It’s hard not to feel the shame when there are so many shamers out there. I felt it too. We could get rebellious about it, or we could be intelligent. Shaming definitely doesn’t make me want to join in. I believe the attitude going into anything is always better when there’s an inner motivation. But that’s something each person needs to figure out for themselves. I can’t and I won’t tell you that but I can tell you how I came to something…
For me, it began when it was bought to my attention that low quality chemical sunscreens were actually killing off reefs around the world. I had heard of this, but I hadn’t seen it for myself. A beach in Hawaii I visited had only just been reopened. It was heaving with tourists and it was very sad to me that my nieces and I might’ve missed out on swimming with beautiful tropical fish that day all because people were only trying to protect themselves from the sun, but with poisonous lotions.
Then it got me thinking: EEK! We’re putting poisonous lotions on our skin??? If the reef is dying, then it mustn’t be good for us either! (there goes those selfish thoughts again). I don’t beat myself up for it though and neither should you.
This lead me down a path that I’m still currently exploring and finding challenging yet satisfying and I just want to write about it.
Like most things I find, you only really feel the effects after you experience something you consciously act upon. You assume you’ll feel good, and people are quick to tell you so, as a way to entice you into whatever they’re doing. I hate to admit it, but I do feel a sense of feeling good about my choices to do the right thing that also isn’t something that’s just for yourself, but ultimately for others too.
Changing ones lifestyle, or way of thinking is not straightforward or easy. I only know this too well from my experience of putting myself through some kind of self imposed “boot-camp” a couple years back.
Some of us have been bought up all our lives with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. I was brought up in an immigrant Chinese household, with the reinforced message that meat is good for you and a sign of prosperity. Along with the aspirations of convenience and efficiency from my western influence (American Television and I was born in NZ) which unfortunately means easily discarded packaging and in general, less thought to how we are consuming. This unravelling can take years for some to realise and change.
Believe me – I know how hard it is to change your thinking and lifestyle. I’ve moved from NZ to Melbourne, to London, and a couple of years back, completely overhauled my health and fitness, which was super challenging but I also know that it is possible.
Watching the Australian bush fires, Malibu fires, and Amazon fires recently… we can’t deny that global warming is upon us and that these fires have accelerated the degeneration the our environment, our world, which is why I think we do need to make some if not a heck of a lot more effort to lessen the damage.
I used to think that if you don’t go cold turkey or make some massive contribution then what’s the point? But even if the big picture is a little removed from our immediate reality, I now I realise the point is that collectively we can start to make a difference where we can bit by bit, and we might learn to grow our efforts in the process.
This blog isn’t to shame you – far from it. I just thought I would share with you some of the small things I’m doing to try to reduce, reuse and recycle. Maybe we can help each other and pat ourselves on the back when we do some of them. I figure we all need to start somewhere and sometimes we need a little help. I know I’ve had to ask my more sustainable and environmentally conscious friends for advice, so I’m passing on what I’m trying and what I’ve learnt in hopes that you might find some of these things inspiring, helpful and doable.
They’re not huge game changers but it’s a start and I imagine my journey will grow daily. I have a long way to go too, but do know that every little bit helps. Anyway see what you think….
Don’t consume at all…
Now this may seem ridiculous, but essentially this would be the perfect scenario. So if we can’t not consume (double negative there) then I guess we should try to consume less on the whole, and use and reuse what we have got. Easily said – but how?
I’m guilty of a massive wardrobe – I used to work in high fashion and style has always been apart of my expression. I know its hard but:
– If you try to buy ‘classics’ or really good quality pieces, I guarantee you that there will be a fashion cycle where you’ll be able to wear things again years later. I’ve been able to re-wear amazing pieces that I hadn’t worn in ten years or more. So if you maintain them and they’re cool to begin with, classic pieces, they’ll be in again for sure. Buying things off the high street is fun but they’re so transient and often don’t have good production practices. You’ll always be able to re-vamp a past season’s outfit somehow, whether it’s with jewellery, a new hairstyle or with your evolving natural beauty and personality!
– You can also buy from charity shops or vintage shops. Often pieces you find will be more original, rare and cheaper! Plus it’s not contributing to extra production.
– Another thing you can do is sell your clothes on Ebay, Depop or donate to charity. But know that a lot of clothes that go to charity are shipped off and dumped in Africa! I’m pretty bad at the Ebay/Depop thing, but I’ve been trying to sell some items there. That way what goes around, comes around and you’ll be helping other people look great.