Little Ways to Help the Planet

photography by Bethany Sandland

There’s been a big ‘craze’ on the internet lately. I dislike using the word craze because it suggests its a fad, but there’s certainly been a lot of talk around ethical living both in the blogging world, and the real world outside of the internet. Realising how much our day to day lives and the routines and habits we stick to are negatively affecting the planet has finally hit us.  It’s had some of us feeling guilty like Em explains in this post, and some of us feeling motivated to embrace change and encourage it in others. Stacey Dooley’s recent documentary on fast fashion coupled with David Attenborough’s eery tweets and documentary’s about our impending doom have got us fighting over what’s to blame, who’s to blame, and if anyone can stop it.

Something I think we can agree on, is that we’re all feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to act now, on so many tasks at once. So, let’s take it little by little. Here are a few quick changes you can make that are small but significantly help the environment. 

Ecosia

This handy little search engine plants trees in in exchange for your searches. Set it as your default search engine and start-up homepage so you don’t forget about it and use it instead of Google! (Though, I’ll admit, “Ecosia it” doesn’t have the same ring to it). 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 it’s not like Sims at all. About 45 searches equates to one tree, so if you make sure to set this as your default search engine at home and work, you’ll plant a whole forest in no time.

Cutting Down on Meat & Dairy

This one’s a touchy subject. I know how fast people will jump onto their high horses out of pure frustration when you present them with the mere idea of veganism. It’s pretty ableist to assume everyone can go vegan, and away from that, human beings are stubborn as hell and often unwilling to change their ways. So, instead of suggesting everyone should be vegans tomorrow, I’m going to suggest we all simply cut down a little. I’ve recently gone vegetarian Monday-Friday and only eat meats at the weekend (I struggle to avoid meat when I’m hungover or drunk) and I think I’m making a nice contribution to the environment there. Start by making two days a week vegetarian day and cut a little more if you can.

Cut Down on 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. As someone who dyes their hair constantly and uses a lot of beauty products, I’m constantly in possession of plastic. I’m currently trying to find naked shampoos, conditioners and shower gels but it’s hard to justify spending the price of the Lush ones, when there are 20p shampoos and conditioners sitting pretty 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 add up to one great result – like buying bread from independent bakeries. They’ll give you the loaf in a paper bag which you can reuse for your next loaf (and the next one – reusing materials, yo) and you’ll have benefitted the economy by helping a small business. Yay!

Furthermore, I don’t really buy many meat products (I can’t remember the last time I did) but I’m fairly sure you can take your own materials for packing in if you buy meat from some butchers or a meat counter rather than buying it from the refrigerated section in plastic trays.

Another top tip: stop asking for straws in bars. I only stopped doing this one last week. As an avid lipstick wearer, I was one of those selfish people who prioritised the neatness of my face over turtles’ lives. But I’ve got a reusable bamboo straw now, so my face is pristine and so are the turtles (well, they will be if you also stop using straws). I believe you can also get glass straws, if you’re feeling a bit fancier, or you need to use a straw more regularly.

More Bamboo

Ah! I almost forgot. Toothbrushes. I ordered my own bamboo toothbrush from @thegivingbrush on Instagram today and you should get one too. They sometimes offer them for free on promotion days (you just have to pay the postage) and there are subscriptions available too! I’m pretty sure you can also get bamboo products like cups and toothbrushes from Flying Tiger if there’s one near to you.

Those are all the tips I’ve recently discovered and have been actioning myself. This is where you ought to follow Laila on Instagram – she will lecture you, but you will like it and find yourself looking forward to it. Laila often shouts at us about the horror of plastic use, but she very helpfully educates us with lots of different (and sometimes even fun) ways to avoid plastic, that’s accessible for all.

Which approach will you try first?

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3 Comments

  1. November 28, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    What an enlightening and important post gal! It’s inspired me so much! I had no idea about Ecosia and I’m definitely going to start using it, such a simple way to help the environment. I’m also thinking of doing Meatless Mondays, who knows I could be a vegan in no time hahaha!!

    Lots of love,

    Molly xo
    http://themollymap.com

    • bethashley
      Author
      November 29, 2018 / 11:20 am

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you found this useful 🙂 and that’s a great idea (is that an instagram thing, because it should be?) I’m in no way ready to be a vegan anytime soon but I’m proud of how much I’ve cut down, and the little things do make a difference! xx

  2. Anonymous
    December 24, 2018 / 6:30 am

    Great article, exactly what I wanted to find.

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