By Camila Karalyte
It’s no surprise that living ethically and sustainably is increasing in popularity. Climate change is a worry, and fear, amongst many of us. It is our duty to help prevent further decline of the planet. Sustainable living involves trying to reduce the impact on the environment in ways that are beneficial to you and the Earth.
Feeling overwhelmed by the current climate crisis is normal as our generation will have to live in dying conditions. This has been built up from years of environmental stress and unethical production. Whilst not everyone will understand or care, it is important to educate yourself and make sure you’re switched on about climate change.
Incorporating ethical and sustainable elements into your life will be better for your health and the future of the environment. Your bank balance will also benefit in the long term- something we all love to hear! It can be hard to adapt to at first, but you can start by introducing small changes into your daily routine. No matter how big or small, every little helps.
We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world. – Jennifer Nini
Easy steps towards ethical living
Breakup with fast fashion
We’ve all been tempted by a sale, insisting we need another pair of shoes. Disguised by the beauty of the product, lies a darker truth. Many brands are based on unethical methods and values, something they don’t often disclose with us as customers.
Who made this? A lot of companies provide work for people in third-world countries, paying them way too little below the living wage. Not to forget, they also have to work in poor conditions, ruining their health. There’s a reason why these clothes are often cheap for us to buy, as they have been made quickly and unfairly.
To combat this, buy your clothes from ethical brands, ones that really value the quality of the product as well as the worker who made it. It is known that sustainable brands can be a little on the pricey side but there are plenty of affordable ones– just remember that it’s better to pay a bit more for the benefits to the environment.
Another way to help reduce fast fashion is to shop less and try to shop second hand and vintage. It’s a great way of reusing what is already out there without additional harm to the planet, and it’s nice to know that every piece of clothing has a story behind it.
Thankfully, we live in a society where fashion is becoming more inclusive of all shapes and sizes. Many brands do not, however, practice what they preach, and it can still be hard for those of us to shop sustainably. Second hand and vintage stores can often lack larger sizes, making it hard to be mindful when shopping. However, there are some brands that value sustainability as well as inclusivity– without breaking the bank!
Consider being more plant-based
Eating plant-based and buying organically and locally will help stop animal cruelty and lead to a lower carbon footprint. There are plenty of environmental disadvantages to eating meat, dairy and eggs, so reducing will help with lowering CO2 production, land use and greenhouse gases.
When shopping for fresh produce, try and stay local as this will contribute to tackling pollution. This will also help support small businesses and farms where it is usually organic and free-range. Maybe consider growing your own fruit, veg and herbs!
It’s not easy swapping to a completely vegan diet but eating less meat and dairy will definitely have an impact. Be creative with your meals, it doesn’t have to be boring! Switching to plant-based will help with animal cruelty as less animals will be bred in horrid conditions for our consumption.
Consider cycling over car
It’s not a secret that while driving a car is practical, it is also harmful to the environment. If possible, limit driving and cycle or walk instead. Not only is this beneficial for the planet, it will help with your health too!
If walking/cycling isn’t possible, public transport is a good option as there will be less cars on the road. As well as cars being bad for the eco-system, the actual building, and eventually destruction, produces problems. Sourcing the materials and getting rid of them pumps out toxins into the air. This includes car batteries, plastics, metals and fuel.
Consider buying your clothes from local businesses as bigger overseas companies use a lot of carbon for shipping clothes/products around the world. It’s always helpful to support smaller, local businesses too!
Swap to eco-friendly brands and natural materials
It’s easy to forget that makeup, skincare and even washing detergents could be adding to the harming of the environment. Making sustainable changes to your beauty routine can be as small or as big as you like. Something like swapping from makeup wipes to reusable cotton pads is an easy yet really effective way to do your bit for the planet!
Beauty products can be pricey for a lot of us, especially products that are sustainable and cruelty-free. Luckily, it’s something many brands are looking to promote, and there are plenty hair and beauty brands that suit a more affordable budget! If finding sustainable products is hard, try and look for ones that have biodegradable packaging or refillable bottles instead.
Another way to help the planet is consider trying out alternative period products. A lot of menstrual products are made of plastic, not the most sustainable material out there. There are so many options, from the moon cup, to period pants- you just have to find what suits you best.
Reuse, reduce, recycle
It’s an old aged saying, but it’s still relevant. It’s such a simple way to be more ethical in your daily routine. The small effort of taking out a reusable bag when shopping instead of stocking up on the cheap plastic ones, recycling cardboard and other materials, and reducing plastic packaging are great ways to start your sustainable journey.
You can see the changes across the country, being charged for a plastic bag in stores and the introduction of reusable or paper bags for fruit and veg. It really is so simple but effective.
Repurposing old pieces of furniture is a fun and creative way to avoid the harsh manufacturing processes. This can be done with pieces you already have or second hand from others- places like car boot sales and marketplaces are brilliant as you can get some items for really cheap, sometimes even for free if people just want to get rid of it. So, find your creative streak and give it a go!
Small changes, big improvements
We’re not going to be able to change our lives completely overnight, neither can we resolve the climate crisis as quickly. It will take years and years of cooperation from all of us to make a significant change, but every little choice and change is a step in the right direction.
For those of us with families or children on the way, introducing these easy steps will help for future sustainability. Start sooner rather than later with children, and they’re more likely to maintain these ethical habits into their own lives later down the line- teach them the values, how it will benefit the planet and themselves.
Sustainability isn’t just about what we eat or what we use, it can be implemented within our homes too. It is important to bring our beliefs into the house as this is somewhere we spend a lot of time and energy. Creating a sustainable home will help surround ourselves with eco-friendly vibes while helping the Earth too.
Be more conscious of the planet and your actions- help the future become greener.