I want to be nicer to planet Earth

Is this almost a follow-up to my last post or a continuous stream of my almost never-ending anxiety about environmental issues, global warming, climate change, plastic pollution and such forth? That’s up to you to decide but as you can probably tell by now – yes, this is another post about my feelings on environmental related stuff.

I want to do better.

I want to see others do better. But at the end of it all, the change I can make begins and ends with me. I can share petitions and news articles on social media. I can write down my feelings on it. I can then blog and publish those feelings like I’m doing right now online. I can slyly suggest more eco-friendly products to others or the benefits of going vegetarian or vegan in hopes that it might stick in someones brain but does all of that matter if I’m not working hard at the same time? Being good to the environment is an attitude that needs to be practiced regularly to really see and understand the benefits and at this point in time I would love to see some benefits, although it may take a while, maybe a year or maybe more. But to know I’m going out of my regular routine to practice a new one that is better to the world I live in, I imagine would be a really rewarding feeling.

But also the less selfish reason is that the world really needs these routines in humans right now. We are causing all of this destruction, all of these horrible changes, all of this dangerous weather and all this harm to other beings that just want to live as much as we do. I think sometimes we forget that we are in danger as much as other endangered animals. I think humans like to think we are indestructible or that we should just accept all of this because it’s inevitable. But we need to hold on to that glimmer of hope that we can change something. There is plenty of studies that prove there would be benefits if we acted in different ways. If we were to reverse the amount of plastic in the sea. If we were to use the land we use for feeding animals for agriculture for actually feeding humans. If we were to not let the world heat up anymore than it already is. Scientists keep trying to tell us that there is hope out there if we all worked collectively, it’s just sad a lot of higher-ups won’t listen. It’s even sadder that we rely on them and don’t realise we can make a change.

Tips we can all learn from

What things can we do to start off? We all rely so much on a life full of plastic, disposables, one-use products, high emissions and unsustainable food sources that it’s like a rollercoaster that would be painful to jump off without slowing down first. Going cold turkey never encourages or helps anyone. So I thought I’d compile a small list for myself and for others trying to turn over a new leaf to a more eco-friendly life. I wanted to go into detail for each of these but if I did I’d be here forever! If you want me to do individual blog posts exploring the transition of eliminating certain things or any product reviews please let me know in the comments!

  1. Stop buying small plastic bottled drinks
  2. Stop buying makeup wipes
  3. Cut meat down as much as possible
  4. Also cut out dairy.
  5. Litter pick
  6. Invest in package free shower/bath products
  7. Stop buying disposable razors
  8. Go on a clothes shopping ban for a month 
  9. If you want to shop, go secondhand
  10. Print less
  11. Use a reusable bag for your shopping
  12. Walk or cycle
  13. Pick up package-free produce 
  14. Fix broken clothes instead of throwing out

I could go on and on but I don’t want to make it so incredibly daunting that both me and you are too tired to try. If all of us could look into at least 5 of the changes on this list, imagine what amazing benefits we could be giving to the planet? Obviously at the end of the day your health, your clarity and looking after yourself and the people around you will be a bigger benefit and that’s why I will never preach to myself or others the idea of going cold turkey or spending tons of money on products or lifestyle changes that they are not ready for. But making small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle? That’s always an amazing step and you should be incredibly proud of yourself.

Thanks for reading, if you’d like me to continue doing more personal posts on my transition into being more eco-friendly, any tips for people who feel trapped in a plastic-filled life or just recommendations of eco-friendly/cruelty-free products let me know!

Much love,

signaturejune18

Interesting sources that were originally tagged to some of the tips but I didn’t want to drown out this post with facts and recommendations! They may come back in future posts though!

Should everyone have environmental goals and resolutions?

So if you’ve been on the internet over the past day or two you’ve probably come across the news of the recent UN climate report or at least seen something hinting or referring to it. Although now it can be really depressing or just plain out heartbreaking to read through an article telling you what you already knew (things are bad, things need to change etc.), it’s a very important piece of news that everyone should clue themselves up on and take away something from it. The report essentially warns what could happen to our tired planet and state of living if global temperatures were to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. An article summarizing the report states ‘Staying at or below 1.5°C requires slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.’ I very much recommend everyone looks into the report and at some articles which I will link below as what is unique about this report is that it tries to prove instances of what could happen if globally we were to invest into trying to change things for the better. It acknowledges what economic damages could happen when the temperatures increase but also that if we were to fight harder against climate change it would cause an economic boost. ‘A recent report found that a global shift toward sustainability would yield a staggering $26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.

It is actually about 3am when I write this and I’d like people to take away from this blog post that I write stuff like this in a midst of anxiety and as a strategy of coping but also not losing hope and also trying to progress towards tiny, tiny victories and changes which if were to increase on a bigger scale would help encourage others to be more empathetic and understand the dangers of climate change. I feel personally the sad truth is everyone is very aware of climate change and although there’s an unfortunate selection of people who believe it’s fake or a myth (and even more sadly some of these people are in power), pretty much everyone can see the effects it’s having on the world. But has it become a tedious burnout for people? I used to get so upset in high school when I’d snap at my friends for littering or overusing hairspray/aerosols and I’d just get answered with an apathetic ‘the world’s already fucked, who cares’. I care. You should care too. It’s also very popular to have no care now. To engross ourselves in nihilistic banter where we joke we ‘crave death’ or that there’s no point to trying to change. But as funny as the odd joke is, I don’t want to walk head first into demise as if that’s what I was born to do. When I get anxious about the environment it’s because I know how many people are affected. So many innocent people suffer because of something they actually have a very small control over.

One of my recent ways of thinking about the environmental problem is that I’m actually starting to realise who is at fault here. Every human has a responsibility at this point. However the massive, rich companies have bigger carbon footprints than a small neighbourhood of people. The companies who point fingers at their consumers and claim ‘hey! Seals are dying because of you! You horrible scum!’ but then through every outlet they have, whether it be chain restaurants, chain superstores, they barely even recycle a small percentage of the mass amounts of garbage they create. The ingredients they use to create their coffees, that some companies still don’t pay tax for, are flown over creating a horrible amount of carbon emission but they stamp down on you, the small consumer, and claim you are causing natural disasters by not bringing in your own reusable cup. It’s all a hectic mess of capitalistic hierarchy and although there is benefits and flaws to big chain companies taking eco-friendly approaches by banning straws or charging for disposables – we fail to see that there are so many huge corporations paying to get away with damaging our planet and then turning the blame around on people just trying to get by.

So am I saying don’t support Starbucks disposable cup charge or a plastic bag charge cause ‘hey it’s not my fault anymore!’. Hell no.  You still have responsibility. The statement that if everyone does a little bit to contribute to fighting against climate change and helping the environment things could change is definitely true. Every little helps and the more people vote with their money and express their need for change through consumerism and support or petitions, the more things will change but it will realistically be in tiny doses and in my head I’m just picturing my country. The responsibility grows when you look at more and more countries in perspective. But if you are like me and literally cry whenever you get anxiety about the state of the environment or climate change’s effects – remember to take a step back and realise you are doing the best you can. If you are sat there going ‘fuck it not my problem!’ or failing to acknowledge what’s going on, then I’d want you to reconsider your mindset.

So I thought if everyone made small environmental related goals or resolutions (like new year resolutions) would that change things gradually? On larger scales you’ll hear of companies and organisations undertaking eco-friendly initiatives and such – for example a company might suggest that in their staff kitchen they’re going to stop purchasing disposable cutlery and cups and invest in reusable kitchenware and that all staff need to clean up after themselves and this will be to minimize their plastic waste. It’s a very made up on the spot metaphor but roll with me – if every family, couple, household or single person took on a mindset like this would it be beneficial?

I stopped eating vegetarian a couple of months back due to personal reasons and at least twice a week I claim that I want to go veggie again because I know deep down that eating vegetarian has bigger benefits in the bigger picture than how tasty a bacon sarnie would be. In a conversation about the report I mentioned me and my partner actually decided we’re going to slowly try to go vegetarian again. I see that as my goal for the next month. I also have been telling myself over the past month or two to cut down on buying new clothes and makeup, that if I really want to treat myself to something I should look into supporting independent businesses or secondhand clothing or I’ve also made it a goal that when my shower gels I have left over run out I want to invest in a packaging free soap (probably from LUSH, I have my heart set on the Sleepy Naked Shower Gel) because that means one or two less plastic bottles in the bin!

So what would your goals be? If you were a parent maybe you’d set your monthly goal to have one day a week that all household meals were meat-free (Meat-Free Monday for instance) or if you were a student you could make it a goal that you’d take your thermos to class instead of buying a coffee on campus so no disposable cup would be used? There’s a lot of ideas to think of and it can help the idea of starting off small and working your way through adding eco-friendly and sustainable routines to your life, all in all working towards the fight to help our planet!

What would you make as your environmental resolution for October?

Thanks for reading,

signaturejune18

Articles:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2018/10/9/17951924/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report-takeaways?__twitter_impression=true

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/8/17948832/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/10/how-to-understand-the-uns-dire-new-climate-report/572356/

https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

 

My eco-friendly resolutions for 2016

Being environmentally friendly has been a lowkey obsession in the back of my brain since I was a child and first heard about global warming. As a young kid with anxiety, the thought of destroying the earth really fuelled me with fear and guilt. I was very scared for everyone in my life and would get really upset whenever anyone in my family did ‘non’ environmentally friendly things like chucking away paper.

I always related heavily to that one episode of My Name is Earl where Earl tries to help a guy he wronged in the past, to find out this guy helps out at an Environment commune. He is educated on global warming then goes into a frenzy of trying to convince everyone to help the earth, he then hears news about pollution in China and feels like that he is doing nothing good. The leader of the commune then teaches him to spend 5 minutes a day helping save the planet. Everyone has to do their little bit. This has always stuck with me and I firmly believe everyone has a small responsibility to help the earth even in the smallest way they can. Whether it’s switching off lights that shouldn’t be on, walking instead of driving, taking public transport, gardening and planting more, donating to animal/environmental conservation – even if it’s £1 a month, anything is better than nothing!

It still saddens me to hear that global warming is taking it’s toll on the earth, especially lately when a lot of land near me was distraught from floods caused by ‘Storm Desmond’. I want to see change as I grow older and I want my children to grow up knowing they need to look after the planet they are on as there is only one earth.

I’ve not made many resolutions for the new year however I’ve decided, it’s time I make a couple! I’m going to try and stick to some environmental resolutions this year and here is what I’m going to do!

  1. Walk more – I have a bad habit of pestering my parents for lifts when I can’t be bothered. Which is really lazy and cheeky of me really, however this year I am trying to convince myself to walk more. Not only is it healthy for me, it also saves any emissions from car or taxi rides.
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  2. Cut out even more dairy/meat productsAgriculture is responsible for 80% of US water consumption and 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The news never tells us that does it? Even scarier – livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. Imagine how many forests, conservation or even homes could be in those places instead of mass breeding of livestock and food for said livestock. In 2015 I have slowly transitioned into a vegetarian lifestyle and in 2016 I am going to continue making sure I do not contribute to the meat industry footprint, I am going as far to even try and teach myself more vegan recipes so I can use even less animal product.
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  3. Save that greywater – It’s recently clocked to me how much water we just let go down the drain during showers/morning washes/baths and let the water turn into soiled, sewer water. However you can reuse this ‘grey water’ in some ways. Using buckets or tubs or whatever you can to catch shower water or scoop up bath water after use, you can then reuse it to do many things, for example ‘bucket’ flush the toilet (some toilets can use up to 5 gallons of water each flush), water non-edible plants outside (it has been recommended to pour this water on the soil surrounding plants) or even possibly handwash small items! As long as the water doesn’t go down the plug it’s perfectly ok to reuse it! 
  4. Open the damn blinds or get up earlier– This one could be seen as nit picky, but when I am in my bedroom I tend to have the main light turned on majority of the day. Which now I look at it, I could save a lot of energy from making some changes. If I woke up early and did anything I needed to do in my room in the daylight with the blinds open and then spent any evening time downstairs sharing the living room light with my family. I’d save so much!
  5. Shampoo Bars over Bottles – LUSH do a lovely range of ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ bars which are solid blocks of organic product you can just massage into your hair and they will instantly lather up. I’m almost finishing a small bar of Lush Seanik and it is very lovely and now to save the waste of plastic bottles I am considering getting another shampoo bar when this one is completely and utterly dissolved. This idea should work well alongside my previous idea of saving greywater.
    lushstuff
  6. Reusable Sanitary Pads – I have mentioned these in a previous post and here I am bringing up this unspeakable idea again. Reusable cloth sanitary pads are really useful for both you and the environment. Apparently in North America it is estimated 20 billion pads and tampons are discarded each year. Using, washing and keeping care of reusable pads is a completely other topic I am not going to go in to, but I have used them before and I have had positive experiences with these so this year I am going to try and keep on using them!
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So yeah those are my 2016 resolutions to reduce my global warming footprint! Are you guys doing anything to help the planet this year? Feel free to comment and follow me on Instagram for any updates in my planet loving life!

 

Thanks for reading,

Helena x x