Something that I am really passionate about, besides finding ways to include some of my warped sense of humour into a conversation, is the environment.
I truly believe that we all have an impact on the world by the decisions we make in life. Every little choice has an effect in some way, maybe it isn’t noticed immediately, but over time it adds up.
When you consider that there are over 8 billion people in the world (According to UN estimates, as of 2023) it’s hard to ignore the reality that there are a lot of people screwing up the planet to varying degrees.
We are not what I consider to be hardcore environmental warriors, but we do try to made informed decisions.
Years ago, I tried to go hardcore and have no plastic at all & it sucked! Not because I didn’t want us to reduce plastic, but I became overwhelmed with all the plastic I was trying to go cold turkey on. Groceries are something we all need to get, and plastic wrapped food is rife. Two weeks in I was on the verge of a breakdown. I discovered my “vague” plan, really was not going to cut it. You can have the most wonderful cloth bags (for produce and groceries in general), but if most of the grocery options in your area do not afford one the ability to buy items without packaging, then you are SOL. Not to mention often buying loose produce is often more expensive. Guess it’s harder to hide those dodgy half rotten oranges or avocados when they’re loose, so you should pay extra for that privilege. 😂
Several years later, we are still improving. I try to buy items with less or no plastic where possible, but we are not perfect, and it is often hard to avoid. I have actually found that being more aware & conscientious about what we procure & bring into our home has helped a lot in our reduction of plastic, we aren’t zero plastic, but we bring in a lot less than we used to. A lot of our travel has helped motivate us as well. Seeing mounds of garbage on the streets or dump truck going past, makes one realise how much a bit here & a bit there, can really add up. A reduction is better than doing nothing at all & does add up.
Getting the rest of the family on board more, helped us a lot with our progress too. As with anything when you work as a more unified group, movement in the direction you desire is easier to achieve. Even letting friends know that we are trying to manage our plastic consumption, has helped us to reduce our plastic waste, and often they too tell us about new things that they have discovered to help in plastic reduction, which further encourages us & I know that us sharing our experiences has helped encourage others too.
Plastic is not just found in food wrapping, it’s also in clothes too. It’s incredibly hard to find clothing without large amounts of polyester in them, if not 100% polyester. I actually don’t buy anything without looking at the label or asking questions now. My need to read food labels all the time due to anaphylactic allergies has proven to be a useful skills in other areas – hurrah!
Of late, I have seen items being branded as being made from “sustainable cotton”, but again contain a good deal of polyester in them. It’s a great idea to recycle it, but with clothing, when you wash anything with plastic in it, it releases micro plastics into the environment. this is actually something that we are trying to avoid, especially with more time on the water. Our choice has been NOT to buy or obtain items of clothing containing plastic where we can.
It isn’t the easiest thing to do though, but worth it I think. Recently, we had to get some new items of clothing that are better suited to warmer climates, both new & 2nd hand. It became a bit of a game for all of us to find clothes that were either 100% natural fibres or at least 98% natural. They do exist, but it was definitely a challenging and eye opening experience for the rest of the family, as to how hard it can be. Buying second hand you also discover how many people cut the tags off too… which really sucks.
Of course you can get into other areas like slave labour etc when buying items & I try to do my due diligence there, but freely admit I have likely slipped up on some purchases, just like I have with plastic packing with other items bought. For us there has been a focus on learning & trying to make more informed decisions going forward, not about berating every failure you have along the way, because if you do that, you will never go forward & that would be really unfortunate.
I really wish that we didn’t live in a world where money meant more than the human and environmental impacts, but that isn’t the reality… yet. I am a hopeful optimistic on that front, especially for my kids.
You don’t need to tread the same path as everyone else around you. Change only happens when we speak up & do things that matter. People DO take notice when enough speak up, which is why you will see little posts that relate to the environment sprinkled within this blog from time to time. I hope that it encourages more to speak up, and think about new ways to help the environment, which will benefit us all.