When Being Sustainable Doesn't Feel Obtainable
There is a lot of talk about being eco-friendly and sustainable right now, which is awesome because it's important. However, I think for so many people the conversation seems very scary and overwhelming and so many of us are too scared to interject incase it's wrong. The conversation is so important, we know that there is no second planet but by having such unobtainable rules about being zero waste etc that's not helpful for anyone to even make small steps. It's a topic that is always on my mind and I'm trying to do the best as I can as well as opening my mind to learn a little more too and I thought it would be good to have a conversation about it today.
it's a huge privilege & where you live has a big impact on what you can do
Maybe one of the most important things to note about living a more eco-friendly way is that it's something that comes with huge privilege. Things, like cutting out plastic, not eating meat and so many more things, are not something everyone can do. And that doesn't mean it's ok to demonise someone for it or belittle them if they're not able to make the same changes as you. And often a lot of the time when it comes to being more environmentally friendly, location plays a big part. In big cities, you will more than likely be able to find a greengrocer where plastic is scarce meanwhile in small towns and villages those things aren't so readily available meaning you have to buy your fruit and veg in a supermarket where there is plastic everywhere. I live in a very small village with only a corner shop and my local town is very industrial so health food shops just aren't a thing where they are super common in huge cities.
IT'S NOT AN ALL OR NOTHING
When you read the scary statistics about the effect that single-use plastic has then it's too easy to think you need to change absolutely everything in your life and never touch plastic again. But that's just not obtainable and in order to help the world and make permanent changes, I do believe it's a one step at a time type of thing and also doing what you can. Small steps are not something to be ignored and should be encouraged, no-one is perfect and I truly don't believe being 100% ethical, sustainable and zero waste is possible. So often when people try and do their best and make a change that they are proud of there will always be somebody trying to tell them that it's either not enough or they're not making enough changes. Being so critical with each other isn't helping anyone and no-one likes to make a change if it's not met with encouragement or guidance.
it's a completely new way of doing something
There are a lot of things that when it comes to being ethical and sustainable that completely go against everything we're used to and have more than likely been raised doing. Putting your fruit and veg into a plastic bag or grabbing a straw at a restaurant for your drink are probably all things that we've grown up doing without giving much thought to. I know that I used straws for years and I never, ever thought about where they ended up. Even now I throw things in the recycling without really knowing how long it takes to recycle or even if it's the right type of material etc as not everyone's recycling centre is the same. Changing lifelong habits takes a little bit of time and adjustment, and that's ok as there is such a huge amount of things to learn.
This is an area where I really struggle and I think this where a lot of others struggle too. Fast fashion is really bad, there are so many awful things about that entire industry but more often than not people aren't buying fast fashion because they want a new item every single week. It's that they can't afford the more ethical options or even know what they are. With a clothing piece being ethically made and sourced it amps up the price a lot which not everyone can budget for. Something that I'm trying to when possible is shop second hand so I'm not feeding into the fast fashion world but shopping second hand when you need a specific item isn't the easiest either. I also think this is where selling the clothes that you're not wearing anymore as it means someone else will get a lovely item but not have to support fast fashion for it.
what I'm trying to do and what I already do
To round off this post I thought that I'd share everything I try and do in order to live a more sustainable and ethical life, of course, I am by no means a role model or perfect but I am trying to make positive steps and they are;
- Eating a vegetarian diet and attempting to minimise dairy.
- Minimal shopping and getting rid of anything I don't use.
- Not using plastic straws or plastic cups [straws shouldn't be banned as they're so important for disabled people].
- Using reusable shopping bags.
- Recycle what I can and giving single use plastic [like bottles and takeout containers] a permanent use.
- Purchasing ethically where I can and when I can.