The Year To
Before I even begin I feel like I need to make a disclaimer to take my post title with a pinch of salt. Of course if we were all perfectly sustainable, it would be far better than a few mindful changes but in the reality of the 21st century that is just not viable for the majority of people. Not only is it not viable it's equally terrifying to the average person.
What is viable and has the chance to make a significant impact on our earth, is all of us choosing to be a little more mindful in a few aspects of our lives.
None of us are perfect and we all wrestle with our own choices and missteps but I feel like the tide is turning. We're all finally realising that it isn't about shaming those who use planes, sometimes eat meat and forget their reusable water bottle and that it's about celebrating the changes we are making over time, together.
So with that in mind and with no fear of judgement in this space on the internet, here's why being mindful is better than aiming for perfection. A new decade, a new start, a new chance to change.
Last week in the light of the horrendous fires currently wreaking devastation across Australia, I shared a few important things over on my Instagram. Firstly how heartbroken I was for the people and animals affected by the unimaginable fires and secondly some incredible charities working tirelessly to support those who desperately need help. There can be times of light in horrendous situations and the brave charities and people selflessly putting themselves forward to help others are exactly that - full of light and hope. The impact we've had on our planet is truly terrifying but we must realise that we don't have to aim to be perfect to make an impact and reverse some of the damage done. Being perfectly imperfect is something we can all achieve bit by bit and the impact we could all have together would be astonishing. When we lessen the demand for certain things such as fast fashion, our impact creates waves of change that can last a lifetime. I may still have a long long way to go, but I'm trying to be more mindful just like I know so many of you are too.
What Can We Do?
So what can we really do? It would be so easy to think 'but I'm only one person?' and to give up on the quest for change altogether but the truth of the matter is, that all of us trying our best culminates in the change we desperately need to see. It's about the small manageable steps we can take to progress and in turn influence others to start that journey too. It's about reusable coffee cups, water bottles and cotton pads. Eating less meat, less dairy and more plants. Shopping better, shopping less and shopping smart. It's giving to environmental charities, offsetting travel emissions and donating our unloved goods. Recycling, reusing and reworking. It's about celebrating the things we have changed not berating ourselves and others for the things we haven't yet changed. I am not perfect but the changes I'm making and continue to make have influenced others and the changes others have made and continue to make have influenced me. In the same vein I have friends who eat meat but I don't berate them for their choice, I just excitedly exclaim how exciting it is to see them eating less meat. Similarly I have friends who live a plant based life but they don't berate me, they celebrate the steps I'm taking to better my lifestyle and positively impact the planet. We need thousands of people at a time making lots of small changes, not one person at a time trying to make thousands of huge changes.
‘To the person who uses metal straws to save fish but consumes animals, I’d like to say thank you. To the vegan who isn’t aware of our homelessness problem, thank you. To the climate change activists who aren’t attentive to fast fashion, thank you. To the girl who gives her old clothes to the disadvantaged but isn’t educated on sex trafficking, thank you. To the guy who picks up rubbish on his way home from a surf but isn’t well-informed about male suicide rates, thank you. To the people who stand up for horse racing concerns but are uninformed of the cruelty of the dairy industry, thank you. To the positive Instagram influencer who hasn’t cultivated a plastic-free lifestyle, thank you. To the grandparents who knit for sick children but aren’t up to date with current race and homophobic issues, thank you. To the students that stand up for bullying but are unaware of the constant domestic violence epidemic, thank you. To the peace activists, feminists, stray dog adopters, teachers, volunteers, foster carers, recyclers, givers, doers and believers, I say thank you. We are all on a different path and we all see through different eyes. Current world issues that you are passionate about, aren’t always what other people are trying to change… and that’s okay. It’s not everyone’s job to save every part of the world but it is everyone’s responsibility to thank every person who is doing THEIR part to save the world. Don’t critique, just appreciate. Don’t judge, just educate. We’re all trying our best. Thank you.’
- Carla Borthwick
The Small Changes
So after sitting down with some friends last week and donating to some of the charities in Australia who are supporting people and animals as they navigate the fires, we started to chat about the small changes we've all been making to lessen our impact on the environment and be more mindful. Here are ten of the changes we've made and encouraged each other to make this January:
- 1. Purchase some reusable and washable face pads and ditch the cotton wool pads
- 2. Try replacing your coffee pods with a bean coffee machine or cafetiere
- 3. If you use dryer sheets then consider replacing them with reusable dryer balls instead
- 4. Maybe invest in a reusable straw/mug to avoid using plastic straws/cups when out and about
- 5. Consider buying less fast fashion or even one less item per month and shop your wardrobe
- 6. Try taking part in meat free Mondays or just lessening your meat intake for one meal a week
- 7. Plan your meals for the week and try to avoid wasting any food/drink
- 8. Consider storing leftovers without using cling film, tinfoil or other unnecessary packaging
- 9. Consider swapping your tampons out for reusable period products like a cup
- 10. If you can switch to washing your clothing in cold/colder water and save energy
Please share any of your tips below, I would love for this to be a place where we can all come together with positivity and encourage each other to do better without fear of judgement.
Progress Not Perfection -
Maggie Hewitt of Maggie Marilyn