Beth Ashley – Journalist, Writer, Artist

My name’s Beth, and I’m an editor, journalist and copywriter based in Hampshire. I’m an avid believer in 90s fashion, the revitalising power of dancing in my underwear, and I adore interesting memoirs written by women and non-binary people – especially if they’re about sex, friendship, or both.

Currently, I’m a sex & relationships columnist for Restless Magazine and a copywriter for a large tech company. I spend my 9-5 producing online tools and copywriting for small business owners to use, then spend my evenings, lunch times and weekends writing content for me (and for you!).

You can read my stream-of-consciousness tweets at @bethmayashley, watch me try to be a little more curated and pretty on Instagram, or shoot me an email at beth.ash_97@hotmail.co.uk.

Little ways to help the planet

photo by Beth Sandland

There has been something of a ‘trend’ (for want of a better word) around being for conscious of what we’re doing and how it affects the environment lately. Internet users across the board having been pulling a much-needed focus onto sustainability, and how we can alter our lives, behaviours and the products we consume to benefit the planet a little better.

But it can be overwhelming. As Emily Clarkson recently spoke about it this blog post, we’re a generation of guilty people. We try. But what comes with trying hard, is an overwhelming pressure. When we’re not immediately perfect, sustainable people saving the environment in every way possible, we start to feel bad. And that’s not solving anything.

So, I’ve put together some smaller, easier ways to help the planet if you’re just starting out. These are the little ways to help the planet that won’t make much of a difference to you, but will go a long way for the environment.

Ecosia

This step is probably the easiest one you can take to help the environment, so maybe start here. This handy little search engine named ‘Ecosia’ pants trees in exchange for your searches. Set it as your default search engine and start-up homepage so you don’t forget it, and just use it instead of Google! I’ll admit, “Ecosia it” doesn’t have the same ring as “google it” but its better for the planet, which makes it better for you. With Ecosia, you even get your own little profile to keep record of how many trees you’ve planted, so it’s like Sims! Except its not like Sims at all. About 45 searches equate to on tree, so if you make it your default search engine at work and at home, you’ll plant a whole forest in no time.

Get Ecosia here.

Cutting Down

Cutting down on meat and dairy. This one’s a touchy subject. I now how fast people will climb on their high horse out of pure frustration when you present them with the mere idea of veganism. However, a lot of vegans and activists haven’t considered the accessibility issues with veganism. It’s pretty ableist to assume everyone can go vegan, and away from that, human beings are stubborn as hell an often unwilling to change their ways. I also understand that diet is a super personal thing, and having someone police your eating behaviour, whether directly or not, can be upsetting. So, instead of asking you to be a vegan by tomorrow, I’m going to ask you to simply cut down. I’ve recently been making an effort to eat vegetarian food Monday-Friday and only eat meat at the weekend (I struggle to avoid meat when I’m hungover) and I think I’m making a difference this way.

Say bye to plastic

Here’s another touchy one. Before you start, I know. I know how difficult it is to avoid plastic at the best of times. I’m currently trying to find naked shampoos, conditioners and shower gels but its hard to justify spending the price of the Lush ones, when there are 70p shampoos and conditioners sitting in plastic bottles in Boots. There are, however, ways to go plastic-less that are accessible methods for everyone. Nice and cheap and good for the environment! It’s about the little things that contribute to one great result – like buying bread from independent bakeries. They’ll give you the loaf in a paper bag which you can re-use or your next loaf (and the next one – reusing materials, yo) and you’ll have benefited the economy too by helping out a small business, yay!

Furthermore, I barely buy any meat products but I’m fairly sure you can take your own materials for packaging in if you buy meat from a butchers or a meat counter rather than buying it from the refrigerated/frozen sections in plastic trays.

Another top tip: stop asking for straws in bars. I only stopped doing this one quite recently. I’m an avid lipstick wearer and until very recently I prioritised the neatness of my face over turtle’s lives. But then I got a grip, released I’m not queen of the world and stopped asking for them. I have a reusable bamboo straw now so my face is pristine, and eventually the turtles will be too. You can also get glass and metal reusable straws, if you’re feeling a bit fancier.

Oh, I almost forgot. Toothbrushes. I ordered my own bamboo toothbrush today. There are plenty of subscription services offering these if you give it a Google Ecoasia (as they need replacing somewhat often) and they sell them in Flying Tiger, too. While you’re there, grab yourself a bamboo re-usable coffee cup too.

Those are my suggestions for little ways to help the planet that won’t be too overwhelming as you venture into a more sustainable lifestyle. Let me know if you give any of them a try.

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Beth Ashley
Beth Ashley

Writer/wronger. Provides words about mental health and feminism and runs this very blog. Copywriter for Godaddy and editor of Paperfox Literary Magazine.

Find me on: Web | Instagram

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