If I have to be attached to financial institutions, I want them to #giveashit about environmental sustainability. I don’t want my superannuation to be invested in the fossil fuel industry. I don’t want my bank to extend financial services to the defence sector, unsustainable agriculture and non-renewable energy.
***This is NOT an ad. I’m just keen to explore my own personal eco-friendliness beyond food, fashion and beauty.***
I’ve been doing a bunch of boring personal admin to switch my accounts over to ethical institutions. I’m trying to broaden the ways that I support environmental sustainability through the corporate sector. I found it a really frustrating onboarding process with @bankaust but I got there in the end. I feel like I’ve gained a few eco brownie points with this new account. I like what they stand for and who they support. I’m lucky to have them as an option amidst a sea of corporate bullshit.
I still have a bunch more changes to make but this is one small step that has unlocked momentum for my accounts. I’ve got my eyes on @australianethical as my next target…
If you have questions please look up their ethical creds online, read their disclosure statements and seek out the fine print. Finance is not my forte and this is most certainly NOT a sponsored post 😜 I’m also expecting to come across a controversial article about all the ethical institutions. Ain’t modern life a funny thing?
Today, I have an astounding hangover after a fun night away with new friends.
Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35. For those not in Australia, that’s *incredibly* cheap. I got a massive bag of field mushrooms, 6 large cans of tomatoes, 5 packets of spaghetti, 1 large jar of olives and a giant zucchini for the price of 10 takeaway coffees. In light of #fashionrevolutionweek, the low price of my food begged the questions #whomademyfood? #whogrewmyfood? Were they paid and treated fairly? Nope.
It helps me grow and learn when I call out my own hypocrisy. I like to think that this mindfulness can balance me out and will prevent me from being too pious or evangelical about my lifestyle choices. My purchase was ethical in one way but not in another:
✅ Almost plastic free
✅ Some items entirely package free
✅ Meal was for staff and volunteers of a charity working to build resilience in the pacific in light of climate change.
❌ Food purchased at @colessupermarketswho (among other questionable business practices) subsidises their costs through pokie/slot machines
❌ Ingredients were not ethically sourced / Farmers may have not been treated fairly to produce this food
❌ Non organic / GMO food
❌ Spaghetti made by Barilla who also have reeeally messed up ethical standards.
One thing’s for sure: I did not let the red wine go to waste last night. Today, I meditated in the sun because I’ve forgotten to look after myself these past few weeks. Look after your planet, your body, your mind and others each and every day. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Especially not me
Earth Day, fo reals? Silly me, thought everyday was Earth Day.
The Earth Day celebration marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This day has had significant impact on uniting people across the political spectrum, raising awareness of environmental sustainability.
This year’s focus has been unsurprisingly, plastic pollution! Let’s work hard to inspire, educate and facilitate change. We got this.
Zero waste IRL. My partner and I looooove trying different beers and supporting local brewers. The top shelf of our fridge often has a selection of new and old favourites to sample. It’s one of the few remaining items in our lives where we allow ourselves to get excited about the packaging/name of a product.
We recognise that we have a long way to go if we want to be zero waste with beer. We could refill growlers at select outlets, we could make our own, we could drink at the pub and we could simply not drink so much!
Dispute our imperfections, this is an area where we are celebrating progress. It now takes us 8 weeks to fill our recycling bin, when it used to take 2. I’m proud of this progress and I’m so happy to have a partner who is willing to improve on this further.
Picking up rubbish for #cleanupaustraliaday? Or just generally in the habit of cleaning up trash? Take photos and tag the brands who’ve endorsed disposable product design. Let’s make them accountable for their trashy ways.
I am a domestic animal. I sleep in a bed inside a house. I have regulated meal times. I am well trained. I get anxiety. The council knows where I live. There is a system in place if I misbehave. I suppress my instincts. My population growth is out of control. There is a system for where my poo goes. I am not to allowed pee on everything.
I think an environmentalist pet owner is an oxymoron. Domestic animals create a major environmental impact in Australia. We are aware of our dog’s carbon footprint, meat-based dietary requirements, food/medical packaging and the native fauna that he terrorises or deters. We’re equally aware of the fur therapy, companionship, sense of purpose and mental wellbeing he gives us.
Our mental health is paramount. Early on, we assessed what aspects of our lives bring us joy. We decided not to change these things when going zero waste. Our dog, Toki, is here to stay. After this, we’ll probably get another dog. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Let’s just improve where we can with patience, forgiveness and mindfulness.
How we apply zero waste principles to our doggo:
Second hand / street find bed, toys and accessories.
Apply local context to meat consumption ie Kangaroo in Australia (we avoid beef/pig/lamb).
Reuse paper bags for poo and put the whole thing in the compost (we call this our ‘yucky’ compost which is not for growing food).
Favour toys that are indestructible such as Kong.
Put fur in compost after brushing/sweeping/vacuuming.
Package free peanut butter in a Kong toy for chew treats. – Use dog food pellets and bananas as training treats.
Share leftovers when it’s nutritionally beneficial.
Package free vegan ‘pigs ears’ for dental treats.
Favour 3 month worming/flea tablets over monthly skin treatment to avoid extra packaging.
Use package free dog wash.
Respect dog rules when bushwalking. – Manage/prevent breeding.
I learned to celebrate the wins and not punish ourselves if we produce household trash. I learned to keep a close eye on waste collection services and know where my trash is going. I’m learning to stop and pick up rubbish in the street, and the power of community to work on bigger clean up projects.
Celebrate the wins
Take a moment and enjoy the feeling of not needing to take the bins out. Thank everybody in your home for their efforts. It’s not about perfection, it’s about incremental improvements and chances are you’re doing great.
For fear of being disappointed, I tried not to pay close attention to the landfill we generated. At 7 months, I finally estimated our rate of waste creation. I worked out that we would fill one landfill bin every 8 months, and one recycling bin every 5 weeks. Previously, it would take 2 weeks to fill both bins. Our household has 3 people and one dog. One of us is slightly more obsessed with zero waste than the others… Guess who!? If we were to stop making incremental improvements, this is the rate we’d be at. I think that’s pretty great! I thought it would take much longer to get to this stage. Plus, a lot of the waste we were still creating was from products we bought before my zero waste rampage. I love not needing to take the bins out…
Be aware of waste collection
Observe waste collection services and be aware of what happens to waste after it leaves the home. At work, plastic bin liners are a clue that recycling might not be sent to the right bin. Ask questions. Seek answers.
We recently found out that our waste collection service has been cutting corners by dumping recycling into their landfill trucks. It’s not all the time, but it’s still really messed up. We’ve put pressure on body corporate who are in the process of rectifying everything. The service provider will now lose their very big contract (over 200 dwellings… that’s a lot of wasted recycling!). Until now, I’d never thought to check how our bins are being collected. I put my trust in the fact that recycling goes to a recycling plant. Every area is a little bit different, so we’ve learnt our lesson to be aware of what happens to our waste after it leaves our home. Another positive from this is that we are even more committed to reducing our recycling waste.
Pick it up
When the time is right for you, try to pick up 3 items of rubbish. This small and mighty habit can prevent those items being washed down the gutter and into a waterway.
I’m learning to stop and pick up rubbish. Honestly, when I do it I feel a bit weird. I don’t want to appear forthright, pious or alienating to passers by. So, I try to be discreet when I do it. Apart from the looks I get (which are completely in my own head), I also feel a little overwhelmed by the task of picking up rubbish. There’s so much of it and so much being created at a business level. To encourage incremental habit-building, I’m going to just pick up 3 items max (thank to Take 3 for the inspiration).
Organise a trash party
If there’s an area that really gets you down, volunteer to clean it up. Tell others about it and invite them to join. One hour of cleaning between a small group of people can result in massive improvements on the ecosystem and community.
At the start of Plastic Free July, I set the goal of cleaning up a small part of the Merri Creek for one hour every Sunday of the month. If anyone else came along, it was a bonus – and what a bonus it was! With the help of friends, we filled 7 landfill bins (120L each). This is a big achievement for me, but it’s just another day for the legends at Friends of Merri Creek who have been tirelessly cleaning the creek for a long time now.
I have so much respect for people who do this kind of thing regularly, even at a small scale. It’s hard work! One hour of picking up rubbish made my back sore. The walk to the car carrying loads of rubbish made my arms dead (Exercise? What’s that!?). We found some seriously gross items in the creek including a crack pipe and loads of syringes. In one instance, I travelled interstate to get there on time and when I finally arrived, it rained heavily – yet we still managed to stick to the weekly goal. I sound like I’m complaining but I have truly loved every minute of it. This whole experience has created new memories from old junk.
How to slay the trash monster without losing your soul
You’re doing your best. Don’t beat yourself up if you produce household waste. Be aware of what happens to this waste after it leaves the home or office. Pick up 3 items of rubbish in the street. Consider organising a clean up project. Be realistic and take it at your own pace. Little efforts go a long way.
I learned that the ultimate zero waste approach to sex is not having kids. I realised that zero waste protection is often invasive. I reluctantly accept that condoms are ok because safe sex is paramount.
Not having kids
Population growth has slowed down since the 60s baby boom. But human impact on the environment is getting worse. Less humans means less environmental problems right?
I would make a great mum. I was 12 when I changed a nappy for the first time. I took great pride in my ability to calm my nieces and nephew and gently rock them to sleep. I love babysitting. I love watching a child’s personality shine through. When friends come to visit; I can cook a meal, entertain their child, and keep an eye on our dog all while socialising and enjoying a glass or three of wine.
My husband and I made the decision to not talk seriously about having kids until we were both 29. It was a handshake agreement that gave me permission to focus on being a twenty-something, binge drinking, full-time worker with a thirst for travel and live music. It’s only now that we’ve hit our 30s that we’re starting to feel a little foggy about what we want.
Protection is invasive
Zero waste protective sex has it’s downsides. Truly zero waste options are the birth control implant, Copper IUD or a Vasectomy.
Motivated by zero waste and health reasons, I decided to go off the birth control pill. I’d been on the pill for almost 15 years. That’s half my life and basically all of my adult life. My hormones are slowly starting to balance out again, but I’m left with a lack of options for the sexy time. How can we prevent getting pregnant without buying single-use plastic packaging or pumping our bodies full of hormones?
Bar in the arm? No way. I’m done with hormones.
Barbed wire in the snatch? There’s no way I’m putting a piece of metal in my taco. No thank you…
Get the snip? Sure! But that’s super invasive and doctors have tried to deter us because they believe we’re too young (we’re both 30).
Condoms are ok
If safe sex is paramount, then condoms are ok. A condom is the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
We see condoms as part of ‘medical’ plastics. We played it as safe as possible for as long as we could and then finally resorted to buying a fresh pack of love gloves. No glove, no love. Amiright?
How to think about the environment in a sexy way
Accept that the most environmentally-friendly approach to sex is not having kids. Consider package-free contraceptives but know that condoms and packaging are ok because safe sex is paramount. Stay true to your personal values. If you choose to make a tiny human, tell them about zero waste.
I want to fill my life with as much creative play as possible. Making, experimenting and trying new things is good for our souls. Doing this together strengthens bonds and has the potential to build ritual and knowledge from tasks.
Together is better. We’ve been practising making tortillas, mountain bread, sour dough and naan bread. By shifting dinner from a task to a shared ritual, we’ve change our mindset from “I can’t be bothered cooking” to “let’s cook together”. Being surrounded by modern conveniences, I had lost touch with this way of living.
Quality flour + clean water = freedom. If my partner and I can make these things well, then we‘ll no longer value convenience. Instead, we’ll value quality, core ingredients. It will be more affordable. It will be nutritionally better for us. It will help us tap into traditional cultures and connect with our collective history. It will enrich our lives. It’s a win win win.