2019 and 2020 has been the most devastating bush fire season Australia has ever seen, the sheer magnitude of what has been lost is unimaginable. I’m not going to go into the horrifying details of what has happened, but you can find them here, but I can tell you that it has impacted every person in Australia, decimated our beautiful country, put people in danger, threatened indigenous sacred sites and the animals lost will never be recovered and the air in our cities is almost unbreathable, and our government has been underprepared at best and wilfully and maliciously callous at worst.
The scale of lost is hard to comprehend, and it can be overwhelming to even begin to think about what to do. But its obvious that we need political change, immediate climate action and policies to protect life and environment. And I truly believe that in order to create large scale change we need a top down approach lead by governments and big business. But we don’t have that. And I can’t just sit here and think about the inaction because it makes me tear up and I feel physically sick with rage and despair.
I will continue to advocate for climate change action, I will go to the protests, I will support the Extinction Rebellion and vote for and support candidates who will protect the environment. I will support sustainable businesses and continue to speak out against climate change, but I cant sit here anymore. I need to focus on what I can do as an individual in order to feel anything but overwhelming despair in the face of this tragedy. For me, just voting is not enough, I have felt so helpless in the face of these bushfires that I have decided to make drastic changes to my life in order to live in line with my values of kindness, protecting the environment and doing what is right.
I have been inching towards zero waste for years now, but I am going to be moving much more aggressively towards that this year, and I have decided to document the process on my blog so I can let you know what works and what doesn’t. I will also be working to make sure my lifestyle is as sustainable as possible. It might seem like my action is unimaginably tiny, but I need to try and while I can’t do all the good in the world, the world can use all the good I can do.
I’m Changing how I eat
Meat, particularly factory farming is a contributor to climate change, and also terrible for the animals. I have been slowly cutting down on my meat consumption and I want to work towards eliminating it all together. Now I will be taking this challenge really slowly, as I am a celiac and I have a high risk of nutrient deficiency so eliminating an entire food group is a big challenge for me. I’m planning to start by eliminating red meat, and then gradually cutting down my consumption from there. I also want to focus on eating seasonally and locally and have more intention about where my food is coming from and what it means.
I’m Changing what I Buy:
In 2020 I am going to attempt a ‘no buy’ year where I will dramatically limit what I buy, because rapid consumption particularly with single use plastic, fast fashion and cheap electronics is harmful to the environment and largely unsustainable. For my no buy year I have created rules for myself which will give me boundaries to still look after myself while critically understanding my consumption habits and cutting down on what I do consume, with the handy benefit of helping me to save money.
My no buy rules:
What is okay:
- Food: Obviously you need food to live
- Exercise: I consider exercise a vital part of my self care and at this time I can’t imagine not having a gym membership.
- Replacements for when I actually run out of something: I’m allowed to buy things when I run out, like cleaning products, make up and skin care, but only when I completely run out of the previous one. I will also be trying to replace my empties with ‘zero waste’ or at least slightly better alternatives.
What is not okay
- Any books (including my kindle subscription)
- Clothes which are notoriously bad for the environment and if I desperately need a specific thing, I will try and get it second hand
- More plants
- ‘knick knack’ things
- food delivery
- make up ‘procedures’ (for me, thats eyelash extensions, or fake nails)
- make up or skincare (unless replacing something I have run out of)
- Digital media
- ‘Junk’ Food- like chocolate and chips and things that come in single use plastic
I am hoping my experience teaches me what I actually need and what I don’t and helps me to drastically pare down what I consume so I can transition into a more sustainable lifestyle, figure out what I actually want to spend my money on and save some money in the process.
I’m moving to Zero Waste
As I already mentioned, I want to move aggressively move towards a zero waste lifestyle, so I will be doing monthly challenges to tackle one aspect of my life that I want to pare down, and document it on this blog so I can share my successes and failures. In January I am tracking all the single use plastic that I used and seeing if there is ways around using that product. I am so excited to try it and I’m hoping that by the end of the year I will be living a low waste lifestyle.
It’s a long road….
Now I know this seems like a lot of things to do in one year, and it also seems like its not a lot of change in the big picture, but the fires this year have really scared me, and while I can continue to advocate for large scale change, I need to change my own life as well. My monthly challenges will be a year long series on here, and if you find this interesting
So every month I will have:
- ‘no buy’ challenge
- ‘vegetarian’ challenge
- ‘zero waste’ challenge
If you want to help with the fires;
The fires have been catastrophic, and if you want to support the brave firefighters (who are volunteers so they don’t get pay or support!) and protect the animals who are in danger or homeless, there are some helpful links here.
- Rural local fire service (NSW)
- South Australia
- Help the families of the fire fighters who lost their lives
- Salvation Army
- Wires (the animals)
So hopefully by the end of the year I will be living a more low impact, sustainable lifestyle, and through campaigning for large scale change there will be a climate policy in place and a government that cares about the country and its people. I know it is small and imperfect, but I am trying to do what I can in my own life and work towards large scale change as well, and if you have the time and resources I hope you will too! I hope this is something that will interest you and I would love to hear how you’re becoming more sustainable in the comments below.