The final call…

Outfit deets. Jeans: old New Look. Jumper: charity shop.

This is a long one. Grab a cuppa and get comfy.

I don’t know about you, but I feel overwhelmed. We’re on the final call for climate change. Make changes now or our children’s generation will suffer. Stop using single use plastic. Stop buying new clothes. Stop washing your clothes. Eat less meat. Cut down on dairy. Go plant-based and sustainable. Buy local. Reduce your carbon footprint. Be a better person and save the world…

I’m suddenly aware of every single piece of plastic that I use. There’s a tub of sour cream and chive dip next to me as I type this. It’s a plastic tub. I can see it shining with all of its convenience, glaring at me. Will I use it again? I’d like to think that yes I will, but in all likelihood it’ll end up in the recycling. So what? As long as it’s being recycled, right? Well, no. I mean, that’s a good thing to do with your plastic, but actually, what will happen to that plastic is it will be recycled into something else and THAT piece of plastic will no longer be recyclable. And THAT will end up in landfill. Every piece of plastic we have ever made still exists. Somewhere. Think about that for a second…

I buy a lot of my clothes from charity, vintage or second hand. I always have, predominantly because I like a bargain. Remember when kids at school used to poke fun for shopping in charity shops?! Well now it’s working in my favour. Or the planet’s favour, at least. But now that Stacey Dooley has outed the fashion industry as being the second worst industry for pollution everyone is now getting behind the sustainable shopping thing. Which is a good thing, if it lasts. There are also clothing brands popping up where all garments have been made from recycled plastic. Or plastic found at the bottom of the ocean. Even Adidas have made new trainers in this way. The problem with them, of course, is the expense. And that’s largely why we now have a problem with so-called ‘fast fashion’. Who wants to spend £150 on a sustainably made swimming costume when you can buy a synthetic one made in a sweat shop for £5. Sure, we should be buying clothes as an investment. Buy something that will last you for years and don’t be afraid to be seen in it more than once (post multiple pictures of you wearing it on Instagram. You won’t break the platform, I promise). But, the problem is that I can’t afford £150 on one garment. So how do I buy an ‘investment piece’? I even feel guilty about washing my clothes because the cheap crap I’ve bought leaks tiny pieces of plastic into the water, which ultimately ends up in the ocean. And we all know that the plastic in the ocean is killing it. And we need the ocean to live. Oh hey, climate change. The answer? You have to buy a bag to wash your cheap synthetic clothes in. Or spend over £100 on the sustainably made clothes that don’t leak these tiny pieces of poison into the water.

I haven’t eaten meat for 12 years, but now even that no longer feels like enough. I’ve been doing my bit for the environment, albeit, most of those 12 years have been in ignorance. I don’t like eating meat, I don’t like what happens to meat for human consumption and if I’m really honest I can’t stand the thought of eating an animal. Something that lived and breathed and felt pain. It makes me feel sad. So, I don’t eat it. The fact that it was good for the environment never really came into it. Until now. Now I’m looking at the dairy industry. I found out a few years ago that calves are separated from their mothers so that we can take their milk. It’s distressing for both mother and calf. If the calf doesn’t take to the bottle then it’s destroyed. So yeah, I’ve been drinking milk and eating yoghurt for years with my head in the sand. Now that’s a neat trick… But seriously, I don’t feel very comfortable ignoring it anymore. Then add to that the fact that the dairy industry contributes to greenhouse gases, more so than the transport industry, and it’s hello again global warming…

I feel overwhelmed. Of course I want to stop global warming. I want our children to have a safe environment to live in. To raise their children in. I want the human race to continue to live on this rock and halt further destruction of it. This is our home and it’s the only one we’ll have. I know I can’t do it single handed and I know I can’t do it all. But I am making changes to the way I live my life.

I will no longer shop ‘fast fashion’. My wardrobe will be charity, vintage, second hand or just my own old clothes. I make this statement, but there will be exceptions of course. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy wearing second hand underwear… I really want to support the sustainable, ethically sourced fashion brands, but my budget just won’t allow for it. I hope they do become more mainstream though, cause that’s the only way they’ll become more affordable.

I’ve been a bad vegetarian for quite a few years now, well, that’s going to change. I’m not eating fish anymore (do you know that half of the ocean plastic is old fishing nets?! There’s actually a fashion brand that makes clothes from rescued fishing nets… can’t afford them either though, can I?). And while I don’t want to be vegan (oh hey, poached eggs. Hi there, sexy cheese, I won’t give you two baes up). But where I can make changes is with my milk, yoghurt and chocolate consumption. I’m trying out dairy free alternatives and if I can find one I like then I’ll make a permanent switch. And chocolate? Well, I don’t eat THAT much chocolate, but I’ll try to buy dark vegan chocolate where I can. Although hand me a salted caramel galaxy and I might still bite your hand off to get to it.

I’m going to try to be more conscious of my plastic consumption. So that little tub of dip beside me will be washed out and used to store dates or nuts or something. It also won’t do my waistline any harm to reduce how much dip I buy. I also want to start making my own hummus, so I’ll not be buying tubs of hummus soon! We all know about carrier bags and straws, but I want to take it a step further. I don’t want to buy my fruit and veg from big plastic laden supermarkets anymore. I’m lucky enough to live near little green grocers who sell loose fruit and veg. I’ll shop there instead and carry it all home in my canvas tote bag or rucksack.

I’m not perfect. I won’t be able to stick to these pledges 100% forever. But I’m conscious of it. I’m trying to make changes. Don’t judge me if you see me drinking out of a plastic bottle of water cause I forgot to take my reusable one to the gym. Don’t judge me for drinking milk that’s not made from coconuts cause I can’t afford to pay £2 for it so close to pay day and cow milk is cheaper. All we can do, all anyone can do, is be aware and make small changes where we can. The overwhelm I feel is because I care. Because I feel. My actions alone won’t save the planet and I won’t judge or preach to you to follow my lead, but I do hope you think about how you shop and about the food you consume.  Every person making one small change leads to one big change.

It’s the final call for climate change, and I’m showing up to try and save the world. Are you?

One thought on “The final call…

  1. Nice read Gemma!

    Yeah, it’s a terrifying thought that all the plastic that has ever been made still exists, and there are those rubbish continets clumped together on the oceans.

    For me, I do like my meat but I’ve been making other changes in my life that a) are more sustainable and b) saves me money in the long run.
    An example of this are my monthly menstrual products. We know how money we spend on single use pads and tampons and for me, the idea that my used sanitary products just sit somewhere in a landfill or in the ocean just disgusts me. So for a while now, I used menstrual cups with reusable pads. And honestly, they have changed my life. More comfort, security when during the monthlies and doesn’t break the bank! They aren’t too expensive either, so instead of buying say, a new jumper, I put my money towards these products that I know I will need for a very long time.

    I’ve also started trying to grow herbs at home, started with basil (hope it survives!) and will soon try coriander.

    In our current world, everything just seems to come in plastic, our vegetables or fruit just everything. It is seriously tough to try and minimise waste. This reminds me, back in Taiwan, local markets were just everywhere and you could just go to these places to buy your groceries (ah, I have very fond memories of going to these places).
    They are kind of like our farmers markets here and I wish they were more common!

    Like

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