So before I start this post I want to confess that I love lengthy, boiling hot showers, I am lazy so I own a lot of tupperware, I’m from an island, so when I go home, I fly, and up until about 2 years ago I had no clue that straws were so bad for the universe (Side note get on the stainless steel straw vibes my dudes). Alongside this I want to say that I recycle, I buy 90% of my clothes second-hand, I walk literally everywhere, and I buy my groceries at a zero waste store or a farmer’s market. I recognise that we aren’t all able to live a zero waste lifestyle because, to be perfectly honest, it’s insanely expensive and it is also just really hard to stay on top of. Please know that this is not going to be a post criticising anyone. I understand that different cultures, societies, environments and occupations have different attitudes toward the food that we consume and that is why I am not going to focus on my own attitude and instead just relay things I’ve learnt. The aim of this post isn’t to demonise non-vegetarians or non-vegans, but is rather going to be a post about how each of us can make small changes in our lives in order to reduce our own carbon footprint.
So firstly, yes I am a vegan, but I am not gonna lie, I love eggs, so yes I have broken my veganism a few times, but does that make me a bad person? NO! Does that mean I don’t care about the environment? NO! It just means that I’m not at my idea of my ultimate environmentalist self yet, but I promise you I am trying my hardest to get there. What I think is really important to remember is that as long as you are trying your best to reduce your impact on this earth, then you’re doing a really good job! When I was in Europe, I met a guy who had been a vegetarian for 3 years and we started chatting because I was very interested as to how he found vegetarianism. You see, I became a pescatarian at the age of 4 and since then excluding 3 slip ups, I haven’t touched meat (besides fish, which I cut out about a year ago). I don’t remember the taste, meaning that, for me, excluding meat from my diet is very easy. He explained to me that his father had said to him that we all need to decide how we’re going to reduce our impact. His father had not only never taken a hot shower in his life, but had also rarely taken showers that lasted longer than 3 minutes. That’s his contribution and his son’s chosen contribution was cutting all meat from his diet. Now in my opinion that is a start, as we can always be working towards a more sustainable future. So what I want this post to encourage is a sense of motivation to simply start your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.
Living in a big city like Melbourne, London and even Brighton, allows many of us the opportunity to use public transport, and one of my favourite things about living in the UK is that I never, ever miss my car, (except the fact that Billie the Mazda is literally the cutest car in tha wurld) because it is always so much easier to catch the train or the tube. I’d say that 95% of the time it is faster and more time efficient to travel on public transport in both London and Brighton, (which I’m sure differs around the UK) and I plan on taking this attitude back to Melbourne with me. Although public transport in Melbourne is not as time efficient as it is in London, it is still very good. I know I am narrowing my audience by only referring to 3 places, but I do encourage everyone, wherever you may be, to get on public transport, to walk, to cycle or to get involved in ride-share/carpool arrangements, because by simply switching our commuting choice, we can reduce a great deal of carbon emissions.
Lastly I want to encourage all you incredible, hard core environmentalists out there to go easy on those who are at the beginning of their journey and encourage those around you. I 100% agree that it would be great to have a world full of environmentalists who live a zero waste lifestyle, but that journey begins with a first step, whether that is, meat-free Monday’s, walk to work Wednesday’s, buying a keep cup, or simply switching from a car to a train for the commute to work/school. We need to encourage a more active and environmentally friendly lifestyle, however we can’t do so by putting others down because they aren’t at the same stage of their journey as we are. Encourage, but don’t patronise or demonise; we all need to work together to reduce our impact.
I’ll leave you with something my incredible mum always says, ‘Try to leave this earth a better place than when you arrived.’