Little things matter: how to bring a bit of sustainability into your daily life

Tree tops. Photo Credit: Author.

New year, new promises. This year, I’ve decided not to think about myself but more about the world that we’re living in. Fact is, its the only one we have and unfortunately we don’t have a spare one in our trunk. So today, I thought about the little things that can bring a bit of sustainability into my and maybe into your life 🙂 Some of the things may seem obvious, others maybe won’t.

Important: this is not about lecturing anyone, just simply some tips and tricks how to treat this earth a bit better and the benefits we gain from it. Also feel free to post your own words of advice in the comment section – there is always room for improvement 🙂

Use less plastic

Plastic is becoming a huge problem for our environment. Not too long ago, Greenpeace issued a statement warning people about the dangers of plastic, destroying our oceans and sea-life. Introducing a fee for plastic bags is a good start, but there are better ways to use less plastic. For example, bring your own jute bag or re-use the plastic bags you have lying around your house. I’ve recently stopped buying plastic bottles and started to bring along my own glas bottle. Throw in some lemon slices and a bit of mint, yum happy days. Glas is a way more sustainable material, but keep in mind, only if you use it more than once.

Buy seasonal, buy local

‘Think global, buy local.’ We are so used to shopping in fully stocked supermarkets, that we forget that vegetables and fruit actually grow seasonally. The need for fresh strawberries in winter is a bit unnecessary if you think about it. Why not opt for the frozen version, grown locally? The myth that frozen food is not as healthy as fresh food is, well, a myth. During summer time, its a lot easier. Check out some of your local farmer’s markets and you will be surprised how many yummy things are growing around you! If you’re too lazy to go outside (its currently winter after all), search online for platforms where you can directly order food from a farmer near you.

Look at the list of ingredients

Often we are not fully aware how our food resembles, but it is worth to take a closer look at the list of ingredients. Let’s take palm oil for example, which can be found in nearly anything, from Nutella to toothpaste. Palm oil plantations cause a massive destruction of the rainforest. This does not only ruin beautiful parts of nature but also the habitat of many animals. Sometimes palm oil is not even necessary or can be replaced with organically grown palm oil. Which’s not only better for nature and our health, but also for the workers. This especially applies to products such as chocolate, coffee or tea. Fairly produced chocolate makes sure legit wages are paid and mostly fair trade chocolate is packaged in paper, which is a more sustainable material. So next time you go shopping, watch out for the official fair trade seal.

Food Sharing

Food sharing - declaring the war on food waste. Photo Credit: (Flickr).
Food sharing – declaring the war on food waste. Photo Credit: (Flickr).

Devastating enough, we still live in a world where food is being thrown away while other people starve to death. Unless new laws are brought in, such as France banning supermarkets to throw away food, we need to take matters into our own hands. If you are not adventurous enough for dumpster diving, there are tons of food sharing communities on Facebook or other social networks!

Most importantly: plan ahead! If you know you’re going away for the weekend, take a quick look into your fridge or simply put close to date goods into the freezer (god, I love freezing things) or even better, give them to your roommate, friends, neighbours, charities etc.

Leave your car behind

Less flying, car sharing, bus, trains, walk short distances or simply invest in a bike.  Just to name a few options. My goal is to avoid getting on a plane when possible, if there are other options. This is actually a tough one for me, as I love flying.

The vegetarian/vegan kitchen

The production of meat takes up immense amounts of water. According to the Guardian one kilo of beef, requires 15,415 litres of water. In order to feed the animals and for them to become bigger and heavier, parts of the rainforest are being cut down to grow soy. Cutting back on your meat consumption and introducing a veggie/vegan day into your (weekly) life, does not only improve your health but the vegetarian/vegan cuisine is so diverse and colourful, it instantly makes you more creative!

If you are thinking about becoming a vegetarian full or part time, check out this video I made, where I talk about the opportunities of a veggie lifestyle. If you’re having troubles even thinking about a vegetarian diet, this may also help.

To be honest, I was quite surprised to find chocolate on the list of high water consumption. It does break my heart a little bit..

Water consumption, litres
Chocolate 1 kg 17,196
Beef 1 kg 15,415
Sheep Meat 1 kg 10,412
Pork 1 kg 5,988

If you want to share your sustainability story, feel free to do so in the comment section 🙂