The modern world is hard. Really hard. We live in a globalised, interconnected world where every decision you make has unintentional implications for societies and ecosystems across the planet. From the clothes you wear, to the food you eat, to the media you consume. It all, in one way or another, contributes to capitalist driven climate change. As NBC’s The Good Place has shown us through its sardonic humour: ‘every day the world gets a little more complicated and being a good person gets a little harder to do’.
What does eco-friendly mean today?
It is no longer enough to buy an Instagram-able avocado bath bomb labelled as ‘organic’ and ‘vegan’ and feel good about your self-care choices. Especially if, that is, the ingredients to make the bath bomb itself were produced by underpaid workers, in fields where rainforests once stood and then shipped from all four corners of the globe by tankers and planes. In essence, what can seem an eco-friendly choice is actually one that leaves a huge carbon and ecological footprint.
Its easier said than done to make good choices when we all live in capitalist societies, which are driven by gain and not compassion for people or the environment. So, unless you are planning to go off the grid and live only on the root vegetables you grow in your self-sustaining stack in rural Montana, then you need to become more conscious of your buying habits.
Self-care is just one part of a huge picture of buying habits which unintentionally contribute to climate change. Now, I do not claim to have all, or any, of the answers. These are just some of the habits I have adopted which help to make my self-care choices a little bit greener.
Two Super Simple Ways You Can Be More Eco-Friendly Today
Eat Green, or, Green-er
For me, and for a lot of people, food is huge part of self-care. There is nothing better than sitting down with our favourite snack or meal after a hard day and just enjoying the sheer taste pleasure it brings us. One way in which this act of self-care can become more-green is by adopting vegan, or at least vegetarian, eating habits. If you are a meat-lover then I am not necessarily asking you to do a 180 and become a vegan overnight – I’m not vegan myself so to ask that of you dear reader would be very hypocritical of me. Instead, I am saying that we all need to change particular habits which will have a positive impact on the environment.
Thanks to a handful of documentaries showcasing the problematic nature of intensive farming, more people than ever are cutting back on meat products. The simple fact is that the farming of beef, pork and lamb produces huge amounts of greenhouse gases. These gases perpetuate the cycle of the ‘greenhouse effect’ in our atmosphere, warming our planet, melting our icecaps and raising our sea levels.
As more people have cut these products out, more and more companies have created vegan and vegetarian alternatives. From the phenomenal Greggs sausage roll, to the vegan cheese pizzas at Papa Johns and Pizza Hut, to vegan burgers at KFC and Burger King there are now a wealth of options to indulge in. In this way, it is easier than ever to make your favourite takeaway green without loosing the taste value.
Grow Your Own Greens
Gardening is an age-old form of self-care.
It is one of the most popular hobbies and pastimes in the world and there is a keenly important reason for that. For, gardening is, at its very heart, an activity founded in nurturing behaviours. The gardener cares for a tiny little seedling, providing it with all the elements it needs and watches it grow into a beautiful, flowering plant. It is an immensely rewarding activity, both emotionally and personally.
In this way, the rewards you feel from gardening mean that it is an activity that can be put to great use as a way of reducing your own carbon footprint. In particular, I am talking about growing your own fruit and vegetables.
It is no lie that the fruit and vegetables that we buy in the supermarkets have travelled across the world to reach our stores. The journeys these fruit and vegetable products go on produce a huge amount of pollution which seeps into the environment and the world’s ecosystems. By growing your own fruit and vegetables you cut out the middle-man, as such, by reducing the amount of fresh product you buy from the supermarket and the carbon footprint it produces. Alongside this positive ecological effect this type of gardening will reward you with products you have literally produced yourself; what could be more rewarding and enlightening?