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I am in no way an expert on the environment, but apparently mankind is giving her a really hard time. I often feel pretty helpless, watching a polar bear bobbing around on a melting piece of ice on Frozen Planet. I get a pang of guilt when I see a picture of a turtle caught in plastic on my Twitter feed. But there's actually so much we can do to help the environment by making small changes in our daily lives. For those who can relate, I've made a little list for you.
1. Avoid fast fashion.
It's a hot conversation at the moment and if you're unaware of what fast fashion is, a quick Google search will give you heaps of info. By avoiding brands that use sweatshops and supporting ethical brands and second hand shops, your money will go to companies that aren't littering the world with cheap clothes. Shop at your local charity shops, make a Depop account (follow me hehe @katiegaster97), and support ethical brands who put thought and love into the clothes they sell. Educate people on the matter and keep the conversation going!
2. Invest in reusable and sustainable products.
There are so many eco-friendly alternatives for disposable products that pile up at landfills every day. For those of us with periods, switching to a menstrual cup is a grand decision. I actually wrote an article on menstrual cups for Fumble Mag last year if you want to see my pros and cons. Reusable makeup removing products are also a thing! I recently bought pads that you stick in the washing machine after using. Sustainable straws, bottles, toothbrushes, and so many other alternatives are easy to get hold of online. Investing a little money into products that last longer will save you money as well as the planet!
3. Avoid palm oil.
You may or may not have seen the banned Iceland ad that sparked a lot of awareness on the issues around palm oil. The harvesting of palm oil is a complex issue, but at the moment I believe the best thing we can do is avoid the stuff. Many brands use unsustainable palm oil, but there are also many who don't. Check those labels!
4. Use/buy less plastic.
It’s not that easy or that simple, I know. I think familiarising yourself on what in your daily life is using plastic is a great first step. If you choose to buy from a supermarket that doesn't sell sprouts pointlessly packaged in plastic over one that does, that's one less piece of plastic floating around the ocean. Always bring your own shopping bags (I keep one in my backpack at all time). Say "no thank you, ma'am" to plastic straws if you're able. Pop your lunch in tupperware instead of a plastic baggy. Be mindful of what you're buying! The waste we throw into the ocean is actually being consumed by fish that are then caught and eaten by humans. We are literally eating tiny pieces of rubbish we throw out. If that's not karma, I don't know what is.
5. Donate and sell, don't dump.
If you are able to donate or sell possessions you no longer want, do it! That top you never wore could go to a new loving owner, rather than landfill. Take the time to pass on your belongings. It feels great to give and even greater to earn a little money!
6. Consume no/less meat and dairy.
"Union of Concerned Scientists lists meat-eating as the second-biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth. (Number one is fossil-fuel vehicles.)" - PETA
The meat industry causes an extreme amount of damage to the environment in addition to the killing of millions of animals every year. I've tried being a vegetarian many times in the past and finally made the switch as of the end of 2018. Before I would always buy Quorn alternatives to meat when grocery shopping but would allow myself to eat meat at restaurants (in other words, McDonalds burgers got me every time). I'm sick of feeling guilty when I eat meat. My cravings for processed burgers that are probably clogging my arteries with fuck knows what is not worth how much the meat industry is harming our planet. Even if you don't go full veggie, cutting down on buying meat is such a positive move!
Use public transport, turn food waste into earth fertilizer, buy biodegradable alternatives, support local produce and farms, go for cruelty-free products, recycle! Buy less, reuse often, stay informed, and avoid being a victim of consumerism.
Don't forget about what we're putting our planet through, she' suffering.