Welcome to the Journey ... 4 Things I've Learned About Living Sustainably.
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
It’s been almost a year since I started on my own journey to reduce waste and live more sustainably. My personal search for sustainable and eco-friendly products started something which I could never have imagined myself doing just a few months prior, and yet, here I am. So, I thought the best place to start this blog is to take a look back and share a few of the things I’ve learned so far that could hopefully be of some use to others. Perhaps you're at the beginning of your own journey to sustainable living. Perhaps you're wondering what all the fuss is about. Whatever your reason for being here- welcome to the journey, here's a few things I've learned over the past 12 months, maybe it will help you to take that next step whatever that might be :)
1. It’s not as easy as it seems, but that’s ok.
Reducing the amount of plastic and waste in our lives is nowhere near as easy as I thought it would be. The problem is, nearly everything we’re used to using on a daily basis is made of plastic and is designed to be single use. We’ve also come to expect things right here, right now- we’ve lost that ability to WAIT for something. Sustainable and eco friendly products generally cost a little bit more, and sometimes they take a bit longer to arrive. We’re not used to saving up a little longer and holding out for something better. It’s the Primark/Amazon-culture too many people have become accustomed to (I am certainly not excluding myself from this- homeschooling during lockdown has caused me to click click more times than I'd like to admit these past few months). It’s actually quite difficult to break that habit. It takes a conscious effort, even for someone that feels as passionately about it as I do. But that’s ok. It doesn’t have to happen overnight. As the saying goes nothing worthwhile is ever easy. I've learned not to beat myself up over it too much, the important thing is making the effort to change this habit over time- judging others for their efforts isn't helpful to anyone.
2. It’s more satisfying than I thought it would be, and that’s ok too.
There’s something that feels good about doing ‘the right thing’. I’m not a preacher, each to their own. I’m quite sure there are things about the way I live my life that others might not necessarily agree with. BUT- it does feel good to do the ‘right’ thing ,in your own way. Switching from the well known pink plastic razors that I’d been using since forever to a solid reusable metal razor and knowing that I’ve probably saved at least 12 of those chunky plastic razor heads going to landfill this year- it’s small but it’s still a win, and it feels good to have done my bit. Jim Henson once said “my hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here”. And in my opinion, if it makes you feel good along the way, then it doesn’t detract from the actions you’ve taken to make the world a bit better in the first place.
3. There are LOADS of different kinds of people out there on the same journey.
There’s something great about the sense of community with regards to the fight for the future of our planet. I’ve taken part in XR demonstrations with my daughter and it was so fantastic to meet other people fighting, with varying degrees of passion, for the same cause. All different kinds of people, from all walks of life. There is no one ‘type’ of person that believes in this cause. They’re not all vegan, they don’t all wear anklets and carry dream-catchers. They are men, women, teachers, entrepreneurs, students, company directors, children (so many children!), grandparents, dog lovers, cat lovers, vegetarians, carnivores. All united by one belief- that we can do better for the future of our planet. I live by the idea that many small actions by many people will effect greater change than a few extreme actions by a few extreme individuals. Cast no judgement, we're all in it together, the planet doesn't care who is doing their bit, it just cares that it is being done.
4. There are plenty of alternative products out there.
Finally, I was surprised at how many eco friendly and sustainable products already exist. And it’s becoming more mainstream too. Obviously I’ve loved bringing to Eco Valley all the products I’ve found, and sharing them with my subscribers here. But it’s also great to see that many more mainstream shops are extending their own sustainable and eco-friendly ranges too (not all are as green as they seem though- more on this to come in future blog post!). I’ve discovered so many artisan trades re-using and re-purposing the most unusual items to create something beautiful. Preventing waste and reducing Co2 emissions simply by cutting demand for 'new' products.
As I continue on this path I will share via this forum any ideas, not just for products but lifestyle changes, ways to reuse and reduce waste as much as possible.
Thank you for reading.