In today’s post, I am sharing my thoughts on eco-friendly and sustainable living. As you know by now, I talk about wellness here: Physical wellness which covers the hair, skin and body through fitness and nutrition, mental wellness in terms of organization & self development , financial wellness and wellness of the soul.
I listened to the best speech ever and I mean EVER by Jim Carrey and he described how your soul houses your body and not the other way around. We are so deeply connected to and are a part of everything around us Which means that I’m not really taking care of myself if I’m not taking care of others and the environment by extension. I plan to read and learn more but as I work on being more sustainable , I want us to go on this journey together . I know you are a resourceful bunch who can share some plugs on how to live a more eco-friendly life.
What I’ve gathered so far
When I was thinking about this post, I did a lil research here on YouTube and this video by The Financial Diet put a lot of things into perspective . I suggest you watch it but here are a few takeaways:
- Eco-friendly living is in many ways a privilege. Sustainable purchases and investments can be more expensive than their ‘fast’ alternatives making them inaccessible for many people. Therefore, it is equally important to think of how to make sustainability more accessible for everyone, not just for me as an individual.
- Living more sustainably , just like minimalism, has become an aesthetic that has created its own kind of consumerism culture. Of course , the people who are true to the low waste/zero waste movement but some people only do it for the gram (I hope not to be one of those people). A good example of this is with Marie Kondo. She created something genuine about the beauty in minimalism. Decluttering became this cool short-term and therapeutic thing to do. However, this scratches the surface in the point she was trying to make that we should be selective about the things we bring into our space and keep only what we love & use.
- A lot of the harm on the planet is by a handful of large corporations and so a hyper focus on individual choices lets them off the hook. That said, if 100 people then 1000 and ultimately millions of people lived more sustainably we can effect some change and put pressure on said corporations to rethink their models and practices.
- I also learnt from that video that online shopping generates way more carbon emissions than physical shopping. I don’t shop online much but it’s something to keep in mind.
Steps I’m taking towards more conscious living
using up what I have
It’s easy for me to want to buy new “sustainable” things to replace the ones that aren’t but that is a counterintuitive approach. We have a simple rule at home: we only buy things when we’ve used them up (as it should be). Then when replacing used up stuff, we are slowly making a switch to more eco-friendly options.
Eco-friendly swaps we’ve made
- We recently bought Bamboo toothbrushes from Green Thing Kenya and will continue to use bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic .
- We’ve swapped out one time use batteries with rechargeable ones . It’s a steep one-time cost but it’s also better for the environment. You can purchase these at any supermarket.
- We got cloth napkins to use in the house instead of serviettes .
- Trying to swap out single use tea bags with loose leaf tea.
- I recently bought The Grace Cup reusable pad set to test out having a waste free period. I’m yet to try them out but I hope all goes well. It has 3 reusable pads and a panty liner . She also has menstrual cups which I will try in the near future.
Buy and consume less
I’ve found myself shopping for many reasons and they are often on the “want” list and not the “need” list. It can be anything from books, clothes and shoes to trinkets like jewelry. In order to sustain this, there are a few things I’ve incorporated:
Eating less takeout
Takeaway orders always come in a lot of packaging ( often plastic) that’s just wasteful. Prioritizing home cooked meals kills three birds with one stone : healthier for me , my wallet and the environment.
Saying no or specifying what I want to be gifted
Let’s normalize asking people exactly what they want to be gifted. If you’re going to someone’s house and don’t want to go empty handed , it’s easy to go into a shop and buy the generic stuff like milk and bread but it might be wasteful if you don’t know what they consume. It’ll either sit in the house , rot and have to be thrown away or they’ll give it away.
In my case, I let people know what I want or need. Also, as someone who occasionally reviews products , I am learning to turn down PR packages ( though I don’t get them often). It only makes sense for me to only accept stuff I know I’d use . Gnerally, the goal is to just things into my life and space with more intention.
Create & Carry a zero waste kit with me
I got this idea from a TED Talk I watched . The list is fairly simple:
- a shopping bag
- reusable water bottle or coffee mug
- Bamboo cutlery/ my own silverware
- a glass straw
- a cloth napkin
- a mason jar or tupper-ware ( to keep leftovers from restaurants)
I actually think this is brilliant ,especially right now during the Pon De Replay (pandemic).The tupperware is what makes this bulky but if I pack this in a tote bag that goes everywhere with me , I believe I’ll get used to it.
Be more conscious of my water use
It can be a bad habit to leave water running unnecessarily when washing dishes, showering , doing my skincare routine , brushing your teeth etc. I am more aware of my water use now.
Thrifting with purpose
I generally don’t shop often but when I do , it’s seldom thrifted items. I want to make that switch. That said , Simply thrifting but buying at the scale you would fast fashion isn’t quite the remedy because it’s still consumerism. I think when it comes to thrifting, it’s important ( as with anything else) to buy only what I need and focus on few high quality items instead of many low quality ones.
As a guide, I’ll be asking myself :
- What do I want?
- Do I need it ?
- If I do need it, is it possible to make it myself , borrow or thrift it ?
- If not, then I can consider a first hand purchase .
I think the only purchases I’m lenient towards are tech. I’m yet to regret a tech purchase I’ve made . Upgrades are not always necessary so I’ll stick with what I have for a long time .
Buy stuff in bulk & go for package free options as often as possible
This is somewhere I will focus on the next time we go shopping.
Spend more time in nature
I feel like spending a few minutes outside helps me to reconnect with nature. Thanks to urbanization and industrialization , it’s hard to experience the trees , flowers, plants , grass.. nature. In being disconnected , we have lost touch with our innate desire to conserve & protect the environment. So I want to consciously spend more time in nature (whatever that looks like) so that I can ground myself.
I know there are bigger things to address like transportation and nutrition that I want to read into more. There are also systemic changes that need to happen for us to save the planet but this is a marathon not a sprint . As Sharon, I’ve got t0 start somewhere.
Please share your thoughts in the comments and any resources you have on going green .
Thank you for being .
“ Always remember that your hair is your crown and your body is a temple; embrace it, love it and take care of it. “