Today I want to talk about the planet!
Now anybody who knows me will already understand that I am a bit of a hippy (in both a spiritual way and in terms of being weirdly obsessed with pine trees and herb gardens). I absolutely love nature and animals, and in recent years have become increasingly aware of the way in which my choices impact the world around me. Taking steps to become more eco-friendly are not always easy (like the time I tried to make my own toothpaste- it somehow managed to taste like a combination of a newspaper and a kitchen sink). Regardless of the ways in which you consider the planet, I think we can agree that giving a damn about the earth is important. It is so damn important. My qualms lie with the people who manage to get through life with little to no consideration of the future or how this life can be sustainable. This is something that makes me an angry chilli.
But at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old lady, I’ve managed to concentrate my frustration and confusion about certain members of society into one exasperated question: Why do people think that it’s not cool to care?!
As a young woman growing up I have been passionate about many things. Animals, books, netball, volcanoes (it was a weird phase that included a lot of documentary loans from the library), I unashamedly dabbled in many different things that brought me interest and joy. Now, caring about things that other people aren’t interested in can make you feel like a bit of a dork, but it wasn’t until I became a little more headstrong that I realised that the people who were doing all of this judging were in fact people who weren’t secure in pursuing their own interests and joys and passions. Appreciation and respect are most easily radiated by people who are first secure with themselves. People who understand that the many different avenues of interest that make up the world do in fact make it a more beautiful and diverse place.
So I have learned to be quite unapologetic and fierce with my passions and goals, and it is a trait that I aspire to spread like wildfire.
As I said previously, being a greenie can be difficult. We live in a world that has become so focussed on instant gratification, that it is costing the planet heavily and horribly. The focus on status and accumulation is so out of balance with the need to respect what we have and find happiness within ourselves. Honestly, labels are crap. Status is, more often than not, rubbish. We all come into this world as tiny bundles of potential, alone in some ways, and surrounded in others, and we leave without the luxury of being able to clutch the many possessions we accumulate in this lifetime. So from the moment we are born, to the moment we die, we leave behind both physical possessions and invisible impressions.
Getting a little bit practical now, here are some actual ways in which you can reduce the negative impact on the world around you.
- Reusable bags! Put some in your car, by your front door, hanging on a chair so you see them as you are going out the door. Old t-shirts make excellent reusable bags, and with a little bit of upcycling you can make your own quickly and easily. Check out this link for a guide! https://www.mommypotamus.com/no-sew-t-shirt-tote-bag-tutorial/
- STOP using those stupid-ass pointless single use produce plastic bags. You know, the bags that people put two apples in, then grab another to put a cauliflower in, and another to put a bunch of bloody BANANAS IN (you don’t eat the skin?! What needs to be protected?!). These bags are so pointless, it makes my brain hurt. Fruit and veg should be given a quick wash before being used/eaten, so the plastic barrier that is utilised prior to that wash is totally futile. Please stop it. If you are obsessed with having your apples/pears/whatever in a neat little bag so they don’t roll around in your basket, then please invest in some cute little reusable produce bags
- Single use straws- cut the cheeky things out! If your local bar or café are using paper straws, give them a hi-five from me, because it is a much better option. An even better choice is to invest in an awesome reusable stainless steel straw that you can keep in your handbag, or even on your keychain if you get one of those cool collapsible ones. In lieu of that, when you are out and about please opt for a paper straw, or no straw if you can! Leave the plastic out of the equation
- Check your local council website and be really clear on what you can and cannot recycle. I recently learned that you can scrunch up aluminium foil when you’re done with it and it can be recycled. I never knew! Also be really vigilant with recycling scrap paper, and old toilet rolls! These are things I often forget about and almost put into the regular bin. Also start lining your bins with newspaper instead of plastic bags. It is such an easy alternative!
- This may be a little hippy-dippy for most people, but there are so many recipes online for making your own toothpaste (don’t be discouraged by my experience, I did it totally wrong and freaked myself out), shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Not only will making your own products save you a lot of money, it will also reduce the amount of plastic you are throwing out with all of the excess bottles and packaging
- Bamboo toothbrushes are super cool- you use them as per usual and once it’s time to get a new one, you just have to cut off the bristles and pop them in the bin, then bury the wooden handle in the garden! You can hugely reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans and landfills from old toothbrushes. Also do your best not to buy disposable razors- get ones where you can just replace the razor head. The wastage of that whole plastic handle is awful
- For the ladies- cutting out pads and tampons and switching to a reusable menstrual cup can be an honest blessing! There are SO MANY BENEFITS to this choice! Don’t allow yourself to be freaked out by other people’s uneducated opinions regarding them, they are truly more comfortable than pads and tampons, they HUGELY reduce the amount of waste you are producing, and they are far more economically viable (one investment of around $60 which will last you up to 10 years, compared to buying a packet of tampons and pads every month. Menstrual Cup= $60 for 10 yrs VS. Pads & Tampons= for example $10 a month for these products, that adds up to a cost of $1200 over 10 yrs). I have a Ruby Cup, and the organisation that makes them are so amazing, for every cup sold they donate one to a girl in Africa which allows them to continue working and going to school whilst they are on their period. Check it – http://rubycup.com/
- Keep reusable cutlery in your handbag/back pack/in your car so you don’t have to use that horrifically wasteful single use cutlery. I keep a spoon in my car so when the desire to get a sundae arises (hey, we aren’t all perfect, it happens) I can say no thanks to the optional plastic spoon and just use my own.
There are so many other ways in which you can reduce, reuse and recycle, just do a little bit of research and you’ll discover all the ways you can make your life (and the planets) life more sustainable!
The point here is that we can make better choices, and it’s not about making totally perfect choices. Because come on, we are not all perfect! We can’t just cut out every type of plastic TOTALLY and COMPLETELY, but we can make small choices to reduce the amount that we use and waste, and collectively have an impact. My word of advice when it comes to speaking about important issues and taking these steps to do a little better, is to not be diverted as other people try to distract you. I can bet that at one point or another you have heard a variation of the phrase “there are bigger things to worry about”, or even the dismissive “sure, but what about this…?”. These phrases are a waste of time, as they never seem to add any substance to a conversation. These eco-unfriendly people speak absolute rubbish in order to dismiss and minimise the issue being raised, by entering the never ending cycle of “there’s always something/someone worse off”. It is one of those pointless comments designed to divert attention, and to make them feel better about doing absolutely nothing active to make a change in the world. So if someone judges you for whipping out a reusable spoon as you hit the drive thru because “well you just shouldn’t order that stuff then if you want to make a difference” or “there’s already plastic packaging being used so what’s the point?” you have my explicit permission to shake your head in a sickening display of pity toward them, open up this blog post and let them read it and weep (or at least read it and leave your kick ass reusable spoon and heartfelt intention alone).
It is a simple truth that you can’t take your material possessions with you when you pass, but there are so many ways that you can leave a positive mark on this earth. Be a part of a movement. Speak up when injustices occur. Add positivity to the collective consciousness. Be brave. Make a difference. Share your wisdom. And most importantly, don’t let those eco-unfriendly fun suckers bring you down!
“I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer” –Denis Hayes
Please feel free to comment the ways in which you reduce your impact on the earth, and further the stream of advice and knowledge!