Thinking about the environment can be daunting. I have had fazes where I’ve wanted to bury my head in the sand and stop CARING about something that seems so overwhelming and impossible. Climate change, coral bleaching, mass extinctions, plastic pollAHHHHHH.
Stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge you can’t ‘fix the world.’
Quite a relief really. What you can do is make some small and easy changes to your life, and educate your friends and family about these ideas too. Small things can spread, and before you know it your little change in attitude has made a big impact, all without drastically changing your lifestyle.
So, here are just a few ideas to start you off:
- Change laundry powder. Stop what you are doing and look on the back of your laundry detergent. On EVERY mainstream brand you will find the words ‘harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effect’ printed on the back of the pack. When I found it on mine it felt like a big old slap in the face. Every time I wash my clothes I’m pouring this toxic shit down the drain?! POOR FISH. Well, there are solutions. You can use the ecover brand which is much better for the environment. Alternatively, there is a brand called bio d which will also do the trick. It’s not just laundry powder that can be harmful, pouring thick bleaches down your toilet and even household cleaning products are toxic, you could check out the whole ecover range if you like.
- Reduce plastic. Sounds so obvious, but come ON people. Don’t use plastic polypockets to file your work, whack a hole through the paper with the hole punch. Get a reusable water bottle, you will save so much money by filling up instead of buying more. You can also avoid cotton buds with plastic sticks and go for paper versions, buy paper plates instead of plastic ones, and bring a spare fork in your bag if you might buy a salad out. Even things like toothbrushes are unnecessary disposable plastics. Check out the ethical superstore for plenty of great alternatives like toothbrushes made from bamboo.
- Careful about palm oil. Palm oil is a common ingredient in processed foods but is linked to deforestation, climate change and destruction of habitats. The organisation ‘Say No to Palm Oil’ campaigns against its unsustainable use and says
‘According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.’
The organisation has a really cool programme you can try for a month where you can slowly alter what you buy to try and live deforestation free. Check it out here.
- Reduce meat and fish consumption. You may not want to hear this but the worst thing you can do for the planet is support the livestock industry. Seriously, it’s the leading cause of water use, ocean acidification, fossil fuel consumption and deforestation in the world. Don’t panic, you don’t have to wave a vegan carrot wand right away, but you need to understand that meat eating is destructive if you want things to get better. You can learn more by watching the movie Cowspiracy which explains the issues in detail. To start, you could try ‘Meatless Mondays’ every week and see how you feel.
I’m going to leave it at four for now because I don’t want to overwhelm you. If you have any suggestions you’d like me to include in a second article please get in touch and I can release part 2 a bit later on. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.