Zero waste. Sustainable. Plastic-free. Cruelty-free. Phrases which have been heavily popping up in headlines and articles and social feeds, as our planet gets hotter and ever so more polluted. Apparently Australia is so damn hot at the moment that the weather map has turned from red to black. What the actual fu…
And honestly, these headlines become less shocking as we become less sensitive and more acclimatised to a world of plastic oceans, freak weather and natural disasters.
But what can we even do about it? Am I really making a difference to the fate of our planet by carrying around a metal straw in my bag? I’m not convinced guys. But I’m also not about to join the climate change apocalypse ‘preppers’ who are stock piling canned goods and water, and heading for the hills with a survival pack.
So here’s a 1000(ish) word ramble on how I’m navigating my way through these first world problems. Virtual high-five to those who chose to continue reading…
So what can we do to stop climate change and pollution and cruelty to animals?
Good question, I’m glad you asked. I (obviously) don’t have some magical solution up my sleeve but surely, SURELY, we, the people, communities, friends, businesses, Leonardo Dicaprio and Emma Thomson, can do our bit to help. And just because you don’t feel you have the power to find the solution, it doesn’t mean you have to be part of the problem.
There are loads of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and have a positive impact on this majestic, perfectly formed, heart-wrenchingly beautiful planet we call home. I’ve been looking at ways I can make changes to my own life as an individual, but also amongst friends by talking about the problems in the world, and what else we could be doing to make it less shit.
Here’s a few of them. Give them a try. Who knows, you might like it.
1. Cutting out meat
It’s the obvious one. I’m not going to yarn on about the impact of the meat and dairy industry on our planet. I’m sure you’ve read the articles or watched the Netflix docos. I’ve been a vegetarian pretty much since arriving in New Zealand, but this year I’m trying out a plant based diet (so no animal products at all), because why the hell not eh! Auckland is now pretty well equipped with substitute options in the supermarket, as well as heaps of vegan friendly cafes and restaurant options, which has made it an easy transition. So far I’m feeling pretty good, and sleeping well at night, knowing animals haven’t being harmed in the making of my meals.
Try: The Vegan Shop on Williamson Ave in Grey Lynn, or Huckleberry on Richmond Road in Grey Lynn. And yes you will probably have to pay more but it’s better to nourish your body with the good stuff than feed it cheap crap, no? Even Countdown and New World have pretty good vegan alternatives.
Missing pies and cakes and sausage rolls? Tart Bakery. Praise Be.
2. F*cking off plastic!
Nothing kills me more than scrolling through Facebook and seeing videos of these poor beautiful marine animals getting wrapped up in our food packaging and dying. I feel like this could be an easy one to fix with a bit of consumer power.
If we don’t buy things like plastic wrapped tomatoes and apples then there will be less demand for it and they’ll have to stop selling it. just pick up a bare apple and put it in your shopping basket. It feels so easy and so obvious. Why have we been buying plastic wrapped food for so so long? We’re all guilty for it, I’ve definitely got the cheaper plastic wrapped options in the past.
I get for some produce it’s impossible to buy without it, but there is still a lot we can do. On that note, if anyone knows where I can get a bag of tortilla chips or a container of miso paste that isn’t wrapped in plastic, I’ll buy you a beer.
And it’s not just your supermarket sweep that’s a problem, you really have to think about almost everything you buy…
- Do carry a metal straw about in your bag
- Switch your toothbrush to bamboo
- Switch your toiletries to package free – Lush do heaps of deodorant bars and shampoo bars
- Switch to bamboo or paper cotton buds
- Invest in your own chic set of reusable bamboo cutlery that you can carry round in your bag so you don’t have to take the plastic crap
- Sign up to a local organic vegetable delivery (Ooooby provide plastic-free cardboard boxes full of local farmed fruits and veggies)
- If you can only find greens in plastic wrapping, find a biodegradable option (thanks to Huckleberry for making this possible and convenient!)
- Learn how to recycle because a lot of the stuff you put in your bin or the condition in which you put it in there could mean it ends up straight in landfill, despite your best efforts
- Buy reusable beeswax wrap rather than cling film
- Buy a reusable lunch box – I cart my around with me every lunchtime looking for places that will give me a discount for using my own container (if anyone knows any places that do this please share!)
- Just no to disposable coffee cups – everyone owns their own by now, surely!
- Ladies, try a menstrual cup rather than disposable sanitary products, it’s the most environmentally friendly option
I haven’t stated some of the more obvious, like plastic bags and plastic bottles, because I hope (and pray) that people are past that and have been carrying around their reusable bottle in their tote bag for a good year or so now.
I’m also a big advocate for a beach clean-up (or any nature clean-up really). if you see trash lying around, pick it up and take it to the nearest bin. The tiny bits of plastic you see on the beach are often the worst as these get eaten by fish and marine animals. I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos of dead sea birds being cut open, with a stomach full of plastic. Not cool man.
Here’s an article by Insider that highlights some of the worst culprits so pick that shit up if you see it on the beach!
3. Don’t buy shit that’s tested on animals
And don’t buy products and cosmetics that are sold in China because guess what, they would have been tested on animals. Thanks to the likes of Mecca Maxima on Queen Street in Auckland who stock about 75% cruelty free brands. If you’re not sure what is and isn’t cruelty free, chat to the nice people that work there and they’ll sort a sister out. Spend some time scrolling through Peta’s Facebook feed if you don’t know what is involved in animal testing for cosmetic purposes. It’s pretty atrocious.
4. Green your daily commute green
Hop on a bike, take a bus or train, ride an e-bike or scooter, get an electric car. If you do need to drive into Auckland Central, clogging up the roads with your emissions, at least find some locals heading in the same direction and car share…
5. Tell your story and listen to others
Just try not to be judgy, it’s so easy to take the high ground when you’re feeling smug about your sustainability efforts, but you’ll just get people’s backs up if you start looking down on their own habits. Be helpful. Talk about what cool sustainable stuff you’ve discovered recently. Like the refillery place in Ponsonby next to the Countdown – a true plastic free haven. People are influenced by their friends so be a positive source of information and guide them through living their best sustainable life.
That includes anyone who has any planet-friendly life hacks they want to tell me. Hit me up baby! I’m also taking requests for good plant based food places in central Auckland.
Thank you and good night x