*This post is not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned, however, Lucy & Yak I am available!*
Hello Moonlings, I’ve been busy so I wanted a nice easy post for today. Basically, I just took pictures of my outfits for the week with elements that are thrifted or bought sustainably. Megan from A Geeky Gal is also a fellow thrifting Queen so she’ll totally get what’s happening here. You should be following her by the way!
Some of the items I have were originally bought from fast-fashion chains. I’ve stopped buying fast-fashion since March of this year, but I didn’t throw away the clothes I have already. Mostly because I love the items and I’ve had them for years. So you will see some fast-fashion clothes but be aware I don’t buy them anymore.
So without further aplomb here are 5 outfits that have thrifted or sustainable elements.
I call this outfit (and iterations of it) “The Stephen King.” He always wears the same kind of jeans and an old t-shirt. Usually, one referring to a baseball team or Bangor, Maine. See an example below. Or pop over to his Twitter. He’s quite funny.
So basically I have an old pair of jeans that my brother grew out of, a second hand Deadpool t-shirt and a second-hand cardigan. I wear this outfit normally when I’m writing or working from home. Comfortable is the vibes for this outfit, and the jeans are well worn in which makes them even comfier.
Also Lucy & Yak are featured here. The headband I’m wearing is made from the secondhand sari their clothes are delivered in. Shout out to Nicole for making it!
I’ve also been known to wear them with my ancient Doc Martens.
These were my first Lucy & Yaks and I adore them. I wear them waaaaaayyyyyy too much and they are comfort level 100! (Fire emoji, yes I know I could put in a fire emoji but I’m trying to be funny). They are their ‘Alexa’ Organic-Cotton High waisted trousers in blue.
I wear them to work, (where I had a photoshoot really early before anyone else got in). They are paired with faux red leather boots I bought 8 years ago, a jumper that’s 5 years old and both of these items I bought from Penneys. Finally a second-hand t-shirt underneath.
Lucy & Yaks
Lucy & Yaks
Lucy & Yaks
Lucy & Yaks
Lucy & Yaks
Lucy & Yaks
I wear them for work (as above), and for play (so below), and I couldn’t recommend them more.
So this is the part of the blog where I get all preachy! Nah I’m just kidding. Basically wanting to be sustainable is wonderful, but it can be really difficult and sometimes prohibitive money wise. If you don’t purchase every piece of clothing second hand or sustainably you’re not a bad person!
Jumper & Skirt
Jumper & Skirt
Jumper & Skirt
Jumper & Skirt
Jumper & Skirt
Jumper & Skirt
I have loads of clothes that were bought before I became sustainable and I wasn’t about to throw them out! For example, this skirt in this picture was a gift from my brother which he bought in TK Maxx for my 22nd birthday (TJ Maxx in America). Yes, it was technically fast-fashion, however, I have it for 7 years.
I’ve also paired it with a Harry Potter T-shirt (not pictured) that I bought before I became sustainable. However, my jumper is 100% wool which was grown and produced in Ireland.
Back in Lucy & Yak with their ‘Alexa’ Organic-Cotton High waisted trousers in red check. I don’t think they have these ones in stock anymore but they have loads of different colours to choose from. Again I wear them when I’m going to work because they are perfect office wear.
They are paired with a 100% wool jumper, grown and produced in Ireland. A long sleeve t-shirt and my ancient red Converse.
When I heard that Lucy & Yak had dungarees I was totally there for them. I got these in their sale, I normally wouldn’t buy ‘cappuccino’ coloured clothes but these are so cuuuuuute. I wear them all the time, they are super comfy, with amazing pockets and they look great with colourful t-shirts like my second-hand Eagles shirt.
Finally here is a picture of me taken by my gorgeous sister-in-law on my birthday when she brought me to meet a bunch of birds. Look how freaking happy I am here.
*I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANYTHING IN THIS POST I GENUINELY JUST LOVE THESE PEOPLE / COMPANIES*
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!*
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, friends, I’m embarking on a hair journey this September. I’m nervous, but happy I’ve finally gathered up the courage to do the “no poo” challenge.
This September I’ve given up using shampoo and conditioner as part of my sustainability goals. I hopefully won’t have to buy shampoo or conditioner anymore and I’ll be avoiding the plastic bottles they come in. I’ll be talking about this more in October when I’ve hit the month mark, but until then I thought it would be fun to revisit my hair journey from birth.
So I went digging through old photos to find hair goals in Drogheda from 1990 to 2000. (Spoiler my friends, it’s mostly boring). I’ll be doing a hair journey from 2001 – 2010 at some stage when I had free reign over my hair. However, there is some adorableness mixed with cringe here so please, prepare thy self.
My Hair, A History
My Hair, A History
“Can you see my tiny mohawk?”
“Eh Mam, I’m not happy with this dress.”
My Hair, A History
My Hair, A History
“The year of the tiny pigtails!”
“The 80’s hair is hanging in there!”
“An adventure in velour.”
“I had the Natalie Imbruglia pout 2 years before she released ‘Torn’!”
My Hair, A History
My Hair, A History
“Mam let me wear red lipstick at Christmas!”
“Look it’s a brunette Stevie Nicks.”
“All I can do is stare at the shoes. Mine are dreadful, Chris is wearing socks and sandals. Thank goodness our hair is on point!”
My Hair, A History
My Hair, A History
“Apparently posing with things in my hands was very important.”
“This was for my tenth birthday and I thought I was the coolest cat in school. Mam spent all morning braiding my hair, then carefully placing plastic butterfly clips…”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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]
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.
*Update: Me smiling like a loon with my new Keep Cup.
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]
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:
Clothes from brands that are sustainably sourced, pay their staff a fair wage, and give them safe working conditions.
Buy second hand in charity and thrift shops.
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]
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]
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.
“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).
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.
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.
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]
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.
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?