In response to Seaspiracy being aired on Netflix this week, there’s been a massive rise in conversation about sustainability. And before you click off this page… whether you believe everything that documentary says or not, the truth remains that we have serious work to do when it comes to living environmentally conscious lives.
There’s two things people say after reading articles and watching documentaries like Seaspiracy.
1. I’m gonna do something about it
2. I didn’t watch it / think it doesn’t matter / won’t affect me / what’s the point
Which are you gonna be this time?
It can be overwhelming to know where to start. But don’t worry, I’m not going to preach at everyone to become a vegan hippie who lives in the rainforest, and I’m not going to tell you to sacrifice so much that your life is miserable.
I’ve not got this down. I still fall for cheese, cheap clothes, affordable plastic and single-use items. I’m human. But being human means I also have a responsibility to assess my behaviour and think about the effect I have on this planet we’re here to look after.
What kind of world am I creating for my future kids?
Will it even look anything like the world I’ve known? According to scientific research, if we keep going the way we are, the short answer is no. Absolutely not.
Ultimately I agree with the cynics who say, “one individual switching to a bamboo toothbrush won’t make that much difference”. It’s the responsibility of big corporations, governments and conservation organisations to do their job properly and affect real change.
But there is something we can do. When consumer attitudes and habits start to shift en masse, corporations listen. They want to make money. So let them know what you value by spending your money on eco-friendly alternatives.
I’ll barely scratch the surface in this blog, but there’s a few things that I’ve found easier than others. Hopefully, they’ll be a great place for you to start too.
Here’s my top fav ideas right now:
1. Use a local milkman
We use the Modern Milkman to get our oat milk, semi-skimmed milk and fruit juice deliveries! They’re a national organisation, but they use local farms specific to your area to deliver your fresh products.
2. Buy ethically made clothing
First of all, don’t believe everything the label says at a glance. Sometimes big high street brands say “90% made from recycled materials”, and they are literally only talking about the TAG that says that… not the actual item of clothing. Look for independent brands that have an ethos you believe in. Do they pay their workers well? Do they plant trees to compensate for their carbon footprint?
Sustainable clothing can be expensive, but this will change as demand grows. This is exactly the mission that companies like Yes Friends are on. If in doubt, go second-hand. We really don’t need any more waste on this planet (Facebook marketplace is your friend).
3. All bamboo errythang
Toothbrushes, toothpicks, toilet roll, earbuds, straws, facecloths, sanitary pads, socks, cutlery, plates, lunchboxes, wet wipes, sunglasses, masks – you name it, you can probably find a bamboo (or other sustainable material) version of it.
Why are they good? They’re not plastic.
4. Buy loose fruit & veggies
Nature literally gave bananas their own biodegradable packaging. Can someone tell me why we insist on wrapping them in plastic?! When you go to the supermarket, take a reusable bag specifically for your fruit and veggies and take your pick from the loose ones. If you’re worried about getting them dirty, give them a rinse before you use them.
5. Walk & cycle more, drive less
I would love an electric car. It’d make everything so much easier. But they’re sooo expensive. So if like me you can’t afford one, try instead to minimise short car trips. Walk to the shop, use public transport or carpool with others to save petrol. Also, if you have a diesel, there’s no time like the present to get rid of that guzzler.
6. Reduce waste
A great area to look at for this is your toiletries & cleaning products. Have you tried shampoo bars instead of bottles? Ladies, do you use a mooncup?
Finding plastic-free and recyclable or zero-waste products can be tricky. But here’s two I’ve just started using:
- nuud deodorant, which I LOVE. It’s a money-saving, planet-saving product (my favourite combo) that only requires a teenie tiny amount of cream to be applied every 2 or 3 days.
- smol dishwasher and laundry detergent. Plastic-free, chemical-free products that come in recyclable packaging!
Both work perfectly with my super sensitive skin because they’re not only good for the planet, but also toxin-free.
7. Stop eating meat. Like right now.
FISH ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD. No, but really. Finding Nemo is onto something.
If you’re super reluctant about this one, I get it. It feels like a significant change of habits, traditions and everything we’ve been raised to know and love. While a vegan plant-based diet is the best way to help the planet, I realise that just doesn’t feel immediately attainable for most people (I still struggle with a cheese addiction).
However, there’s a few small steps you can take to start a journey towards not eating meat that will make a difference:
- Start with beef & lamb
They’re the worst for the planet due to the amount of land, water and crops required to farm cows and sheep. They also have the most air miles on them to get that lamb chop to your plate.
- Stop eating fish
Fish feels like the healthier option for many, but this just isn’t’ the case anymore. Not only are all our oceans full of tiny microplastics that fish eat, and then humans eat… but the fishing industry is increasing at such an alarming rate that it’s expected our oceans will run out of fish. Soon. In our lifetime.
- Choose only locally sourced, organic meat
If you’re purchasing meat from a local butcher or farm, that’s way better than buying a supermarket’s frozen chicken,
- Reduce your meat intake
Perhaps you could start with ‘meat-free’ Mondays and see how you go from there. In time, increase this day by day, meal by meal. Every time you choose not to eat meat, you’re helping.
- Reduce dairy
For example, I often say I’m “dairy-light” which basically means I use oat milk, fake butter, vegan ice cream etc. and make little choices wherever I feel like I can until I feel ready to take a plunge into veganism.
Lots of stats on this:
Here “going vegan for two-thirds of meals could cut food-related carbon emissions by 60%”
Here “meat and sugar consumption around the world should drop by 50 percent”
Here “beef and dairy alone make up 65% of all livestock emissions”
Here “millions of people’s lives depend on a dramatic reduction in the consumption of meat and dairy”
Here “if nothing changes, we will run out of seafood in 2048”
Here ““But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat”
And here “livestock provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland”
Also here just to name a few “producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles.”
None of the other steps above will make as much impact as stopping eating meat. And that definitely includes fish. If you think about how much land and resources are used for farming animals and how much of the Earth is covered in water (71%), then you quickly start to realise how much a continued imbalance at the scale we’re seeing will continue to change everything we know and value.
If our oceans die, that means plants in the oceans that give us much-needed oxygen, fish that reduce c02, sea creatures all throughout the food chain, birds on land and sea – all can’t survive. This lack of biodiversity and disrupted ecosystem will dramatically impact human survival too.
Spread the word
If we all did something to help today, and told another person about that something tomorrow, very quickly, we’d start to see a chain reaction for the better.
It’s already almost too late.
Please do this for my kids, and yours, and your grandkids.
It’s time now to actually take some action.
“Be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
– Genesis 1:28