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How to be more sustainably minded – and keep it up
We know, this year hasn’t exactly gone to plan. “You can say that again” we hear you sob into your keyboard as you wipe sad biscuit crumbs off your trackpad, pause Netflix and minimise your list of petitions to sign and books to read.
Pssst. Sign those petitions and order those books before continuing, please!
But, with the global quarantine and reduced human activity we have experienced over the past few months in order to curb the spread of coronavirus, it has to be said that a certain sort of natural beauty has come with this relentless pandemic.
You’re bound to have already seen pictures of the earth ‘healing itself’ from the lack of air, water and noise pollution that us humans inflict on it year after year after year.
From Venice’s canals running clear enough for dolphins to swim in them and blue skies appearing over the usually over-polluted Delhi, to animals roaming around the streets freely and carbon emissions falling fast; it’s obvious that the act of us all staying in has allowed for nature to heal what’s out there.
Although we can’t upkeep this kind of lockdown life forever, we can actively choose to live in a more sustainable way and appreciate how special the earth and its inhabitants are (which is what this whole pandemic is meant to be teaching us, right? Well, that and to wash our hands…)
When it’s time to go back to normal, or what we might call the ‘next normal’, have a little think about what’s worth rushing back to and the kind of person you want to be in the future.
If that’s someone who wants to treat the world better, keep reading for some tips on how to be more environmentally conscious from here on out.
From minimising your plastic use to growing your own food, it’s about time we looked after the planet we live on (for the benefit of the people that live on it).
Swap don’t shop
Buying some fresh new threads every week (or couple of days, uh-huh– we see you) really isn’t the best way to look after the planet. Fast fashion is a big no-no if you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle with an estimated £140 million of clothing ending up in landfill each year.
So why not arrange a meet up with your friends, take some clothes you no-longer wear that much with you and get them to do the same? A little swippy swap never hurt anybody, and you’ll feel like you’ve done a ‘new clothes’ shop without actually contributing to the problem.
At the very least, if you do want to buy something new, make sure to shop a sustainable brand such as Reformation, House of Sunny or We are TALA to ensure you’re offsetting your footprint and wearing environmentally friendly materials as much as possible.
Grow your own food
From learning how to bake banana bread to taking up running 5K, coronavirus has led us down many new paths and ventures since the start of the year, so how about adding becoming an at-home greengrocer to your list?
Growing your own fruits and vegetables means you can control what goes into the soil and reduce the amount of harmful chemicals polluting our environment. It also means you won’t over buy at the supermarket and risk wasting food, which is a huge problem in the UK.
If you do have any surplus produce kicking around, I’m sure your friends and family would love a little fresh fruit and vegetable care package on their doorstep every now and then. Anyone for onions?
Keep working from home
If you’re one of the lucky ones who has been able to work from the comfort of your own home for the duration of the pandemic, then see if this is something that can be done more often when the world snaps back to ‘normal’.
The reduction in CO2 emissions over the last few months has been staggering, and if we all stuck to using a little less gas to get where we need to be, then our earth can continue to heal some of the damage we’ve caused to it over the years.
If your employer doesn’t really get on board with this modern way of working, then maybe invest in a bike to get to work. It saves on harming the environment AND its fantastic thoughtless exercise – it’s the best of both worlds.
We all know how harmful plastic is for the environment, and there’s now too many options out there to get away with saying you ‘can’t avoid it’. From reusable water bottles and coffee cups, to supermarkets letting you take in your own tuppleware and all sorts of different kind of recycle bin, there are thousands of ways to reduce your impact on the environment.
In the beauty and personal care industry alone, you can minimise your use of the nasty stuff in a number of ways from ditching single use face wipes, buying shampoo and soap bars, swapping big-brand makeup items for eco-conscious alternatives and even looking into re-useable sanitary products such as a menstrual cup or menstrual underwear.
They sound a little different to what most of us are used to, but they last a whole lot longer, are better for the world and save you loads of pennies in the long run.
We live in a digital world now, where we can access all kinds of information literally from our fingertips. For example, did you all know that Cher is 74? Don’t believe us, honestly google it – she’s an earth walking goddess!
Anyway, if your front door mat still gets covered in bills and you’re a sticky note fiend when working, then get with the times, girl.
Opt for paperless billing, get your bank statements sent to you via email and use the note’s app on your phone or laptop. Not only is this environmentally friendly and super sustainable, it’s actually so much easier and means nothing can ever get lost or misplaced – as long as you use iCloud correctly, which to be honest, we probably all need some lessons doing.
WORDS BY LAUREN WALLACE.