Living Kindly and Sustainably

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2023 @ 2:49 pm

To tackle the Climate & Ecological Emergency we need to fundamentally change the way we live. But that really is a change for the better, in so many ways.

The way we have been living has been harming us as a species, just as much as its been harming our planet and the other animals and plants that we share it with.

Many of us have become lonely, are suffering from mental health issues, are over weight,  unfit or suffering from breathing disorders.  Many others still don’t have enough to eat, safe drinking water, a secure place to live, access to medical care and basic human rights.

Whilst some of us continue to consume too much even to our own detriment, many others still don’t have the basics.

A vastly unequal world is not a safe world for anyone – and whilst we have been fixated on ever-lasting economic growth our world has become more and more unequal, more volatile and less secure for every one of us – no matter what we have in the bank.

We can’t tackle the climate & ecological crisis as individuals – but together we are society – and as society we can do this by choosing to live more kindly and more sustainably.  Here’s a few ideas for how to do just that.

Eat sustainably & kindly

Reduce, reuse & refill

Turn down the tap on new

Make your money matter

Get renewables if you can

Travel sustainably

Make space for nature

Eat sustainably & kindly

We are what we eat – so how happy are you about that?

In a Climate & Ecological Emergency one of the most important things we can do as an individual is to eat sustainably and kindly – but what that means is controversial and has been polarised into a black and white debate between veganism on the one side and eat what you want /support our farmers on the other. What is needed is a much more subtle and thoughtful approach than the media likes to portray.  So here are our thoughts on what it means to eat sustainably and kindly.

Turn down the tap on new

“The textile industry is a social, environmental and human rights nightmare – of the 75 million garment workers worldwide, less than 2% make a living wage.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Fast Fashion:

  • Causes 10% of all emissions, more than aviation and shipping combined
  • We throw 3 in 5 items within 1 year
  • Washing 1 synthetic garment releases 2,000 plastic microfibers that then go into our food chain

The fashion industry produces a mind-boggling 100 billion new items of clothing every year. Almost all of them are made from plastic, and with pretty much zero thought about where they’ll end up.

Fast fashion uses 15,000 different chemicals, and no comprehensive estimates exist of how they impact on human health – and it contributes 35% of the microplastic pollution we add into the oceans each year.

Over the past 15 years, clothing production has doubled, while at the same time we’re using our clothes 36% less and the number of garments purchased each year by the average consumer has gone up 60%.

The fashion industry also monopolizes 3% of all the fresh water used for irrigation to produce cotton. It produces 20% of global wastewater (because of how much water it needs to treat and dye textiles): that’s dirty water dumped into rivers and oceans, mostly unregulated.

Imagine if consumers worldwide looked at fast fashion and instead of ‘made from polyester’, they saw ‘made of plastic derived from crude oil and produced using harmful chemicals, including carcinogens’? That would dampen sales…”

Source: Saving the Planet Without the Bullsh*t: What They Don’t Tell You About the Climate Crisis by Assaad Razzouk

Make your money matter

Travel sustainably

Holidays and foreign travel are often the highlight of the year for a lot of people. Flights are a hefty addition to your carbon footprint though, which probably isn’t the holiday souvenir you’d hoped for.

You may be making lots of beneficial changes in your life to tackle the climate crisis; shopping more sustainably, eating less meat, driving less. However, all it takes is one flight to undo all that good. The answer is not to give up on travel and holidays altogether, but to change how you get there.

Byway is a holiday provider that creates personalised travel and accommodation packages away from the traditional tourist trails, using trains, bikes, buses and ferries. They encourage sustainable, multi-stop trips which highlight the joys of slow travel.

Flight Free UK are on a mission to inform people of the climate impact of aviation and inspire people to travel by other means. They challenge people to take a year off flying through their #FlightFreePledge in the hope that the short-term challenge inspires a long-term behaviour change.

Not only will you skip the airport queues, but you’ll skip the harmful carbon emissions too!

Julia has enjoyed two recent trips organised through Byway, which you can read about on the below blog posts:

Byway Travel Blog - Scottish Highlands

Byway Travel Blog - Sardinia

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