Sometimes, staring at the big picture for too long will blur out all the fine lines and details. Diving into a more sustainable lifestyle can be exciting, motivating and overwhelming all at once. All the research I do and realising how much of a ways to go I have, makes me feel as though there is no hope and I’m doing all the wrong things.
Recently I tumbled down one of these pessimistic mind holes and it led me to stand still and get back to the basics. What little things can I, we, do to make an impact. Or, actually, to reduce my negative impact on our environment. What little things am I already doing and where can I better myself or progress?
I’ve listed five basic things we all do, use or consume, and along with them ways to approach them in a more sustainable, conscious way. I will never tell you what or what not to do, or blame you for your habits and decisions. I am very well aware that a “sustainable lifestyle” is simply not attainable for everyone, which is why I all I want to do simply is to inform, inspire and introduce you to alternatives. Do with the information as you please. Every little step in the right direction is a tiny victory. Move at your own pace and remember that knowledge is power. Don’t look away but also don’t beat yourself up over not being perfect.
1 – FASHION
By now, most of us are well aware that besides being inhumane and unethical, the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters out there, contributing to the enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emission. Look into your purchases and be critical: do you need the things you buy? Do you know where and how they are made? What impact do your purchases have on our planet? Invest in higher quality garments, reuse old items, recycle, thrift your heart out, upcycle, repair – there are plenty of ways to look and feel amazing in clothes without doing any harm.
I’ve been working with Organic Basics for a long time now and their Low Impact Project was one of the main sources of inspiration for me to look back into the basics of sustainability. I am inspired by their values & ethics & their innovative and creative philosophy. Being able to work with people who are striving forward and use their knowledge and talents and skills to create things that help us towards a better future brings a smile to my face and gives me hope.
You can use ‘LAURAOBC3‘ at checkout for a 15% discount!
2 – FOOD
You’ve heard it hundred times and here I go again: the stuff you stuff your face with can actually indirectly, but seriously harm the environment. A few things you can change to do better:
- reduce the amount of meat you’re consuming
- look into local farmers
- Take note of what fruits and veggies are in season
- Buy organic
- Avoid products with palm oil
3 – TRANSPORT
Living in Amsterdam, a way of transportation other than my trusty bike really doesn’t interest me very much. However, riding a bike is definitely not possible everywhere, and walking to work might not be an option for you either, but perhaps that trip the the supermarket or to a friend a few blocks away would actually make for a lovely little stroll. Consider your options and see what works for you.
Think before you book your next flight, trains or busses can take you a long way.
4 – PLASTIC
Obvious, but an absolute pain in the ass. Most supermarkets still think it’s okay to individually wrap avocados or apples in layers of plastic. Bring your own canvas- or net bags, avoid unnecessary plastic, find bulk stores near your or go to a weekly market. Buy your own reusable coffee mug, a sturdy water bottle, an aluminium reusable straw and meal prep instead of buying pre-packaged sandwiches or meals. You don’t have to do all of these things at once, start by one little change and move on to the next once you’re used to it.
5 – WASTE
Ties in very well with previously mentioned plastic issue: we simply produce way too much waste and it’s actually destroying our planet. Besides avoiding plastic, make sure you sort and recycle your waste. I’ll say it again: I know that an extreme zero waste lifestyle doesn’t work for everyone, but making the tiny effort to separate your plastics from your organic waste should be attainable, right?
Lastly, I hope you can all find a little bit of joy in trying to be better. I genuinely feel excited when I order a coffee and hand the barista my reusable cup. It’s a great feeling and it’s okay to be proud of the efforts you put in 🙂