Today is Earth Day 2019, the largest civic-focused day of action around the world. As it’s Easter Monday, we’re all at our consecutive homes, stuffing our faces… but to celebrate World Earth Day, we have our own team Green Activity organised for Thursday, when we’ll be doing a Beach Clean of Brighton Beach. In the meantime, I asked Yaz (the most Earth-friendly person I know) to talk a bit about the ways in which she’s amended her day to day life in order to live so sustainably…
My motto in life is ‘Be Kind,’ or more specifically, Compassion and Kindness. I try and follow this in all aspects of my life, whether that’s being kind to others, our animal friends, our beautiful planet and even myself. I’ve always loved being outside. I try and spend as much time as I can exploring new landscapes by foot or by bike and I am constantly mesmerised by coastlines, rivers and lakes. Over six years ago I became vegan, as I have a big appreciation for the Earth and its inhabitants and so making slight lifestyle changes like this, is just something I can do, as one little human on this big Earth!
My own transition to a more sustainable lifestyle has been a gradual process, but these would be my top tips for living a more earth-friendly life.
- Try to reduce your food waste. Terrifyingly, the annual value of food wasted globally is 1 trillion dollars and 25% of the worlds fresh water supply is used on food that never gets eaten!
- Bulk buy dry goods. Sounds contradictory, but buying rice, pasta, grains etc in bulk saves on single-use plastic, or if you have a nearby bulk food store, re-use your empty glass jars and get them filled.
- Compost! When food waste goes into landfill it produces methane which is a big contributor to climate change. Think about signing up to a community compost scheme (like me) if you don’t have the resources at home.
- Look out for palm oil which is unnecessarily added to so many food products like nut butters, bread, margarine and crisps. Palm oil farming has had a catastrophic effect on our rainforests; areas the size of 300 football fields are being deforested every hour.
- Reduce animal-product consumption. Animal agriculture causes 14-18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – think mass land & water usage for livestock and their food, transportation and toxic by-product waste. A plant-based diet can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year! Why not try a day each week of eating meat free or even more if you can?
- Switch to plastic free and natural alternatives for your toiletries! Here’s a few ideas; soap and shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, beauty creams in glass pots, coconut oil as a make-up remover/moisturiser, use bulk stores to refill bottled toiletries (household cleaning liquids), menstrual cups, reusable make-up pads.
- Shop from charity shops, vintage shops, eBay and second hand furniture shops. ‘Fast fashion’ is complex and rarely talked about, but has devastating environmental and economic consequences.
- Shop in-store when you can, rather than online, to reduce unnecessary packing materials and fuel.
- When you’re on the go, be prepared! Bring a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and bags.
- Choose package free fruits and vegetables or better still, have a go at growing your own! You can get all sorts of seeds and herbs from your local supermarket.
This may seem a little daunting, but I’d like to mention again that I didn’t make these changes overnight. Everyone is in a different situation (accessibility and money) and unfortunately, we’re in a system that doesn’t always make ethical living easy. As Individuals, we can only try our best with the options that are available to us. When it comes to preserving our delicate planet, it’s far better to have all of us try a bit rather than a handful of people doing it perfectly. It’s just about being that little bit kinder and more compassionate.
Now I may be a day late, but i wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to shout about my fur babies on National Pet Day. I feel like the luckiest person alive to be Mum to my cats, Charlie and Rosie (collectively known as The Bobs).
They came into my life two years ago when my impulsive boyfriend visited Hassocks pet shop, which always has about 30 cats wondering around the shop, and found two one-week-old kittens in a box in the back of the shop. He reserved them without a second thought, despite only being in the country a couple of months a year because of work, and so it was my luckiest of lucky days. We went and visited them most weeks until they were old enough to take home.
They have a very privileged existence, living in the countryside with more moles and shrews and voles and pheasants than they could have dreamed of, and have been my most wonderful companions when I’ve worked from home. They come on walks with me around the fields (much to the confusion of passing dog walkers) and have inspired a few illustrations as well, of course. There is actually quite an exciting project to be announced soon that is all about our adored little night-monsters. Watch this space.
I’ve grown up with cats my whole life, and I’ll particularly never forget Osc, my original studio cat and childhood friend, who we lost two years ago. He was as tame and docile as they come, and a wonderful little cow-coloured life-model.
Animals really are the greatest gift of all and how lucky are we that we get to share our homes them.