I’ve always liked to think of myself as someone who cares about the environment, and I think this is the case with most people. No-one really wants to think they are doing things to actively contribute to the demise of our planet. But at the same time the majority of people are still complicit. I mean it’s understandable because it is hard to take action to try to prevent something that we won’t feel the worst effects of. Though having said that you just have to watch the news to see some of the effects of climate change.
I do find the era we live in to be quite a peculiar one in terms of the environment with world leaders refuting climate change when they can see its effects. And also in terms of consumerism it seems that there are two parallels fighting against one another, the one of convince like disposable coffee cups to suit our busy lives and also the rise of more eco conscious products like reusable coffee cups. Many businesses are trying to become more environmentally friendly by doing things like offering discounts to customers bringing their own coffee cups, and the rise of package free shops allowing customers to buy their essentials without creating waste. Yet there is still a trend to buy disposable items.
It was only a few months ago that I decided that I wanted things in my life to be less disposable and more permanent and hold more value for me. It wasn’t from just a single source or idea, but rather a mixture of things.
After reading Bea Johnson’s book ‘Zero waste home’* and watching YouTube videos from other zero wasters I became fascinated with the idea of reducing my waste, it was something that really resonated with me. From that I started to become interested in the idea of minimalism as it is something that interlinks well with the zero waste lifestyle, as by owning less, or rather things that bring value to you, you also naturally reduce your waste. The final thing that really pushed me to make more of an effort with doing my part for the environment came when I was just stating outside of my house looking around. You see where I live there is barely any houses and I am surrounded by beautiful fields and woodland, but I also happen to live on the same road as a country pub. The issue is not with noise or drunk people wandering around everyone, but with one of my pet peeves; littering. People seem to think it is acceptable to just dump their empty beer cans or McDonald’s wrappers along the road. It is just something that I cannot stand because it shows a blatant lack of respect, not a lack of respect for me specifically, but for the land that they are tarnishing.
To me it is not just an issue of them dumping their rubbish there and it doesn’t look nice, it’s that they just don’t think about it. I don’t believe that it is people trying to be malicious in any way, it is just that it is something that doesn’t matter to them,or just something that they never consciously think about. But witnessing people’s lack of significant thought about their own actions just made me think more about mine. I started thinking about all the things that I throw away like non-recyclable plastic and cotton face pads when there are more sustainable non-disposable alternatives to these items. For instance to reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastic I buy (and that has to go into landfill) I am trying to buy whatever produce I can without packaging (i.e. just the loose stuff you find in supermarkets). And instead of disposable cotton pads I use reusable ones that I got from Etsy.
By no means am I anywhere near my ideal level of environmental commitment, there are still a lot of things I want to change to help reduce my waste. But I am not that bothered about rushing into it and overhauling my life all at once. One because that would come as too much shock to my system and it’s almost certain I wouldn’t maintain all the changes I have put in place. And because more eco conscious is a lifestyle, and there is a big clue in the name ‘life’. I have my whole life to explore what I can change and implement to try to help the planet, and no doubt their will be many things that work for me, but also many things that don’t. And that’s ok with me because I know every little step I take will from now on always be with my goal of doing my part in mind, and that is all I can ask of myself.