5 Ways to Start Your Sustainability Journey
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How does one lead a more ethical & rewarding life?
Simple, build a better world by building a better you.
Here are a couple of pointers which won’t only benefit your life, but the others around you
1. Eat Less Meat
Whatever your views on meat are, the general consensus in the scientific community is that too much meat consumption is not only bad for you, but also the environment (let’s leave animal treatment for another day).
The Australian Cancer Council states here that “processed meats – including ham and bacon” are a “Group 1 carcinogen, which means that there is strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer”.
It’s not just the health risks that are frightening, it’s also the damage to the environment that these animals are unintentionally doing. The Independent details that livestock output more than 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming worldwide (which is more than what all the cars and planes in the world).
Therefore, reducing our meat consumption will make us healthier, as well as looking after our planet!
Ok, so this one’s pretty self-explanatory, but the more we use other forms of transport, such as walking or taking the train, the fewer carbon emissions we’re creating.
Simple maths, right?
However, there’s another reason that’s pretty important and that’s our fitness and mental health. A lot of people are so busy that they don't have time for structured exercise.
Further, if you can formulate a way to get to work that involves some form of exercise, you’d then be able to reap the mental and health rewards whilst helping the planet!
Exercising can be linked to many health benefits and they are perfectly detailed in this article by Beyond Blue. Helping the environment and yourself at the same time? Now that's a great combination we can all support!Fun fact: lots of airlines offer the option to offset your carbon emissions. This can be as little as $10 when you fly with Jetstar.
3. Watch What You Buy
A great article by Sandra Laville in The Guardian gives insight into some of the many things that are wrong with fast fashion. The story depicts thousands of ‘workers’ slaving for under ￡3 ($6 AUD) per hour. Not only are the wages unfair, but the ramifications of manufacturing the shear amount of these low quality garments on the environment are also just as bad.
4. Re-use > Recycle
When recycling, we have to keep in mind that it’s not always the most effective method. Recycling means that most materials we toss will be reduced in quality every time we recycle them, still creating wastage.
Just because it's 'recyclable' doesn't mean that it's 'recycled'.
What we really want to strive for is a circular economy where items can either be directly re-used or have the ability to be broken back down to their original materials and then re-used again. Although we commend anyone actively recycling, a circular economy is the most sustainable option.
Did you know that you can power a car for 1km with the same amount of petrol that is used to make just 9 water bottles? There’s also the problem that we don’t know what to do with our recycled materials in the first place.
This leads to the original point; if you have the opportunity, buy items that will give you multiple uses into the years to come.
Examples being, a keep cup, or a well made bag for your groceries and so on. You can even use those old clothes for a new fashion innovation or even as a rag. Being considerate with a dash of innovation is what we need the most!
5. Don't Do It All At Once
There’s a few common ways of thinking these days. One way of thinking would insist that you have to run out into the world and make as much change as quickly as possible; you don’t have to be perfect!
Don't strive for perfection; aim to be better.
The pessimistic version of this is thinking “what’s the point of even trying?”. What do these thought patterns have in common? These people most likely end up in the similar position of not achieving much.
Although the world is rapidly being destroyed and we fantasize about fly-kicking the greedy CEOs that have all led us all here, we’ve got to first take a look at what we can achieve on a micro level so we can then affect the world on a macro level.
Small changes x millions of people = global impact.
Once we get strong enough to affect things on a smaller level, that’s when we can start making huge changes globally. The best way to summarize this is that “We don’t need a handful of people practicing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.