Earlier this year in March, I wrote about what I hoped would come out of COP26 as a young person. Following the summit that bought parties together from around the world to discuss the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it’s time to share what I’ll be doing to make my mark too.
In the months leading up to COP26, it’s been all over the news and difficult to escape. Just because the discussions are over doesn’t mean that we can forget – climate change is an ongoing conversation. We can all make lifestyle changes that will benefit the planet, without changing our routine too much, if at all.
Eat for the planet
I’ve dabbled in and out of being vegetarian. I suffered from anorexia throughout high school and since then, I’ve always sworn that I would never restrict myself again. I worried that if I cut a whole food group out of my diet, that I would find it difficult to be healthy. But I’m realising that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Going meatless at least once a week can have a huge impact on the planet! Some people are now pursuing a ‘flexitarian diet’ which promotes plant-based foods the majority of the time but leaves flexible wiggle room. This is a great idea for people that don’t want to give up meat completely.
Key statistics to remember:
- Plant-based diets can reduce emissions by up to 50%
- Livestock accounts for 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions
- Without meat and dairy, global farmland could be reduced by more than 75% (the size of the US, China, EU and Australia combined) and still feed the world.
I would say that I go meatless a couple of times a week already but my main goal is to pay greater attention to what’s on my plate.
This means not only considering what animal it came from but how it got to the supermarket and onto my plate too. For example, choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables to reduce transportation from around the world, buying locally sourced food and freezing leftovers to reduce waste.
Reduce my fast fashion
Roughly £30 billion worth of unused clothes are believed to lie unworn in wardrobes in the UK and I have to admit, I’m part of the problem. I’ve definitely reduced my participation in fast fashion since the beginning of the pandemic and it made me realise how easy it was to stop buying clothes.
Got a couple of Christmas parties this month? Rent an outfit instead! Or wear something from a few years ago and style it differently. It’s all about the memories, not what dress you wore. From now on I will ask myself ‘how many times am I going to wear this?’, and if the answer isn’t often, it’s not going in my basket.
Be more mindful of my shopping habits
The hardest part for me is finding brands that I love and trust. I’ve had the same skincare routine for years because I know it works. It’s probably going to be trial and error working out what is best for you, but there truly is so much choice out there now that sustainability is easy!
Investing in compostable, certified B-corporations and vegan products only takes a glance at the label or a quick Google. The majority of the time, there’s not much of a price difference and knowing that I’m supporting an ethical and sustainable brand, brings me much more joy.
My partner and I are buying our first home together and we want to up-cycle furniture as much as possible. Not only is it cheaper and more fun but it’s also better for the environment as 22 million pieces of furniture are sent to landfill in the UK each year.
I’ve been using a tactic recently that if I want something, I put it on a note on my phone and if I still want it in 30 days, I’ll buy it. This tackles emotional and impulse shopping – something we’re all guilty of sometimes.
Reduce single-use plastic
A takeout coffee here and there when I forget my reusable cup. Another plastic bag when I pop to the shops. All of these individual factors add up! If you’re prone to forgetting like me, pop a post-it note on the breakfast cupboard door or add a reminder on your phone.
I’m making a conscious effort to carry around a bag of essentials that I can bring everywhere with me. Currently, inside is a bamboo cutlery set, reusable shopping bag, a pocket Stasher Bag for snacks and bamboo face wipes. I can add to it and mix it up depending on where I am going but having a dedicated bag makes reducing plastic on the go a breeze.
Connect more with nature
It’s always harder to get outside during the Winter. After a day of work when it’s cold, the last thing I want to do is head outside. But I always feel happier and healthier after some fresh air. I am lucky enough to work from home some of the week so on my lunch breaks, rather than watching an episode of Greys Anatomy – I’m going for a walk.
Spending time outside being present helps me feel closer to nature. This makes me want to try harder to protect our planet. Sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture and that’s ok, but having a reminder like the great outdoors can help ground us again. I want to use this time to listen to a podcast to educate and keep me up to date with the latest sustainable news. My current favourites are The Minimalists, Low Tox Life and Conscious Chatter.
I’m lucky enough to live in the Suffolk countryside so admiring wildlife and greenery is never far away. But even if you live in the city, go and see what new parks you can stumble upon or meet a friend for a walking date with a coffee (don’t forget your reusable cup).
Join me! What change will you make following COP26?
Most of us are creatures of habit and simply changing our routine is probably harder than the actual task. But what is better motivation than saving the very thing that allows us to exist? By joining our Home Club, we can help you lead a more sustainable lifestyle with products we love and trust at an unbeatable price point!
Don’t forget to upload a picture on social media, tag us and share with the world what changes you’ll be making following COP26.