I have always had a love of nature. I feel that all of us are guests on earth and that during our lives in the grand scheme of things we are only here for a glimpse of time. So why does it feel like we are destroying the planet, and why aren’t we treating our world with the respect it deserves?
I also get that with modern life and the fast-pace-high-pressure structure of our times that it can be hard to be good. Economically and time wise it can be a struggle for many to be as environmentally friendly as they wish. While I do think a lot more has to come from the top, e.g. business and governments, paired with a complete change in how we do things, e.g. the goal in life should not be about making money at whatever cost, well all this needs to change. Money isn’t bad, but the love of money beyond human, plant and animal life, well that’s just nuts.
I am not perfect, far from it, yep sometimes I do get takeaways, I try to buy organic but don’t always. I sometimes eat things I shouldn’t yet deep down I want to make the world a better place. I have spoken to friends who feel the same but financially, and time wise struggle to buy more ethically. So I have put together five ways I feel we can help good old mother earth. Not to say these are the only problems but I think a little bit of awareness and encouraging people to do these simple things can make a difference. Besides the obvious need to recycle our rubbish, I feel this next five things can also make a difference…
1.Throwaway Society (clothing)
Italy has a wise attitude to fashion. In my eyes they go for quality rather than quantity. I feel that is a good philosophy to have. Save up and wait to buy and have less but instead decent stuff. Fashion is fun and can be a form of artistic expression. Where we have gone wrong is the need to buy so much. The sweatshops, child labour, high water consumption for fashion production and cost to the environment is immense. According to this article on the UN environment website 92 billion tons of solid waste are dumped into landfills by the fashion industry alone!
So those who like to change their fashion often, I suggest taking unwanted stuff to charity shops and buying replacements from charity and second-hand shops. If you do buy new, know where it was made and how much of a carbon footprint it made from being made to the point it reached you. With a little bit of effort and a change in mindset the need to have so much new stuff can be changed. Recycle, treasure quality over quantity — less of the throwaway society.
2. Takeway Drink Industry
Working in a busy job I know only too well how overloaded one can get. One sets out with all the best intentions to make lunch every day but then after teaching until late sometimes I can’t always achieve this. Though I may sometimes fail with my intentions like others, there are other things humans can do to help reduce our impact on future life. The latest trend hitting the country fast is reusable planet-kind cups for hot drinks. So one takeaway cup for life. Many takeaway places reduce the price for those bringing their own cup; so saving on the environment and on the purse! It would be crazy not to invest five to ten pounds sterling for a cup for life. Mine is made out of bamboo which is one of the fastest growing plants.
I also carry my own water but feel there aren’t enough places to fill up the water at when out and about. If there could be more drinking stations, it would reduce the amount of bottled water that is bought. If the big water companies could only tap into this lost business opportunity and have springs selling their water, it would mean they still keep their business but cut down on the horrible plastic that we are polluting our planet with.
3. Makeup industry
Don’t get me started on the cruelty and pollution caused by the makeup industry. The good news is there are more and more cruelty-free and ethical companies coming about. The problem is we live in a society that cares more about what we look like than ever. It seems to be more important than who we are inside; there is now enormous pressure on all to look perfect and not age. I am all for making the best of oneself but not via the extreme-planet-killing measures that seem in place these days.
Again I have heard from many how they wish to be more ethical but struggle with the costs of things. My suggestion is to have less makeup but better quality. Or if you can’t afford to go completely organic and veggie with your products, then I suggest switching a few of your things at a time. On days you aren’t going anywhere perhaps wear less makeup so it lasts longer. I found this great article which lists enviromental and cruelty free products.
Remember to also always reycle your beauty products containers!
4. Palm oil
Palm oil production is causing the extinction of wildlife and species, and because of humanity’s greed, we put profit before the planet. The biggest problem is that palm oil seems to be in everything these days. People are busy and don’t always read the packaging. The solution is to buy stuff without palm oil, even the sustainably sourced stuff I have heard causes harm. If you are busy then simply commit to reading the packaging of one regular product you buy a week. So if you find it in your peanut butter, buy another brand. Don’t forget to check cleaning products and makeup too. Say no to palm oil and help save the lives of orangutans and other wildlife species. Let future generations be proud of us instead of ashamed.
5. Eat less meat
The most significant known environmental impact on the planet is the mass meat industry. Step back in time, people didn’t use to eat meat with every meal and would have smaller portions. Animals were kept in better conditions; people would eat seasonally and didn’t waste food. In the Victorian and Edwardian big households, the lady of the house would plan the meals for the week and hence the cook would only buy what was needed for these meals.
Now we expect to eat what want with every meal, regardless of it being in season. The trouble is the planet can’t cope. To be veggie or vegan is your choice. I hate the way fundamental labels and judgements are carried by what we eat. I would say if you can’t give up the meat at least cut down on it. Besides the cruelty inflicted in the modern way of farming, you will be helping the environment. The fish industry too. Please don’t buy farmed fish, it is cruel and again an abuse of nature.
So in short just by trying five simple steps you can start to reduce the environmental impact that us humans make on the planet. Let’s leave a future for future generations. My only hope is that one-day big industry and governments will care more about the world and less about profit. We are going to need a miracle. They certainly don’t make it easy for people to care for this wonderful gift of a planet. Here’s hoping for a positive change.
Janey Bowyer (The Word Sprite)