As someone who prides themselves on being an ethical and sustainable person I would like to imagine that I am doing enough to help the planet and the people who inhabitant it, and I’m sure there are a lot of others out there who also hold themselves up to this too but are we really doing enough?
The answer is yes and no. Doing anything that contributes to saving the environment is better than closing your eyes and ignoring what’s happening in front of your nose but you can always do more – unless of course you are living in the outback, only wearing clothes made from natural materials that you foraged yourself, only walking places and only eat food that you’ve grown yourself (and even then I’m sure someone could find something that you weren’t doing) I think sometimes people aren’t sure where to start when it comes to becoming more sustainable and ethical and feel like carrying a tote bag and a keep cup just isn’t enough – and frankly that is the bear minimum that every human being should be doing.
So I’ve thought about the five simplest changes I’ve made in my day to day life that you can do too.
Five Ethical Changes
1. Stop buying fast fashion; we hear people talking about this all the time and I struggle to see the appeal on a £1 tank top apart from on my purse strings. There are so many ethical (and sustainable) brands out there now with transparent production chains, yes they cost more but instead of having 5 of the same top buy one that costs more and will last longer. Clothes that are cheap are only cheap because someone isn’t being paid enough to make them!
2. Shop local; be it clothing, gifts, food. Supporting local businesses is the way forward. When the world talks about being ethical we immediately jump to images of sweatshops – which yes is a huge part of it but we also forget about whats right on our doorstep. Switch out the gift that’s made in it’s thousands in a country across the ocean and head to a local boutique where the items are made by hand by the person behind the counter, or jump online and shop on Etsy.
3. Switch out your makeup, skincare, hair care for cruelty free alternatives – this must be the easiest thing I did at the very beginning of my journey. I stopped giving money to the companies that still sell in China. There are so many brands out there who create gorgeous ranges that aren’t overly expensive and are don’t test on animals e.g Charlotte Tilbury, Superdrug own brand, Barry M to name a few.
4. Consider who you are giving your money to outside of clothing. We talk about choosing who you give your money to in the fashion and beauty world but consider the ethics of the people you stream movies from, buy a hoover from, order takeaway from etc. Do they treat their workers correctly, do they contribute to saving the environment, could they help end world hunger?
5. Boycott the bad brands, be vocal about your choices and educate others. If we all stop buying from a brand for bad ethics then they can’t not change their policies. Your wallet has more of a voice than you do!
Five Sustainable Changes
1. Switch out single use plastic (as much as possible) and I mean more than having a reusable coffee cup and a tote bag if you have a ‘plastic-free’ refill shop then use it as much as you can – obviously not available to everyone. Can you buy loose vegetables instead of plastic packaged ones, skin care in glass packaging, food stuffs in glass rather than plastic (oils, condiments, switch out your disposable razor to one where you just replace the blades. The possibilities are endless although I know that some food, make up skin etc. don’t give you the option so do where you can to outweigh where you can’t.
2. Buy second hand clothes; charity shops, depop, facebook marketplace so many places to give clothes a second lease of life and not end up in landfill. If you need a specific item then shop from the huge array of sustainable clothing brands that are on offer – as with above these are generally more money than a £1 tank top but they will last you so much longer.
3. Cut meat out of your diet – maybe not completely but participating in meat free Monday or only eat meat when you go out for dinner is an easy way to work this into your weekly meals. This isn’t just about views on animal cruelty but the meat industry contributes to a lot of environmental issues. Or switch out dairy products for vegan options – oat milk is the best environmentally as an alternative.
4. Switch out your light bulbs to LED – not a sentence I thought I would be writing on the blog but it’s a way to be more energy efficient.
5. Think about your carbon footprint. Be that off-setting your air travel through carbon emission websites, looking at where your items are travelling from before you buy or choosing to walk instead of catching the bus those few stops.
Just those simple 10 changes if everyone did them would make a world of difference. What ways are you changing your lifestyle?
Wearing a hand made sweater vest, secondhand shirt, Marks & Spencer jeans (relatively ethically made – could be better), trainers are Veja.