Sustainability: Half Year Update

*I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANYTHING IN THIS POST I GENUINELY JUST LOVE THESE PEOPLE / COMPANIES*

Preamble

Hello Moonlings! It’s that time of year where we thank the zero-waste / sustainability gods for alternatives to single-use items, animal products and fashions.

This is my second year setting sustainable goals for myself. It makes it much easier for me than trying to take on everything. Usually, people give up because it’s all just a little bit too stressful and seemingly expensive.

That’s a theme I would like to keep mentioning throughout today’s post. It’s important to highlight that being zero-waste (or more waste-conscious) and making sustainable choices aren’t as expensive than you think.

In fact, you may end up saving yourself some cash, so let’s get into it!

January

As you know from my goals for 2019 I have given up beef forever. My honest opinion is I really don’t miss it. Now I understand that’s not going to be the same for everyone but If I crave a burger I can eat a Linda McCartney or a generic veggie burger. I don’t miss it and I was a big fan of steak beforehand.

So let’s talk my pocket. Beef by far is more expensive than plant-based alternatives. You can get a tin of beans for around 70cent (Ireland) per can but non-lean mince is around 4euro.

Healthwise, we could all do with eating less beef. If you’re too much of a fan to give it up forever eat half as much. Remember your heart will thank you for the plant alternatives and veggie nutrients.

Finally, CO2 emissions on beef versus animal products speak for themselves. Ireland is trying to reduce the CO2 emissions related to beef and we can all get involved.

February

My second goal of being pescatarian has gone better than I expected. I’ve actually stopped eating all meats during the week, including fish. I’ve replaced it mostly with beans, but I’m not opposed to meat replacements such as the aforementioned Linda McCartney burgers, or Quorn (which is not vegan but I’m getting there).

Again it’s forced me to try new foods such as lentils (yes I hadn’t eaten them before this year), mushroom-based meat substitutes and nutritional yeast.

It has saved me money overall, and I’ve learned to make delicious vegan meals thanks to Madeleine Olivia! Seriously if you are interested in low-waste, minimalism, veganism, anything like that, you need to check out Maddie.

March

It was a little more difficult to kick the habit of going to Penneys for cheap clothes. We all want both the dopamine rush of buying clothes and the convenience of low-cost fashion. However, I have a wonderful sister-in-law who showed me what an ethical company really looks like, and I’m afraid to say Penney’s is not one of them. She introduced me to many brands such as Lucy and Yak (featured in my photos for this post), Pozu and Passenger.

Sustainability
Sustainability

How cute are these cappuccino coloured dungarees (with so many pockets!). Ethically produced and made with 100% cotton. They sell unisex clothing so head over and check out their stock. I’m dying for a pair of their pastel yellow pants:

Lucy & Yak
Lucy & Yak

April

Tara Button’s book “A Life Less Throwaway” spawned this popular post that many of you seemed to enjoy. In it, I talk about the importance of our relationships and inner peace.

Look out for more I have many planned for the coming months. I couldn’t recommend this book more, I’m not finished (strange for me but it’s been crazy in my life), but if you’re into things that last, look no further.

May

This is still a disaster. I really need to get my act together, but honestly, with my hair type, it’s so difficult to find shampoo bars that work. At the moment I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week, so shampoo/conditioner lasts me for ages. The bottles are plastic, but you can recycle them.

In more successful news my sister-in-law(she really is the OG) introduced me to this amazing deodorant bar. I’ve used Salt of The Earth for a long time which is great (and sensitive-skin friendly) but it needs to be applied to wet skin, or be wet itself which is not always ideal. This Deo-Bar can be applied to dry skin. It smells absolutely amazing and works like a charm.

Sustainability
Sustainability

So I haven’t gotten the shampoo sorted but the deodorant has so even little bit makes a difference. I also got part of my head shaved so that’s less shampoo/conditioner! I’ve also given up dying my hair and I’m embracing the greys.

Sustainability
Sustainability

June

Now we move onto the reusable cutlery portion of the year. Sustainability and zero-waste can make you feel really bad about yourself. The odd time you use a plastic fork you feel like you’ve murdered a sea turtle yourself.

Well, don’t worry there is this YouTube channel I love called The Financial Diet. Chelsea there made this wonderful video about minimalism, and how to save yourself money. Don’t worry about buying a whole bamboo set of kitchen-ware. You can use what you have.

It made me feel better because she’s coming at it from the point of view of your pocket. Minimalism, sustainability and zero-waste can work for you. Don’t let companies sell you something just because it’s made of bamboo!

That’s all for today lovelies. Please go check out these other lovelies:

Lucy & Yak

Mullen Crafts (Sister-in-law).

Pozu

Passenger

Crystal Spring

Copyright © 2019 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

“A Life Less Throwaway…” Part I

Author – Tara Button

Preamble

*This is not a review, not yet anyway*

There is a book I’m carefully reading this month called “A Life Less Throwaway,” by a lady called Tara Button. I included it in my 2019 sustainability goals which you can read about here. So far I’m really enjoying it and I plan on reviewing it completely once I’ve finished it.

In the meantime, Button offers wonderful exercises at the end of each chapter, and I thought why not share some with my Moonlings? The first one is very introspective, you write an email to yourself. The topic? The importance of non-material things.

The best things in life, aren’t things.” Art Buchwald.

Now while I wouldn’t go full on Madonna and call myself a material girl, I do like things. Especially now that I’m writing a gratitude list every morning for 3 things I’m grateful for whether they are material or not. I find this helps me appreciate the things I already have and curb superfluous spending.

This opportunity awakened something in me, and rather than email it to myself, I thought I’d share, so here goes.

Dear Jaycee

Warmth and family is not a place. It isn’t four walls, windows and doors. It’s not the couch or the kitchen table, or the framed newspaper cut out of Michael Collins. Neither the ceramic bulldog in the porch or the hum of the computers. It isn’t between the books on your shelves or the clothes in your wardrobe.

It’s your mother’s hug in the morning when you come downstairs for breakfast. It’s the sound of your father’s laments as he loses his video game. It’s your brother sending you funny memes because he wants to share his laughter with you. Sharing with another makes it better, more real, even funnier. It’s the sleep talk of Le’Boo when he is deep in his REM and asks you “terra forma?” (When did he learn Latin?)

It’s the chorus of birds in the morning when you awake again. You remind yourself to be grateful. For a long time, a mantra you repeated to yourself, as you awoke to go to a job you hated was, “I’m awake but I’m not happy about it.” Almost like a joke, you told yourself, but in reality, that was wrong. Even though the job was awful, getting to wake up again was not.

It’s the love in your heart and soul when you make a darling laugh. The gratitude you feel when someone cooks you a meal. The joy of a family gathering, and the sorrow of a loved one passing. When we are old and dying we will not hold onto things. Not the brass doorknob we polished relentlessly, the extra hours put in at work for no extra pay or even the money in your account

It’s the memories, thank you all, for the memories. For the joy of now, and the promise of tomorrow.

*I invite you all to do the same. You don’t have to blog about it if you are too uncomfortable, but you can send yourself an email! If you do try it tag myself and Tara Button in it on Twitter!*

Copyright © 2019 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

 

A Life Less Throwaway - Tara Button
A Life Less Throwaway – Tara Button

Climate Justice – Moon’s History

Preamble

I really enjoy this preamble portion I’ve added to my posts. I’m drunk on power, I could say whatever I wanted… Peanuts!

Sorry to those of you with allergies that was probably very rude. Forgiveness, please!

Annnnyyyywaaaaay, when I say Moon’s history, I don’t mean the great celestial body in the sky, I actually am referring to myself, in the third person… You might think this is weird, but Le’Boo will tell you, I’ve been weirder.

Basically, I’m a trained anthropologist, working in a business management school, with a background in development. I interned with an NGO called Trócaire for 6 months in 2015. Myself and three other interns, who were also students from my Master’s programme, teamed up to write a project for Trócaire.

african-3741972_960_720

The theme? Climate Justice awareness on the Maynooth Campus. This was where Trócaire had its headquarters. The results? Stunning. (Is this considered clickbait if you’re already reading?) Also here I am in 2015 nervously competing in a colloquium with PhD students when I was but a wee Masters student.

Climate Justice

Climate justice has been in the news lately connected with the 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg. Now what is climate justice, you ask, or maybe you’re nodding along because you already know, and that’s cool. Thanks for reading anyway. For me, climate justice is an amalgamation of the two most important issues facing humankind at the moment. The problems caused by climate change, and human rights.

They may seem like two diverse and unrelated topics but the truth is they are more connected than you can ever realise. Today I will tell you two interlocking stories from the perspective of food anthropology (it’s all I know people).

rancehers
Climate Justice

Let me tell you a story about a cattle rancher in the United States of America. They’ve raised cattle all their lives, and so has their family before them. For generations in fact and they are a staple of not only state beef consumption, but other parts of the country as well.

The rancher’s cattle have won awards and they make a conscious effort to feed them as close to a wild diet as possible, which adds to the flavour of the meat. They are also considered to be more ethically driven than other ranchers as they don’t corral their cattle into tight spaces, and they slaughter them as humanely as possible.

Yet when it comes down to it, there are still people just outside their property accusing the ranchers of being animals. They are murderers because eating meat is murder. The ranchers are both disheartened and angry because they are doing the best they can with what is their livelihood.

Now let me tell you a story of a small family in Africa, (bear with me it will all come back around I promise). Their family have lived in the area for thousands of years, and they cultivated grains for the most part. Their other subsistence was hunting and gathering up until more contemporary history. Now while some hunting and gathering still goes on they are expected to buy their supplementary fibre.

Their forefathers grew food and ate most of it themselves. Occasionally either

farmer-3239302_960_720
Climate Justice

trading the excess with neighbours or sharing when there was a feast or a famine. Although food was never bountiful, they rarely went hungry. Now they are expected to sell some of their hard grown food in exchange for money, to buy their remaining food needs.

Yet in the last 10 to 20 years, the farmers have been noticing a shift in the climate. Nothing too drastic at first, but year after year it builds. The summers are longer, and the wet season is shorter. Water is harder to come by, so their crops aren’t as plentiful as they once were. The farmers are falling on hard times, and not only do they have less crops to eat, but they have less to sell in exchange for other foods.

Where they may have sent all their children to school with the excess money, now they only send the eldest or perhaps only the male children. Female children are less likely to receive an education and are stuck in a poverty loop which is exacerbated by the tough climate.

Back in the United States, pressure is put on ranchers for producing beef. “People should eat less beef.” Cry the animal activists. “Beef is one of the worst contributors to Co2 emissions.” Cry the climate activists, and neither are wrong. Beef isn’t the healthiest of protein available, and cattle rearing produces dangerous amounts of carbon emissions.

Yet what of the rancher? They are just doing their job. If they change to farming something else, it will be very costly and may end up costing them their very livelihood. Plus there is a serious market for beef in the United States, and giving up that to grow something else could be a bad move business wise. Besides the climate isn’t affected that badly in America.

Climate Justice
Climate Justice

Conclusion

Most of the population that suffers from climate change, live in the poorest areas of the world. Our excessive need to have beef in our diet, and available in every fast food outlet, produces the market for beef. Yet the change in the climate caused by western agriculture and industry affects the already water-starved areas of the world.

Climate change is not proportional, and this is why justice must be served. Although many of us living in the western world cannot see the damage wrought by climate change, it is happening none-the-less, causing devastation to those already struggling to survive in the lower socio-economic bands of society.

This is a new series on my blog, one that was ignited back in 2013 when I was still a young idealistic fool. Now I am an older fool, but one who is idealistic still none-the-less. I am not willing to give up on climate justice, and neither should you.

That is why I have individual sustainability goals. That’s why I don’t eat beef, and only eat meat 3 days out of the week. It’s why I gave up fast fashion, and use a deodorant that is all natural. You can learn more about me in the sustainability section of my blog than anywhere else so you will be getting more of it in the coming months.

I hope you stay with me, and even if you don’t agree, you listen.

References

Principles of Climate Justice – Mary Robinson Foundation

Greta Thunberg

Sustainability & Anthropology

Copyright © 2019 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Buzzword…Sustainability II

Preamble

Hello my dear Moonlings and thank you for your patience this January. I have been quite ill since the surgery and I’m still not feeling the best. However I still feel compelled to write as it cheers me up, so I thought I’d share my sustainability goals for 2019. Last year I set some goals for myself which I wrote about here and then I followed up here.

I really enjoyed it and it ended up being much easier to achieve because I broke it down into 12 bite-sized goals. It makes it a lot less daunting and helps develop habits by giving yourself a month each time. So I thought why not do the same again this year? Please enjoy, and let me know in the comments if you have any ideas, thoughts, goals of your own!

JANUARY 2019

As a Ph.D. student, I spend a lot of time surrounded by students from diverse backgrounds. One day in the staff room we were eating lunch and I was discussing my Master’s thesis with a colleague from India. She was interested that I had studied insects as a protein replacement for beef which is harmful to the environment.

She then proceeded to ask me a questioned which floored me, “And have you given up beef yourself?” I was stunned. She was completely right, I was a hypocrite. I didn’t have to give up all meat, I could give up beef though.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

So on December 31st, 2018 I ate a giant beef burger, and of the 1st of January 2019 I have given up beef. Carbon footprint, I’m coming for ya! Also look how cute this Scottish cow is. I have all the feels.

FEBRUARY 2019

Now continuing on the topic of meat, I love to eat meat. However, I feel as in keeping with the theme of the last goal, I am going to be pescatarian during the week Monday – Friday.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

I’m leaving fish and dairy in my diet for the moment because I want to make sure I get all my nutritional requirements. I will slowly become vegetarian, and hopefully someday vegan.

I know the dairy industry/egg producers aren’t the best worldwide. I understand that although free-range might have been adopted to seem fairer to the animals in question, it doesn’t really mean that. Eggs can only be gotten from hens, so what happens to the majority of male chickens?

MARCH 2019

This is the year when I stopped buying fast fashion forever. I will be researching what companies are safe to buy from, and of course, continue thrift shopping which I already love.

I am going to organize my existing clothes, identify what I use all the time, and donate the stuff I don’t wear or haven’t worn in over 2 years. I am always keeping clothes but there is no need if I never wear them.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

I have 2 weddings this year and it will be interesting getting outfits for that, but I’ll keep you guys updated. It will be a case of buying from an ethically sourced company, borrowing from a friend, or buying second hand. All are perfectly viable options of course.

Also, there are exceptions for the moment. For example, I need to be able to purchase underwear because I need to replace them often due to period issues. If I find sustainable cotton underwear then I will get them, if not I am allowing myself this exception because, hello, we need underwears!

(Actually, some people argue you don’t and everyone is titled to their opinion).

APRIL 2019

So I’m looking for wisdom from fellow zero-waste and reductionists. A wonderful book I got for Christmas is “A Life-Less Throwaway,” by Tara Button. I am giving myself a month to read this closely, make notes and review the book in general. Hopefully, I’ll have new ideas and practices to adopt by then.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint

Also hopefully the book will direct me to further reading which is always a wonderful thing in my opinion. If you guys have any good suggestions regarding blogs, books, anything, please let me know in the comments!

MAY 2019

Last year I discussed my hair and trying to go shampoo free. This has unfortunately phased out. (Hey I’m human this happens right?). I only wash my hair once a week, but I am still using products that are chemical heavy and come in plastic bottles. Boo-urns.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

So I really want to try Shampoo/conditioner bars made in Ireland. This will be tough finding the right ones for me, but I really think it’s possible. Lush cosmetics have hand-made in Ireland shampoos bars, so I’ll just have to go through the range.

Also, I would love to get a vegan hairbrush like this one.

JUNE 2019

I was watching a YouTuber go zero waste for a day and they had a beautiful Bamboo lunch set, and I’ve wanted one ever since. I rarely if ever buy lunch when I’m at work,

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

because I’m a big believer in saving money (and the environment) by making your own. Having a complete bamboo set would make my lunch needs a helluva lot easier.

It also means if I ever do go out to eat I will have cutlery and won’t have to use plastic disposable ones from restaurants.

There are some really good product ideas on Plastic Freedom like this.

JULY 2019

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

I’ve been using disposable razors for most of my hairy adult, shaving life. Even though most of the ones I buy have the average lifespan of a toothbrush, they still don’t get recycled. So I want to get a safety razor something like this. This lasts pretty much forever, and our Dad’s / Grandad’s would have used these regularly just replacing the razors as they went along. Why we devolved I’ll never know but we can make ground back if we work together.

 

AUGUST 2019

I am a sucker for candles, incense, essential oils, anything that makes a room smell divine. I’m also studying Wicca so candles and incense are essential. I’m hoping that this will be an easy enough transition to Soy candles, natural incense, matches etc. A local shop I love called Amber already has natural soaps and candles so the rest should be easy enough to source. I will also be looking for ones like this or this.

second-1872252_1280

 

SEPTEMBER 2019

cup-3137099_960_720
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

In January I had surgery to get a Minera coil inserted to reduce or stop my periods, due to them being very painful and heavy. I also have endometriosis and this is exacerbated by period hormones.

Hopefully, this will result in reducing or stopping my periods completely. If this is successful (it can take up to 6 months to settle in), I will hopefully be able to switch to a Menstrual cup like this. Rather than disposable sanitary towels and tampons.

 

 

OCTOBER 2019

I would like to get into a habit for unplugging devices throughout the house especially if they aren’t being used for over 24 hours. I would like to find ways to use less water.

Another ‘cosmetic’ product I’d like to try is this type of deodorant. I also stopped using perfume, I use essential oils instead. My favourite is lavender, and you don’t even need that much. Plus the ones I buy are made in Ireland and I love buying Irish made products.

They are called Atlantic Aromatics and I love them. Not sponsored I just genuinely love their products.

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint
Sustainability – Carbon Footprint

At the moment I use this Salt of The Earth’s original deodorant, and it’s very good like it works. It’s just a little inconvenient because your skin or it needs to be wet. So I would like to try other versions.

NOVEMBER 2019

So this is a big undertaking and I know it’s probably going to be tough, especially in Ireland where public transport is very poor, but I want to drive less. So much so that I could consider getting an electric car. So this month will be spend researching how I can reduce driving and research electric cars. Look how cute the Renault Zoe is:

Sustainability - Carbon Footprint

DECEMBER 2019

Pretty much same as last year buy locally produced gifts. However, there is an addendum. Some of you may know I do not care for Christmas. Not the joy part or even the religious part, but the incessant commercialised part.

Buy buy buy, eat eat eat, drink drink drink. No more. We as a family have agreed that ‘gifts’ should be experiences or if the person says they don’t need anything, then don’t get them anything.

Christmas has been high-jacked by big business as a time of the year to profit off people’s guilt and pleasures. You are basically told you’re a shit person if you can’t afford a bunch of nonsense, and kids are made to feel inferior if their family isn’t rich enough for the latest model of PlayStation.

No. More. I will only accept a Christmas that is joyful, filled with family and friends. Not over-indulgent gift giving or guilt. Handmade gifts are superior to bought gifts anyway.

Handmade
Handmade

My sister-in-law Nicole (Who can be found at Mullen Makes), made this for my Father last year for his birthday and he was beyond ecstatic. When something comes from the heart, a price tag means nothing.

Anyways those are my 2019 goals. If you made it this far type Worms in the comments!

Copyright © 2019 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Resources:

https://nicoleqmullen.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/laser-engraved-snack-tray-coaster/

https://zerowasterepublic.com/

https://www.plasticfreedom.co.uk/

https://www.emmas.ie/

https://crystalspring.co.uk/

https://www.atlanticaromatics.com/

https://www.facebook.com/amberdroghedastore/

https://www.renault.ie/vehicles/new-vehicles/zoe.html

Sustainability 2018 Review

My friends, it’s been a year. Yes, 2018 was a year. I’m trying to find something nice to say about 2018 but politically, environmentally, and humanitarian-ly ( it was a bit of a disaster. Not that great things didn’t happen, but equally mental things happened too. So when I tell you I had a productive year, it was against all odds. On the last Friday of this year I will recap and tell you about all the things I’m grateful for. However, we have some housekeeping to do before then.

If any of you have been following me since at least January of this year, you’ll know I set out to achieve sustainability goals each month of 2018, and I think I’ve largely followed them. However, as an accountability session, I’ve decided to revisit them here and really delve into what I managed to achieve in regards to it.

January 2018

So we must start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

It was a simple goal, and that was basically to recycle more. My bedroom is my office and a lot of paper/recyclables go through there. I put in a second bin for ‘office’ waste and it was hugely beneficial. It was crazy to realise how much recyclable waste I went through in a month.

It could then be directly emptied into the green bin outside. It also reduced how much ‘waste’ went in my normal bin and I was really happy to notice the difference. It was only a small step but became hugely beneficial.

February 2018

This was tough at the beginning but I got into a good rhythm of it. I mentioned in my half-year update that I would add meat-free meals throughout the week if I couldn’t make the whole day meat-free. I had forgotten to account for meals I eat at other people’s houses and I didn’t want to be awkward, so if I ate meat for dinner after a meat-free breakfast and lunch, I would swap out the meat in the next night’s dinner.

Make allowances for yourself, but make sure you are accountable. It was genuinely beneficial to my life and health, and I learned a few new cooking tricks that I can take with me into the new year.

March 2018

Still, have my keep cup and I’m loving it. Most coffee places will give my a discount, but even without it I’m still glad I got my keep cup. I have never been refused and I get complimented on it all the time. I would recommend a glass one if you’re getting it because Le’Boo got a plastic one (BPA free) at the same time, and the coffee tastes better from the glass one. Even if this is psychological, glass is more sustainable in the long run.

April 2018

Sadly I had to disband my national geographic subscription. They weren’t able to provide me with a soft copy subscription because of where I live. At the moment it’s only available to US and UK residents. Perhaps in the future, if they make it available to Republic of Ireland residents, I can sign up once more. Until then, I will need to find other places to discover new things.

May 2018

I’ve done really well with this one. Clothing for me has become something to treasure not discard. I’ve reworked so many of my old pieces in different styles and combinations. You will honestly surprise yourself if you try this out. Buying second hand and from sustainable companies is totally fine, but even then I really think, “Do I need this? Will I wear it more than 10 times?”  Trust me you’ll save yourself a fortune.

June 2018

I have my bamboo toothbrushes now and I’m loving them. I use a subscription service called The Bam and The Boo and their website can be found here. They send you out your toothbrushes so you’ll never forget. They come in different colours, and in children sizes. They are completely biodegradable even the bristles, and packaging. I couldn’t recommend them more and they are lovely to deal with.

July 2018

Plastic reduction was the game in July and boy was this tough. I drink so much water that I would almost always have a bottle of water in my bag. To combat this I simply bought a reusable metal bottle from Zero Waste Republic and their website can be found here. There are plenty of outlets that sell them, if you google them they are easy to find. It keeps liquid hot or cold for quite a long time and you can get them in your favourite colour.

Other ideas included cloth bags for when you’re buying bread/pastries. Bringing my own cutlery everywhere so I don’t have to use plastic forks. Loose tea instead of tea bags (sadly most tea bags have traces of plastic).

August 2018

So this is tough because I still live at home, and I can’t expect my loved ones to change their habits because I do. We, of course, try and encourage if we can, but ultimately people should make their own decision.

For me, though I’ve made up some natural cleaning products by simply googling them, and they work just as well as the store bought ones.

September 2018

This one was tricky, and I’m still working through it. I had to wash my hair with normal shampoo again. However, once I use up everything I already have I’m going to try out more shampoo and conditioner bars.

November 2018

Amnesty International Ireland is my preferred charity for a number of reasons. They encompass so much of my own values including human rights, climate justice, and peaceful protesting. They have taught me some hard lessons this year in regards to so many things, and I’m sure I will learn more in the years to come.

If you are interested in their literature have a look at this.

December 2018

Locally sourced gifts. This had a 50 / 50 mix of being easy and tough. Some stuff I could easily get locally. I can’t talk about most of the gifts here because I haven’t given them yet, but if I couldn’t get them here I had to get some online. However even then I really tried to buy online from Irish stores, and largely this worked out ok. Again I can’t list them here just yet, but I will update it after gift giving on Christmas day.

 

I will publish my 2019 sustainability goals at the start of January. If you guys have any ideas or suggestion, or even just thoughts please let me know.

Alright friends, stay sustainable! Talk soon. Jaycee. xxx

Click here for other sustainability posts.

Copyright © 2018 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Sustainability – Half Year Update

Hello friends and fellow worriers regarding climate change. Time for an update as we are halfway through 2018. In my opinion I’ve done quite well myself however, a lot of it has to do with very generous family members. They decided that for my birthday they would help me with my goals, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Here’s a picture of it and I’ll explain more about that later on. So let’s get started!

Sustainability - Half Year Update
Sustainability – Half Year Update

January – This goal of separating recyclables in my bedroom/ office is going great. It has also made me feel shameful for the amount of recyclable waste that probably went in the general waste in the past. So I literally just got a plastic bag (see below) and that’s it.

Sustainability - Half Year Update
Sustainability – Half Year Update

February – Having 2 meat free days a week has been difficult, because not being the most organised human. So what I’ve taken to doing, if I can’t have a full day meat free, I at least try add extra meat free meals throughout the week. This has made it so much easier.

Waterbottle.jpg

March – Lads… I love my keep cup. It’s fantastic. Please get yourself one. Treat yourself! I’ve included a link below to their website. They have so many options. I also got myself an amazing water bottle which keeps water really cold for hours. It’s metal, no plastic, and reusable. I love it. Again link below.

April – This started out as a failure. I had contacted National Geographic several times (and ways) and it looked like there was no hope for soft copies. Until my Boo swooped in and saved the day. For my birthday in May he bought me a Kindle Fire. Which supports the format of the soft copies for National Geographic. 😀 Then to sweeten the deal, my parents renewed my subscription! Sigh I love my family.

May – Speaking of family! My sister-in-law gave me an amazing BOX OF GIFTS (pictured above). The cover photo of this post is also her gorgeous hand-made birthday card. I have reduced my purchasing from ethically questionable stores since April. This has been really difficult, because I love clothes. I hope by the end of the year to have stopped completely.

June – Not only did I get a bamboo toothbrush from my sister-in-law which is completely biodegradable and it won’t end up in some poor sea creatures belly. On top of that my oral hygiene will not be compromised because look at my toothpaste tablets, mouthwash tablets, and biodegradable tooth-floss. So excited.

For the remainder of the year look at the other gifts which will help my sustainability buzz! Here are sustainable cotton bags for buying food like bread and pastries. Nom nom nom.

 

These beautiful handmade artisan soaps. If I could upload how they smell I would, they are amazing. You’ll just have it imagine it. Or get yourself some Irish made artisan soaps.

Next up we have reusable cotton rounds for makeup removing and face cleansing.

Next up is one of my favorite things which is teaaaaaaa! Unfortunately tea bags have plastic in them. Which makes me so sad. The only problem was the tea came in a plastic bag, which you couldn’t tell until it was opened. My quest continues for tea that doesn’t live in plastic at any stage. Also how. Freakin. Adorable is the little pineapple tea infuser?!

Next up a beautiful shampoo bar. It’s chemical free, comes wrapped in biodegradable paper and smells amazing! Excited to try this.

Then hand embroidered handkerchiefs. Which made me so excited because my Grandad would have been so happy.

Sustainability - Half Year Update
Sustainability – Half Year Update

Just some additional gifts that were so thoughtful. A case for my pencils, a hot water bottle, and a beautiful notebook. There were also some ear rings, but I forgot to photograph them.

I just want to say thank you so much to my sister-in-law, (and obviously my brother-in-law, I haven’t forgotten you!) for such a gorgeous box of fun. To my parents and Boo for helping me hang onto my National Geographic subscription because I love it. I will do another update in December for the rest of the year. Right now I’m so happy with how well it’s been going.

Alright friends, stay sustainable! Talk soon. Jaycee. xxx

Keep Cup: https://eu.keepcup.com/?country=Ireland

Water Bottle: https://zerowasterepublic.com/

Copyright © 2018 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Interested in the first of these posts? Have a look:

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/buzzword-sustainability/

Buzzword… Sustainability!

Sustainability!

Buzzword…Sustainability! Say it with me, sussss-tainnnnn-aaaaa-bility. It fills us with shame, doesn’t it? It makes you feel like you did when you were watching television instead of doing your pesky math homework. You are not alone friend! I am there. It began when I was little and I realised I could bring my cereal boxes to school to be recycled. How amazing, they grind up the cardboard, the teacher told me, and use it again. This would save trees and as a great lover of trees (don’t laugh they provide our oxygen), this fascinated me. My parents smiled, supportive as always, and designated a special box in the garage for the recyclables.

Fast forward the tape (I’m a child of the 90’s and VHS is bae), I’m a fully grown woman and my concerns regarding the environment now extend to my career choices. I wrote my Master’s thesis on sustainable alternatives to food sources (I know I’m just great aren’t I?) My PhD studies evolved into farming networks and investigating topics such as propensity for farmers to adopt sustainable practices or adaptions to climate change. Yet still, I feel like a hypocrite, for a plethora of reasons. I drive a diesel car, my clothes are all sourced from ethically careless shops and I eat meat every day! It’s overwhelming in a  busy, stressful world, in which we reward ourselves for getting through the week with television and vegetation on a couch. Let me tell you: that is perfectly ok.

So I’m going to take some advice from my sister-in-law from my spousal equivalent.[i] We learn to crawl first before we walk. Small changes are easy. Instead of a large expensive change, we promise to only use reusable cups for our coffee and tea instead of taking café take-away cups. If you’re looking for fun ones try this website, I just got mine there.[ii] Yes, they also have Star Wars themed ones for a limited time, so if you’re a nerd like me, get onto that!

I’ve made a pact with myself that in 2018,  each month I will change one small thing. This is much more achievable than a big jump. When you add many small things together, you get something bigger. Isn’t that what chemistry teaches us? Scientific fact. (My brother, who is an ardent lover of chemistry and studying it right now, looks up, sensing something wrong). So I made a list, and part of me putting it up here is to make myself accountable. If other people have read this, then I have no choice to follow through, or else I’ll look like an idiot. That’s why we put stuff on the internet right?

January 2018:

I designated a separate bin in my bedroom/office. Before I threw all waste into one and it all ended up in our black bin. Which is general waste. As you can imagine most of my rubbish from my bedroom/office is recyclable. This is now just an ingrained practice for me, and I feel that bit better about it.

February 2018:

The goal was to have 2 meat-free days a week, and make this a practice for myself in general. This sounds tough, but to be honest, you forget many dishes you love that don’t need meat. Plus there is an amazing restaurant in my town called Bare Food which does amazing vegetarian and vegan options, so when we are treating ourselves, we pop in there.[iii]

March 2018:

Keep cup time. This is the one I ordered.[iv] It just arrived yesterday and I can’t wait to use it. This is a great website, all the plastic is safe as well. They are really into sustainability and look at their ‘About Us’ page: “Many small acts will make a phenomenal difference.”[v] My kind of people.
IMG_20180321_080850_387

 

 

*Update: Me smiling like a loon with my new Keep Cup. 

 

 

 

April 2018:

Now this is small but over a lifetime will add up. I am an avid reader of National Geographic and I have been subscribed since 2014. This is not like a YouTube subscription, they send actual magazines. Now in fairness when I get the magazines, they are in a simple packet of recycled paper. There is no thin plastic packaging which is notoriously hard to recycle. However, plan to find out more about their magazines and if they are printed sustainably. I will go even further to see if my subscription could be sent to me in softcopy instead of a hard copy. When I look at my piles of National Geographic magazines, gathering dusk, I just think, wouldn’t it be better if I could read my magazine on an e-reader?[vi]

May 2018:

This next part is going to be particularly difficult for me. I love clothes, and I enjoy shops that sell them cheap. However, not only is this bad for the environment, it’s ethically irresponsible. I won’t name any brands, you can find it out for yourself. By May of this year, will only buy:

  1. Clothes from brands that are sustainably sourced, pay their staff a fair wage, and give them safe working conditions.
  2. Buy second hand in charity and thrift shops.
  3. If I need to buy from certain brands, buy quality clothes that I expect to last a long time.

My partner is particularly good at this, he literally buys clothes that last him 10 years. If he likes a hoody he buys it in 3 colours. Which is not only adorable, but good for the environment. If you’re looking for a video to help you with this, Mariza on YouTube has a fantastic video called “Haulternative/ Marzia’s Style.”[vii]

June 2018:

Ok so this is an interesting one, and I have to admit I only realised this recently. That every toothbrush I’ve ever owned, still exists. This makes me sad because I may be only one person, but billions of people go through hundreds of toothbrushes in their lifetime. So my goal for April is to find a company in Ireland that sell wooden toothbrushes. This way, I can keep up my oral hygiene without hurting the planet. Here is just one example of an Irish website that sells bamboo toothbrushes.[viii]

July 2018:

Plastic. Plastic has been one of the most useful inventions of humankind, and it has opened up so many possibilities in various disciplines. Such as healthcare, automobiles, and foodways. The problem is, it’s too sturdy. It doesn’t disintegrate like cardboard or wood it takes 1000s of years to decompose. While it’s decomposing, it releases dangerous chemicals into the soil and food systems. My goal is to use less plastic. So much of our food comes in plastic now. Our household products. Even disposable straws are bad! Sadly huge amounts of this plastic is not recyclable and it just ends up in dumps. I will strive to be more conscious of every product I purchase. If it has plastic that isn’t recyclable, then I will try buy the product that isn’t wrapped in plastic. This will be tough, I know, and it often costs more, but the costs to the environment is greater. It’s hurting our friends in the ocean. Every time I see a picture of a sea animal that’s perished because if the amount of plastic it unknowingly ingested I feel ill.

August 2018:

“Take an hour or so to research some home-made options for natural cleaners. Vinegar and water can clean most surfaces, and the saponin from quinoa is a natural laundry detergent. By using natural cleaners you are reducing the amount of plastic packaging being made, and the amount of chemicals that are being introduced to the water system.”[ix] I have to admit this is always something I’ve always been fascinated with. You can make your own cleaning products at home. (If Monica from friends did it then it must be ok).

September 2018:

My hair. Your hair. All our hair. It’s beautiful, it’s an outlet for creativity, yet we rub chemicals all over it every time we wash and style it. This bit is daunting. Like in August, in which I research natural cleaning products, this month, I will do it for my hair. I do not wash my hair every day, both for water conservation and to avoid my hair drying out. So I feel this is achievable. It will end up being less costly in the end, better for my hair and the environment.

October 2018:

Make sure all the bulbs in our house are LED long life energy saving. This will not only reduce the cost on household electricity it will also reduce the use of fossil fuels. Continually unplugging appliances that are not in use. Keep the heating off and just put on a jumper when I can.

November 2018:

As a member of Amnesty International (Irish branch), the burden of our actions on others in poverty is glaring to me. This month my goal is to read the Amnesty International resource on sustainability and adopt as much as I can from it.[x]

December 2018:

We reach the end of the year. I would love to have less Christmas lights, (my parents love them, and I still live with them so I cannot change that). What I will do is only purchase presents which are sustainably sourced, locally produced, and necessary. I will not buy anything which is novelty or without purpose. I will then prepare for the next year, 2019 looms.

Copyright © 2018 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Did you like this post? Sure have a look at my last one:

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/snow-is-evil/

References and Resources:

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-ideas-for-sustainable-living.php

https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/

http://fashionrevolution.org/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/act10/4699/2016/en/

 

[i] Joy Behar said this on The View and now I love her even more.

[ii] https://eu.keepcup.com/?country=Ireland#

[iii] http://thebarefoodcompany.ie/

[iv] http://eu.keepcup.com/keepcup-series/star-wars-series/rey-12oz-brew.html

[v] http://eu.keepcup.com/about-us/

[vi] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/

[vii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jece1QYeADA

[viii] https://littlegreenshop.ie/?product=bamboo-toothbrush

[ix] https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-ideas-for-sustainable-living.php

[x] https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/act10/4699/2016/en/

Turn off the Light

Do you recycle? Do you reuse? Would you turn the light off in a room if you weren’t in it? Or are you the kind of person that finds life too short for these trifling details? If you are the latter, I honestly think you are wrong. Our abuse of the environment has reached a very important moment in its history and there is no easy way to say this, it may already be too late.

We are experiencing the beginning of environmental issues scientists have been warning us of for decades. While most of us in our cosy positions in the ‘Western’ world can deny it, there are people in the world who cannot. A quality inherent of humanity is our inability to act on problems before they escalate. We have been doing this in regards to climate change for decades now.

According to CharityWater.org around 43% of the rural population of Kenya lack access to water.[i] Water. The most basic human necessity and these people do not have access to it. Kenya’s terrible drought is not a coincidence. It’s linked to the environment, and climate change.

There will come a day the world leaders will be hiding out on higher ground while those they are sworn to protect are washed away by rising sea levels. If you’d like some advice, become someone important. That’ll be the only way you’ll have a chance of surviving the rising sea levels and weather anomalies if this inaction continues.

If you’re thinking, ‘our illustrious leaders will never allow that to happen’, you can think again. If we’re allowing people to starve to death in Kenya because global governments will not commit to CO2 reduction levels, then when the time comes and it’s you that’s in peril, they will turn a blind eye.

While I understand this is a pessimistic view of the future, it’s also a logical one. If life has proven anything to humanity over and over, it can be horribly unfair. We are still at the stage where we can look away because our own families are not suffering, but if our leaders don’t agree to changes that are more permanent soon, we may be the ones starving to death.

I myself am not a perfect advocate of the environment, and the neoliberal market has made it difficult for the individual to make a difference. However, we cannot entirely blame the individual. Time and time again, UN summits have proposed frameworks for countries and when they fail to meet their targets, nothing is done. They just meet once again and to draft new frameworks. We are in a constant cycle of frameworks and failure.[ii]

Some hard choices will have to be made by global governments and while we may end up suffering small indignities in the short term, our long-term safety must be considered. Those in authority and positions of power cannot maintain acting like petulant children. Real change is needed, comfortable people need to be inconvenienced, we cannot continue forging this path or it will bury us all.

Ultimately if you are concerned about humanitarian issues and want to help outside of charity work and donations, consider your environmental impact. Those articles that tell you “10 easy steps to reduce your carbon footprint,” honestly, read what they are saying. Even a simple thing like having 1 – 2 meat-free days a week would have a huge impact if we all did it. Or turning off that light when you leave the room, because if you don’t, someday you might not have a room left of one’s own to do so.

Did you like this post? Why not check out my last one?

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/we-should-keep-talking/

Reduce your carbon footprint:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rosie-osmun/how-to-reduce-your-family_b_8940860.html

[i]http://www.charitywater.org/projects/countries/kenya/?utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=adwords&utm_campaign=problemgeo&utm_content=kenyadrought1&gclid=CKDwq__W8s0CFdZAGwodsKcIqA

[ii] http://newsroom.unfccc.int/climate-action/global-climate-action-agenda/

 

Food & It’s Surrounding Issues: An Introduction

Food & Climate Issues

During the final RTÉ debate on the 2016 general election, our incumbent Taoiseach Enda Kenny, could not answer a question put to him regarding climate change. When asked about the EU’s carbon emission targets versus our agricultural output Kenny, could not commit to either.

Our uneven production of greenhouse gases in the global north is increasingly causing devastation elsewhere. We need to meet our targets not only to avoid the hefty fines of the European Union but to avoid the devastating consequences to the natural world. The targets are not impossible. What is blocking our progress is our position as an agricultural nation, focused mostly on cattle rearing, and if we were to infringe on this part of our economy it would be irreparably damaged.

It’s a dilemma to be sure, but unlike many global issues with seemingly no solution, this one can be solved and to the benefit of the Irish public. The answer to the problem, however, is one most people don’t like discussing. It’s not just about reducing, reusing and recycling, it’s about a fourth ‘R’ word. We need to reinvent. We need to reinvent what we eat, how we eat and why we eat it. The results of this change in habits would produce positive effects on the global environment and to the individual.

All agricultural ventures require water, land and will inevitably contribute to greenhouse gases. Food is a huge industry, it must be considered in regards to sustainability. Cattle rearing is Ireland’s largest contributor to CO2 emissions so there is no doubt other food sources must be contemplated.

Food is a sensitive issue. Some people have too much, some people have too little, and overall we are all eating the wrong kinds. I have much more to say on this subject and this will not be my last discussion on food. So I ask you this, what if instead of eating so much beef and pork, we cultivated and ate insects? They require significantly less land and water and produce significantly fewer carbon emissions than cattle. They have many health benefits and can be treated as a sustainable food source.

I will continue this series in an attempt to justify my reasons for wanting us to eat insects, at the moment I will leave you with this consideration, we must think ahead, for the future of our planet. We must reinvent ourselves and that may mean eating cricket bread.

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

If you like this post, why not read my last one?

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/stories-from-another-national-election-uganda/

Resources:

https://www.facebook.com/foodanthro/

 

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