“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

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/

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