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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