3 things you can do to take better care of the environment

Climate anxiety is real. When we start to become more aware of the scale and weight of our human imprint on the planet, its almost impossible not to feel the wave of impeding hopelessness for it's future.

While the kind of long-term stress that keeps us up worrying at 3am about the state of the planet is not healthy, spikes of short-term stress in the body exist for a reason; to spur us into action. And with just %23 of the land's natural wilderness left due to deforestation and human industrialisation, action is critical.

As reported by the IPCC; to avoid a climate crisis, we need to decrease our emissions by %50 by the end of this decade. If we follow an unchanging path, we are on track to increase them by %14, contributing to a 3 degree rise in global warming, which is higher than the safe level for our survival.

Here are three personal steps we can all take to contribute to decreasing our carbon emissions, on top of the most obvious ones being; drive less, walk/ride more, avoid plastics where you can, recycle and compost.

When we achieve success with small changes we make in our lives, we build momentum to scale up to bigger, more wide-reaching changes. All of these changes not only take better care of the environment, but are also kinder on our physical and spiritual health!

They just require an extra moment of consciousness in our choices.

Sustainable Fashion

Did you know, that in the 1700 / 1800s clothes were so resilient and durably made that they were treasured items passed down through generations, and when they began to wear and tear, they might have been passed onto slaves before being used for rags, and then disposed of.

Compare that to today's world were clothes are basically only made to survive a limited amount of washes before losing their quality, we cycle through so many clothes we lose track of them all. This is not necessarily a product of money-hungry manufacturers, but more prominently, our demand and preference for cheap, affordable clothing over more expensive, but higher quality products.

The problem of clothing industry on our environment is huge and wide spread. It accounts for %10 of humanity's carbon emissions, among this list of impacts;

The Environmental Footprint of Fast Fashion Reference sight here

  • Approximately 60% of all materials used by the fashion industry are made from plastic (UNEP, 2019)

  • 500,000 tons of microfibers are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)

  • The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of humanity’s carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined (UNEP, 2018). If the fashion sector continues on its current trajectory, that share of the carbon budget could jump to 26% by 2050 (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)

  • Some 93 billion cubic metres of water – enough to meet the needs of five million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions (UNCTAD, 2020)

  • Around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry (WRI, 2017)

If you want to lessen your impact on the earth, you can start by supporting brands made of %100 eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, hemp ( Hemp plants breathe in four times more carbon dioxide than trees!) ect, that are perhaps more expensive, but made to last, which I have found ends up costing me less in the long term, because I don't need to buy new outfits every year and season.

If fashion is an important part of your evolving expression of self, swap shiny new stores for op shops and support the growing trend of clothing recycling!

Support the seaweed industry instead of the fishing industry

The secret is out that both the commercial fishing and fish farming industry have had a major destructive impact on the oceans world-wide. The reason is as layered as the eco-system itself. Deep sea trawling that scrapes the ocean floors has already destroyed mass amounts of the seafloor. Over-fishing and the amount of waste that happens with every catch has lead to Experts predicting fishless oceans by the year 2048.

Empty oceans would impact the quality of life on earth more than many realise - the seafloor is one of our most carbon-rich ecosystems of all. Without it, the resulting carbon loss would be devastating to the entire planet, including the land we walk on, the soil we rely on to grow food, and the air we breath. Fish farming sounds like a good solution, but unfortunately, it is often done in toxic, disease-ridden waters, and the amount of waste can be even higher than wild fishing.

The only sure solution is to stop consuming all sea animals, as despite the labels, there is no guarantee any fish has been caught 'sustainably'. If you chose to continue to consume fish, choose local and choose carefully.

Now, onto another solution. Seaweed!

To put simply, seaweeds are like the plants of the sea. They help draw carbon back into the ocean, just like plants help draw carbon back into the soil. And with the damage that our fishing industries have caused in terms of carbon loss, our marine life could use a little help regenerating.

"While forests have long been considered the best natural defence in the battle against climate change, researchers have found that seaweed is in fact the most effective natural way of absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Unlike tree planting, seaweed does not require fresh water or fertilizers and grows at a much faster rate than trees, expanding by up to two feet a day. But seaweed’s biggest comparative advantage is that it does not compete for demands on land." - Pulled from an interesting article in TIME

Replacing demand for fish-farms with seaweed farms could have a great positive impact on not only stopping, but reversing the damage we've done.

Seaweed is also rich in minerals, iron, iodine and protein - nutrients you might be missing if you choose to stop consuming fish.

Buy Organic & Biodiverse, Local & seasonal Produce!

Seriously simple and hugely impactful. Many people avoid organic produce understandably because of its price, but most towns and city's I have been to has a local farmers market, and I often find they have matching prices to any store, and often, even cheaper deals!

Farms that use pesticide sprays and toxic chemicals to increase crop production and kill pests are not only poisoning the crops themselves that end up in our bodies, but in the long term, depleting the soil in dramatic ways. We are only now seeing the devastating impacts of pesticides that only came into prevalence off the back of World War II, which are turning acreages of once healthy, dense soil into dust. And healthy soil is one of the primary foundations of a healthy atmosphere - in junction with rich and diverse plant-life - which together, draw down and store carbon, and contribute to regulating temperatures.

Yet the madness of unsustainable farming practices continues due to its convenience.

If the demand for sustainably grown produce rises higher than our complacency with what we're getting, then more farms will turn to organic, biodynamic practices.

Basically, by tackling the issue of excess carbon emissions from this angle of living as eco-friendly as possible in our personal lives, we have the potential to influence waves of change on bigger, industry scales; but only in numbers.

With Love, Sita