Hello. Welcome, and thank you.
Thank you from me, but most of all our mother, Earth.
Who without her we would cease to exist.
As simple as that.
No flowers to sniff and flood our minds with softness,
No grass to tumble across in love and bind hands
just to touch the tip of another nose on ours.
No curious eyes of an animal to stare into and wonder
where they’ve been, what they’ve seen.
No breathe. No taste. No joy.
We call her our mother -
Creator of all things,
Deserving of our respect, time
So thank you.
For showing up today - in love and gratitude for our home.
You are always welcome here.
Conscious vs Sustainable?
To sum this up - there is no possible way in the western world that we are able to live sustainably. To live sustainably would mean to live in complete balance - everything that comes in equals what goes out - and around and around it goes. This is not only incredibly intimidating but unachievable in the western world. So comes the term conscious. When I say this, I mean to actively think about the choices you make in your every day life to reduce the impact we have on the world around us. Think of this mentality like a vine - weaving through your mind in all aspects of your life - the food you eat, the products you use, the way you carry yourself. Conscious living is very achievable, and is something each one of us can start and better at today.
Where it all began..
My journey of conscious living was born from living amongst the coconut tree’s in Fiji. Life was simple, but deliberate. When you live rural, everything must be thought of. What will we eat? Where will we get it from? How will we dispose of what’s left? In Fiji there are reminders everywhere that while we have come so far, there is still so far to go. The clues are left in coloured trails of litter along the roads that stretch around the corners of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We are lucky in Australia - our governments and general knowledge of sustainability is wide spread. However, though I have studied the environment my whole life, even I can become overwhelmed and at times - feel at a loss.
As sustainability became a marketable word, it seemed as though overnight everything was labelled ‘organic’ and coloured green. The world was flooded with new technologies and ways to make the consumer feel as though they are doing their bit. The sad part about this is that it mostly just lead to further consumerism, inevitably more waste and perhaps the worst of all - more confusion.
The thing about living sustainably is, it isn’t supposed to be a ‘new invention’ or huge procedure. People have been living this way for thousands, millions of years. It has only been since the dramatic increase in demand on the earth that we have been forced to reconsider and retreat to our original ways.
Nothing you find in this journal entry will be new knowledge. My principles of sustainability and living a conscious lifestyle draw from simple, real living. So if you take one thing away from journal let it be this:
Think. Think about where things come from and where they’re going. If it doesn’t come from the earth and can’t go back to the earth - do you really need it? Simplify. Everything. This is the lifestyle that I lead and promise will reward you in more ways than just knowing you’ve done your bit. This is how we are supposed to live. Enjoy the new world, consciously. Don’t be hard on yourself - baby steps are better than nothing. We can all do better, and it starts here - today.
But if you care to keep reading, here are some conscious decisions I make in my day to day life..
1. AVOID PLASTIC
And anything that you don’t know what it’s made out of, or where it’s going.
- Reusable water bottle. I keep one in the car and one at home
- Containers to take food with you and store (again and again and again) @seedandsproutco
- Reuse jars for smoothies, muesli, and drinks you can even put wine in a jar and take it with you - haha!
- Bamboo toothbrush @thetoothbrushproject
- Bamboo utensils for travelling @floraandfaunaau
- When you’re out at a festival or bar and there are only plastic cups available, hold onto yours. I always take a backpack out so I can store mine and my friends cups for the next round
- Most places offer table water in glasses - ask before you buy a bottle if you get stuck
- You really don’t need a straw
A really knowledgable and easy to understand account that goes into more detail with this is @plasticfreemermaid. :)
2. Reduce, Reuse and as a last effort, Recycle
Something we all need to be aware of is that a lot of recycling still makes it to landfill due to improper sorting and contamination. We have three bins in our house - recycling, landfill and compost (which is now chicken feed). Bins change in every state and you can check with your local council where your waste is exactly going. I have three major tips for this:
- Biodegradable DOES NOT MEAN that it can be broken down in the earth. These products must be disposed of at a commercial composting facility - if not they will just end up in landfill. So my suggestion - go back to step 1. Avoid it all together.
- Wash your recyclables before throwing them out, the food can contaminate the process
- Buy things in glass bottles and reuse them.
3. What to do with all the packaging!?
Let's be realistic, new clothes are unavoidable. I dramatically reduced purchasing new clothes a few years ago and began opting for Vintage if I really felt like something ‘new’. But hey, we can’t be perfect, so if you do buckle and treat yourself:
- Save the packaging for re-gifting:
Last year I was able to get through Christmas with 100% recycled, and recyclable packaging. I did this through collecting the boxes and tissue paper from my purchases throughout the year, and wrapping everything with string rather than sticky tape - because you guessed it, all of those pieces of tape are plastic!
- Ask for recyclable packaging when making a purchase
- Say NO/BYO:
Bring your own bag, ask the store if they can reuse swing tags and remove them before you leave. I will frequently be seen walking down the road bare foot with a mountain of things in my hands because it’s actually a lot more convenient for me to balance all the way home than it is to dispose of the packaging waste. This applies to your fruit and veg shopping too. If you forget your bag, find an empty box in the shop and pile it up.
4. My favourite ethical places to shop
- First things first - opt for vintage: Not only does this recycle clothes, but you’ll have something different to everyone else. Win Win.
- Jeans - Outland denim: Jeans are a staple wardrobe item. Make it a good choice.
- Feminine dresses, vintage curated (but actually in your size) - Chasing unicorns: Slowly made, curated vintage that last a life time.
- Liveable basics - Opia: Timeless, durable basics you can wear every day.
- Jewellery - Eastern Soul: Traditional jewels both new and old, created through a fair trade artisan program in India.
For more information on your favourite labels, Baptist World Aid just published the 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide. Use it like a bible.
5. Make presents instead of buying them
If you live in a first world country, the chances are you already have everything you NEED. Celebrations are a time of ‘want’, and I ‘want’ nothing more than to feel and express how much I love my friends with something no one else has. I draw, write, craft up unique presents for all of my friends - they last a lot longer than a bottle of wine and its more memorable, haha!
6. It starts at home
These are really basic principles that are especially easy for getting a share house on board.
- Ditch the chemicals - they end up in the ocean and they’re horrible for your health. My essentials are: @Drbronner, bi carb soda, white vinegar and eucalyptus solution (this one is especially handy for removing stickers from jars!)
- Think about the products you keep and don’t just do things because ‘you’ve always done it’ - swap paper towels for tea towels, fill the sink up to wash instead of running the tap, wash together, buy in bulk..
To me, eating isn’t so much about what you eat but how.
- Eat whole, real food: Majority of what I eat is in it’s purest form, organic and local wherever possible. My diet? Vegetables, fruit and meat - in that order. I was raised vegetarian however in light of my recent health scare I’ve had to reconsider my food groups. For meat I ALWAYS opt for organic, local produce and in small quantities - Line caught fish is the most sustainable option here. But if you can go veg - you have my full support, it does wonders for the environment. I'm working to join you soon!
- Eat with the seasons: Our fruit and veg has to be shipped from the other side of the world if we’re eating it out of season. This not only means its not as fresh as local, but it contributes major green house gasses from all the transport (and packaging!)
- Farmers markets: a really cheap way to shop organic and local. This is also putting the money directly into the farmers hand and supporting small business.
- NO packet food: there are weird ingredients thrown into everything in a packet (and it’s plastic!). Ditch it. You don’t need it.
- Eat at home: The best way to know what is going into your food is to cook it yourself.
- Host ‘pot luck’ lunches: Where everyone brings a dish and shares it around. This is so much more intimate and affordable than going out to dinner, and you know where everything has come from, if you all live consciously ;)
- Grow it yourself: at the very least, everyone should be able to grow herbs. Start small then keep adding plants as you gain confidence. Basil and tomatoes are a really easy start.
8. Menstrual cup
This one is for my girls. I don’t even want to talk about the amount of waste and unfairness of buying into standard sanitary items. Do yourself a favour and purchase a menstrual cup - they’re reusable and not packed with toxins. Yay!
9. It starts with you, it starts with all of us.
If I leave you with nothing else, let it be these rules:
- Every dollar you spend is a vote for what you believe in. Choose wisely.
- Think about why you do things rather than just doing them out of habit.
- Forget brand loyalty. Be gutsy. Shake it up. You can start a new family ritual today.
- Be a conscious consumer. Something I can’t stress enough is that while there are ethical ways to produce - at the end of the day everything utilises resources and contributes to waste (no matter how amazing the green label is). Use less. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Re-think.
I hope this helps you on your conscious journey and grabs you by the hand from baby steps, to a run. There are so many ways we can make a difference and honour the world around us. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them below.
All my love.