The painful facts are now difficult to avoid: we have more CO2 in our air than ever before, rising seas are threatening to engulf the world’s islands and low-lying coasts, the day on which humanity’s consumption for the year outstrips the world’s capacity to regenerate resources that year is getting earlier and scientists are realising that more and more droughts and floods are down to human action. Such horror brings apathy and makes us feel that we can do nothing to help without extreme changes to the lifestyle we enjoy. But there are some simple things we can all do to live more sustainable lives. Rachael Lindsay gives us her top 5 tips…
Cut down on meat and dairy
Avoiding meat and dairy products is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. While meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Studies show that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.
For inspiration on how to go vegan without missing out on the good stuff in life, check out my story: https://houseofcoco.net/why-i-went-vegan-without-looking-back/.
This is quite simply one of the most effective things you can do to live more sustainably. Air travel is one of the more environmentally damaging activities we can undertake so just a few flights fewer and you are making a huge difference to the planet. Take advantage of the gorgeous nature and heritage in the British Isles, take the Eurostar to Paris to explore France or the ferry to Dublin to experience Ireland: there are plenty of great travel options that don’t require a flight.
One campaign is looking for signatures for those who want to pledge not to fly at all in 2020, quite a challenge if you are a frequent flyer like me, but something we should all start thinking about.
For more information, visit flightfree.co.uk.
A study commissioned by Oxfam has revealed some shocking facts about fast fashion. Each item of clothing you buy could travel 21748 miles – from a cotton field in the U.S, to production units in Bangladesh, to the shipment of the product to Germany and finally to the customer. Throwaway fashion is undeniably putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – it’s unsustainable.
Oxfam has launched a #SecondhandSeptember campaign to encourage us to try their second-hand clothes shops instead of supporting fast fashion. It is very simple: pledge to only buy second-hand clothes for this month and feel the glow of knowing you are doing something amazing for the planet.
For more information, visit oxfamapps.org/secondhandseptember/.
Furnish your home with a sustainable lifestyle brand
Home furnishings can have just as negative an impact on the environment as fast fashion particularly if you constantly update your home with the latest trend.
The second-best thing to second-hand is choosing a brand that uses sustainably sourced materials which are good quality and long-lasting. This brings us to Vênoor and its fantastic homeware. Not only do they produce and sell gorgeous sofas, tables, chairs and home accessories but they use workshops with high ethical working standards, use sustainable timber and metal, and plant a tree for every order made.
For more information, visit venoor.com.
Ditch single-use plastics
Think about your use of single-use razors, forks, cups, bags, and food storage containers, particularly those made in plastic. Packaging is a major source of disposable plastic so bring your own containers and bags (cloth or canvas is best). If your supermarket doesn’t sell food in bulk, make the request or find a better market. This is something that we have all got on board with amazingly in the past 12 months meaning figures have shown that far fewer plastic bags have been used per person and there are far more alternatives to single-use plastic than there used to be.
For more information, visit plasticfreechallenge.org.
BONUS: Ditch electronics responsibly
Given the technological advancements in today’s world, it is inevitable for electronics to break down or get replaced. Instead of tossing these gadgets in the trash, consider recycling them responsibly. E-waste, or electronic waste, is becoming one of the biggest pollutants of the planet, and these appliances contain harmful chemicals that may wreak havoc on land, water, and air. They also contain precious metals such as gold, silver, and steel, and the best way to reuse them instead of mining the earth for more is proper e-waste recycling. Here is a handy guide for more information on the topic.
Cover photo credit: @theplanetd.