Every time I throw away plastic I feel a little sick. Does anyone else feel that way? A wave of guilt and dread washes over me. I feel like the worst person in the world. My mind switches between the impact it will have on the wildlife, the sea creatures, the plants, the people - everyone and everything really. I feel simultaneously guilty and helpless. The world we live in uses plastic like it's going out of fashion which makes avoiding it difficult. Not to mention the many other human inflicted things that devastate our planet from the fishing industry to the meat industry to the fashion industry and everything in between. It can feel as though every action negatively affects the planet in some way which is overwhelming to say the least.
Slowly, more and more of us are waking up to reality: if we don't act soon, our planet as we know it will cease to exist...
For me, no matter how much I do to be eco-friendly it never feels like enough. I have this constant sense of anxiety. Even as I write this, I feel that I am struggling to get all of my thoughts down in a coherent manner. Yesterday I saw this quote on social media from Anne-Marie Bonneau: 'We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.' And it struck a chord. So many of us are paralysed with fear and guilt that we do nothing. We think, well if I can't do it perfectly I won't bother at all. After all, what difference can I make as one person? The truth is: a) perfection doesn't exist b) we can all make a difference and even the smallest act can cause a ripple effect. What's more, we don't have to implement all of the things. We can start with a few simple changes in one area and go from there.
On top of this, we each come from different privileges with race, class, socio-economic status and so on all impacting what we are able to access and implement. So, with all of that in mind, on Earth Day 2021, I wanted to share with you some of the practices I do to help protect Mother Earth. Some are simple. Some are a little more complicated. Some are a work in progress. Some I have mastered.
Making my skincare and haircare routine plastic free - I have been using natural products for a while now. Having curly hair, this is something that's always been on my radar since curly hair was not the norm when I grew up (separate blog post on this coming soon!). Nowadays there are more and more plastic free products available from a myriad of small businesses. From soaps to shampoo bars to conditioner bars to exfoliator bars, it is becoming easier to simplify your routine and use less packaging.
Buying less - whether that's clothes, food or anything else. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us buy far more than we need. Overconsumption is a huge issue in the West. In the UK, roughly a third of the food grown in the field never actually makes it into anybody’s mouth. That is horrifying. Add onto that the clothes we throw away and all the other crap we buy, don't use and throw away it's pretty sickening. Before I buy anything I simply ask myself if I truly need it and what value will it add. Where possible I buy from sustainable, climate-positive businesses or second-hand. In terms of food, I find meal planning is super helpful so we only buy what we need and also...
Composting - this is a great way to recycle kitchen waste and it reduces landfill waste. Plus you get quality home-made compost for your plants.
Reduce consumption of animal products - I am vegetarian and am slowly transitioning to being vegan. I know this is a sensitive topic and there are many layers to it from money to mindset. I would say try cutting down on the amount of meat and fish you eat where possible.
Plastic-free products - this is something you can do a room at a time in your home. There are numerous websites to buy plastic-free replacements for kitchen items, bathroom items etc and more and more towns have zero-waste shops you can visit. The simplest place to start is by using a reusable water bottle and coffee cup and take it from there. You'll be surprised what's available when you look for it!
These are just a handful of things we can do. As I mentioned, start slow. Use up what you have first - don't just throw them all away. Recycle and upcycle where you can. Work on one area/room at a time. It's more important that the changes you make are things you can keep up over a long period of time.
What are some of your practices that help our beautiful planet? I would love to here - email me or DM me on instagram.
With love and gratitude,