If your social media feed is anything like mine, you will be aware that we are now almost two weeks in to Plastic Free July! This world wide movement now has now has millions of participants across more than 150 countries, and is really bringing single use plastics, sustainability and eco-living to the forefront of the media and our everyday lives.
Ultimately, the everyday choices we make all have impacts on our planet. Our planet can only produce a finite number of resources – from food, to water – and can only withstand a certain degree of greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay healthy. We only have one Earth and are utterly dependent on it for our survival and well-being (wwf.org.uk).
There are many definitions of sustainability, but essentially it means living in a way that meets our need for food, water and shelter, without harming our environment or compromising the availability of essential resources for future generations. To live sustainably we must use less of the earth’s natural resources, replenish what we can and produce less polluting waste.
The lovely and very knowledgeable Jen Gale over at A Sustainable Life is currently doing a fabulous job of inspiring me (and educating me!) to live a greener life and I have signed up to her #supschallenge (Action on Single Use Plastics challenge) to help me to create some better habits and awareness about my everyday plastic usage. As she quite rightly says, ‘Climate change is well and truly here and the effects are being felt all around the globe. At the same time, it can feel like our politicians and leaders are making short-sighted decisions based on profit and popularity, rather than on what the planet, and our future on it, requires. As one person, one family, it can feel like we are powerless to change it. But we can’.
Yes Jen, WE CAN.
Buy less, choose well, make it last. – Vivienne Westwood
Take another of our directory members Flock by Nature knitwear for example - They say that ‘the fashion industry is a huge contributor to global pollution and environmental destruction and we don’t want to add to this wastage. We want to leave a positive footprint and so we give a lot of thought to how Flocks clothes are made.’ By using all natural and sustainable fibres, produced locally, concentrating on quality (and offering free repairs) instead of quality and giving back 10% of profits towards environmental causes, Flock really are a testament to eco-fashion.
In another life, I used to be director of communications at Keep Britain Tidywhose mission started years ago in 1954 as an anti-littering campaign. Since then, it has become a strong and sizeable movement - so much more than simply encouraging people to pick up litter. They aim to change behaviour permanently by spotlighting the problem daily and offering creative solutions. By working with people, businesses, local authorities and government to educate, innovate and inspire - they are continually improving the environment on everyone’s doorstep. Brilliantly, this campaign has extended to local authorities, and our very own Keep Wales Tidy launched in 1972 and is currently on a mission to ‘protect our environment for now and for the future.’
We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to. - Terri Swearingen
Our planet, country and countryside deserve us to become more mindful of our choices and actions, but if this is new to you, how can we start? Here’s 10 super simple, cheap and yet marvellously effective steps you can take to start your sustainable style:
Use a refillable bottle
Take your own bags to the supermarket
Put up a no junk mail sign on your letter box to limit the amount of paper you consume.
Select unpackaged fruit and vegetables at the store/market
Turn off your devices at night including your wifi box.
Put on a jumper or pair of socks before turning up the heating!
Use LED lighting or CFL bulbs instead of incandescent lighting as it’s proven to last longer which reduces the need to keep purchasing light bulbs.
Read your favourite newspaper publications online instead of reading the paper versions.
Compost - If you don’t have your own compost bin, community compost schemes are increasingly common.
Support fashion brands that are ethical and environmentally conscious.
So while I am trying my best at Plastic Free July, helped enormously by Jen’s daily emails and her very engaging Facebook group, tell me:
What footprints do you leave behind? What small thing can you promise to change now, that will help to protect our future?