks about change and sits on their hands waiting for others to do their bit. So before I put words to the keyboard to the internet I made sure that I was practicing what I preach. Recently I have been trying to educate myself more and more about living more sustainable, creating more than you consume and figuring out the best way to adapt these changes into my life.
It was after visiting Bali earlier this year that I knew I had to make significant lifestyle changes. It broke my heart to see the amount of plastic littering the beaches and the ocean. I even attempted my own beach clean up one day while robbie surfed, met by judging eyes as tanned bodies rolled over and pretended that there weren’t piles of trash surrounding them.
It’s easy, well the little things are and that’s what is important. If everyone did a little bit instead of sticking it in the hard basket then we would at least start to make a difference. I am not here to preach, all I want to do is share with you some of the small & simple changes I have made to help our precious world, not just for myself and now but for the future, our children and theirs.
More plastic than fish
Yet we keep eating fish? Does it not make sense to stop eating fish? It has been said that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. That is scary, so scary to think that we, as humans who have the ability to stop that are going to ruin a home for so many. Refuse the straw, the plastic bottle, and if you can, refuse the fish.
Literally, the easiest thing to change in your life is to stop taking single-use plastic bags from the supermarket. Take your reusable ones, go buy a fancy one if it makes you feel better. Just say no when they offer you a bag for the three items you could so easily carry back to your car. Also, when you’re in the fruit and veg aisle, just stick it in your trolley. The brown stuff on onions, the yellow thing on a banana and the furry green skin on a kiwi fruit? Yep, you guessed it that’s a protective skin. Your fruit and veg will not die if it rolls around in your trolley.
You can also buy produce bags now, little net ones not made from plastic. If you keep those and your bags in the car you should never fall short at the supermarket.
Keep Cup or take away cup
How many coffees do you buy a week? Now imagine that on a global scale. Lets not just focus on coffee cups, let’s focus on everything that’s liquid, smoothies, juices, hot chocs anything you run into a store for and ditch halfway down the road, imagine all that waste.
Do your bit, grab a keep cup or takeaway bottle, that way you can always have it in your bag the next time you need your caffeine fix.
Flip the lid
Start to refuse the lid on takeaway cups. If you have forgotten your keep cup, then grab your coffee but refuse the lid. 9/10 times the cup you’re holding is recyclable but the lid is not, it will never ever break down. I am now that strict on myself that if I don’t have my cup, I don’t get a takeaway.
Another thing I keep handy in my bag is a set of metal straws. Times are changing and a lit of establishments now don’t offer you a straw which is great, however, if you’re partial to drinks that do need a straw, get some metal ones. They come in all different sizes and always with a cleaning brush.
A water bottle. Get one, they are cheap, they are reusable and best of all you can fill up for free anywhere! Plastic bottles are one of the biggest issues we have and if you don’t add to the problem it will start to reduce. I can’t remember the last time I bought a drink that was in a plastic bottle. I have three reusable bottles, two metal, and one BPA free hiking drinks bottle, collectively they cost me $70 and guess what? I will have them forever.
Im sure your mum still has a drawer full of mix and match tubs somewhere, so why not use it? Take a container with you when you get takeout food, that way you save on a plastic tub from the provider. They may also give you a discount for using your own container. Everyone is a winner.
Reduce your meat consumption or stop altogether
This is a tricky one because of our attitude one towards animals and two towards being vegetarian/vegan. If you have been brought up as a meat eater or surrounded by meat eaters it is harder to change your perception on this topic. However, do some research on what you’re eating. Is it really that good for you? I won’t talk too much on this topic but for the past 3 months I have lived a plant-based lifestyle, I haven’t been totally strict but no meat or dairy has been consumed in this time and I feel amazing for it.
Raising animals for food requires a mass amount of land, food, energy, and water. Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the worlds transportation systems combined. Not to mention its pretty cruel and unnecessary when you open your eyes to the possibility of living a life without meat.
Grow your own veggies
This goes back to creating more than we consume. Growing your own veggies, fruit, herbs, and spices is an amazing way of giving back to the planet, plus its also pretty rewarding.
The Take Three movement
If you’re walking around and see litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly. If you go to the beach, take three pieces of trash home with you. Ultimately all this trash will end up in our waterways and in the ocean if we don’t do something and start acting responsibly when we see it laying around on the floor.
Sea Shepard & beach cleanups
If you’re fortunate to run into anyone working for Sea Shepard you should shake their hand and help them out. They are actively trying to keep our planet clean and green, they have an awesome work ethic and host regular beach cleanups, you should attend if you can.
Educating others is key. Educating for sustainability values and supports our eco system. We all have a part in ensuring a sustainable future, if we are active in our approach we can help develop solutions to our global issues.
Here are a few companies that I have been lucky enough to work with recently and some others who are just doing epic things to protect the Earth we walk upon… remember kids there’s no Planet B, there is nowhere else for us to go and there isn’t a magic wand we can wave and get back what we have destroyed or the animals we failed to protect.
Create the most beautiful bottles and takeaway cups. A company that developed after visiting Indonesia and witnessing first hand the devastating effect plastic has on our environment.
A company with sustainability as a core focus. Creating active and outdoor wear using fabric made from recycled plastics, oh and they know all the workers who are making their clothes.
A website that lists cafes that will offer you a discount if you use your own cup! YEY!
You all know I’m a sucker for a good hat, what about a company that plants trees for every purchase made on their site.
Another company that does good things, and they happen to be really good people. For every faulty return sent to their shop, they will fix it for free, if the garment is non-repairable then it is sent back to the factory to be made into something else or it is donated to those in need.
Caring for the environment doesn’t require you to become an environmental activist, just eco-conscious. We as humans require a healthy ecosystem to survive as do the animals on our planet. Already in my short lifetime, I have witnessed animals become extinct, it’s heartbreaking to think that our children may only see some animals that we see today in picture books. Earth is where we live, we have nowhere else to go. Lets collectively make the small changes that will hopefully result in a bigger change for the place we so luckily get to call home. It only takes one person to start a movement that could possibly lead to an environmental breakthrough.
Are you going to be that person?