Last year we became a lot more conscious of the world around us. We removed our blinders and started educating ourselves on various subjects regarding sustainability. This experience has been painfully confronting and liberating at the same time. It is not comfortable to realise that the way you have been consuming your whole life has negatively impacted the environment and the well-being of other (human)beings. We have realised that it was time for us to take responsibility and make some changes. Knowing that we are making a real effort to better ourselves feels freaking damn good. In this post, you’ll read about our three main focus points for the year 2021.
At the beginning of 2020, Joy and I transitioned from a vegetarian/flexitarian diet into a plant-based lifestyle. Soon after, we decided to join the vegan movement.
#1 Putting the act into activism
As a consumer, you have a direct impact on what is being produced by companies. It is all about demand and supply. No business is going to do something that doesn’t sell. Consciously buying products from good origins is an excellent step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. However, if you see the well-being of others being unnecessarily compromised, adopting a more sustainable lifestyle isn’t enough. Positive change will happen a lot faster if people dare to speak up. Don’t see yourself as one drip in the ocean; see yourself as a raindrop that starts a ripple effect.
Being an activist means actively supporting a controversial cause. You don’t have to tie yourself to a tree or go to a loud protest to be an activist. Find something that works best for your personality and circumstances. Starting Somewhat Greener is one way we get actively involved in matters we find important. Educating ourselves has been a huge part of our personal growth, which can be pretty tough since there is a lot of contradicting information out there. Since we enjoy doing thorough research, making information accessible and easy to read for everyone is a form of activism that works well for us. We full-heartedly believe that education is the foundation for progress.
Next to expanding Somewhat Greener, we want to continue to go out on the street and have educational conversations and discussions with others. With this, we will not commit ourselves to just one cause. There are a lot of different issues that can use a voice. Please keep coming back to our website to follow our activism journey
or/and follow us on Instagram.
#2 Drastically reducing waste
The already immense amount of annually generated municipal solid waste – everyday items discarded by the public – in the world will increase from 2.0 billion tons to 3.4 billion tons (!!) by 2050, according to World Bank Group, 2018. One reason is the increase in the world’s population, and another reason is the increase in wealth. There is a strong correlation between the amount of income and the amount of waste per capita. Wealthier countries are a bit better at recycling, but they have to become circular economies – an economy that continually uses the same resources without producing any waste. If not, the environment is going to become even more polluted. There is no way you haven’t seen any footage of children growing up in landfills or marine animals stuck in plastic waste and fishing nets. In future articles, we will share everything we learn concerning this subject.
To be honest, we are no experts at reducing our personal waste. This will be a step-by-step process that we will work on this year. Without a doubt, the list of habits we need to work on will become longer when we start to educate ourselves on this subject.
This is our list so far:
- Repair items/mend clothes instead of replacing them;
- Reuse items more often (for other purposes);
- Avoid products with unnecessary packaging;
- Avoid single-use items;
- Bring reusable shopping bags, lunchbox, and to-go cup when going out;
- Buy ingredients and materials in bulk;
- Replace unsustainable products with sustainable products, e.g. buy toilet paper that is not bleached and sold in plastic, and buy soap bars instead of soap bottles.*
* the most sustainable items are those you already own. We will first use all the products that we already have at home.
#3 Ditch dirty (palm) oil
Ten years ago, a Greenpeace TV commercial went viral; a guy took a break from work to eat a “KitKat”, but it wasn’t a bar of chocolate he was chewing on.. it was an orangutan’s finger. At that time, I studied Communication and Media Design and was very impressed by their storytelling. However, it still took me another ten years before realising that I should act upon their call.
Where do we start? It is estimated that nearly 50% of the products we find in the supermarket contain palm oil or one of its derivatives. While mainly used for processed food, palm oil is also widely used in shampoo, detergent, soap, and cosmetics. Before making drastic decisions, we will start 2021 by reducing our palm oil consumption and educating ourselves on the topic.
We gave ourselves three focus points this year but will not close our eyes to other problems. Most problems (e.g. racism, sexism, speciesism) are interlinked and connected at the roots.
Will you join us in our journey towards a responsible lifestyle? Check our website regularly for updates, and follow us on Instagram. We also love to interact with you! Because we are still learning, interaction is key.