“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

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.

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