9 WAYS TO LEAD A MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE
Are you worried about the state of our planet and the future of humanity? So are we. While we work hard to bring car ownership down and to make car-sharing and electric vehicles the norm, we also realise that transport is only one aspect of our lives which contributes to global warming.
There are a few easy steps to make our lives a little more environmentally-friendly. We think it’s important that we all make the effort of adjusting our lifestyle slightly, given that the sum of our individual actions could make a significant difference. So, we’ve put together a list of 9 things we can do towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are the first 3:
- 1. Eat less meat.
The contribution of animal agriculture to global warming is becoming more and more apparent, and with that, the urgency for everyone to drastically limit their consumption of meat and other animal products. Researchers have found that farm animal processing causes several tens of million of metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, while soils cultivated for animal production are made to release additional 28 million metric tons of CO2 per year. In addition, animal agriculture aggravates desertification, which in turn allows for up to 100 million metric tons of CO2 to annually escape into the atmosphere.
So, basically, the less meat we put on our plates, the less CO2 we are allowing to be emitted. Remember that you don’t have to adapt a 100% plant-based diet to reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on what you feel comfortable with, even just a couple days a week of avoiding animal products has a positive influence on the climate. This might also push you to experiment more in the kitchen and may add notes of novelty and adventure to your dishes. Of course, remember that you should always check with a health professional before making drastic changes to your diet.
- 2. Go Slow-Fashion.
The fast trend-chasing production of rapidly available, cheap fabric is a rather resource intensive affair. It has been found1 that the textile dyeing and rinsing processes of fabrics alone is responsible for 20% of all water pollution. Globally. That’s not all: rubber and bamboo plantations, together with cattle farms for leather production are only a few of the many other problematic examples of how the fashion industry contributes to deforestation, emissions through land use, and livestock supply chain emissions. Fast fashion is called “fast” not just because of its trend-chasing, quick and ready availability and affordability, but also because consumers dispose of these pieces of clothing just as quickly as they acquire them. Of course, consequently, significant waste is created, the disposal of which also aggravates the industry’s impact on climate. And it isn’t getting better with time:
"Over the period of 2005 to 2016,the climate impact of the production stages of the apparel sector were found to have increased by 35% and are projected to continue to increase under a business-as-usual scenario.”
Knowing all these scary facts, why not hit the charity shops instead? Drop some old, unwanted clothes on your way in, and pick up some previously-loved-but-new-to-you clothes on your way out! You can do your bit of recycling, while also adding some cool vintage pieces to your wardrobe. If charity shopping doesn’t work for you, you can shop for used clothes on online platforms or apps. If you’d rather buy new clothes, the most ecological way to go about is to, as a general rule, go for high quality, long-lasting and easy-to-style garments that you know you won’t get tired of anytime soon. Nothing quite beats a minimalist wardrobe in terms of green credentials, but also comfort and long-term savings. Our last eco-fashion tip is for when you find a whole in your jumper or you realise your shoes are breaking apart. Before taking them to the bin and adding new ones to your shopping cart, try to have them repaired. Most dry cleaners will also do small garment repairs, while most key cutter also do watch and shoe repairs. If you have it fixed instead of binned, you’ll save money and reduce your production of waste.
1 Anguelov, Nikolay. (2015). The Dirty Side of the Garment Industry: Fast Fashion and Its Negative Impact on Environment and Society. CRC Press.
- 3. Say no to single-use plastic.
Do we need to stare a chocking-on-a-plastic-bag turtle in the eyes to realise that the convenience of single use plastic is just not worth the consequences of its use? Do we need another picture of a tropical beach buried underneath an ocean of plastic waves? Do we need any more proof of the world-wide devastation that global warming is leading to?
The affordability and convenience of plastics have dominated our lives for decades, and the consequences of its ubiquity have long been overlooked. The very basic ingredient in the production process of almost any kind of plastic is some sort of fossil fuel. Every step that plastic goes through, from cradle to grave, is responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases. A conservative report from Ciel predicts that this year “In 2019, the production and incineration of plastic will produce more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases—equal to the emissions from 189 five-hundred-megawatt coal power plants.” (p3).
Surely, this crisis requires radical action at governmental and policy-making levels. But what consumers do also matters. If you want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, make the effort of replacing single use plastic (plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic razors...) with longer lasting, recyclable options – it only takes a little research online. You can look for toothbrushes made of recycled plastic, reusable produce bags, eco-friendly food wrapping, reusable steel razors and reusable period cups and pads.
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