It’s almost here: the new decade! For couple of years I’ve been a bit stuck with life, I got a bit too comfortable despite knowing that I could do so much better in so many ways! But the approaching New Year has given me inspiration and willpower to start reaching for those big dreams. And one of those dreams is to live more sustainably.
Okay, I have always lived quite sustainably, more so than most people anyway, but there’s a lot I can still improve on. In 2019 I really started to learn about sustainability and focused on bringing more sustainable elements to my everyday life. Particularly in regards to fashion and personal style.
For many, living more sustainably may sound like a difficult and a complex issue to tackle. But in fact the changes that we should all be making in 2020 are quite small and very simple. I’d never suggest that everybody should become minimalists, or switch to 100% vegetarian diet, because I’m not prepared to do so myself.
Instead I want to continue on the road I began this year, and show you simple ways, which we can all incorporate to our everyday lives in order to live more sustainably. This became a bit of a long one, so get a cuppa, get comfortable, and let me know what else you’d add to the list!
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How I Plan To Live More Sustainably In 2020?
Saying ‘NO’ To Fast Fashion
Fashion industry is one of the biggest and worst polluters in the world, and it’s a complex issue that is very difficult to solve. But since my voting slip is my wallet, I’ll be sure to never take it to a fast fashion store again. That’s already a huge contribution to living more sustainably.
Ever since my shopping strike I’ve stayed away from fast fashion stores for good. I realized I’ve already got everything I might ever need, and if the need for something new might arise, there are more and more sustainable fashion brands popping up all the time.
When I only shop couple times a year the higher price of sustainable clothes is no issue at all! And since sustainable clothes are designed to look good regardless of current trends, and made from quality materials, I won’t be needing to shop excessively ever again.
But as every coin has two sides, also the increase in sustainable fashion brands has its cons: the greenwashing game is heating up, and a bit of research is required from consumers to know whether a brand is sustainable or not. Often the price of an item can already tell you a lot: if a T-shirt costs a fiver and a pair of jeans couple dozen bucks, it’s defo not sustainable.
Another issue, which I hope will be solved in the near future, is the aesthetic of many sustainable brands. Many of them prefer to make very simple, loose garments (every single brand I’ve seen has regular T-shirts and culottes covering their look-books), whereas I like my clothes to stand out from the crowd.
One thing I will be closely monitoring is how sustainable brands solve the problem of making sustainable jeans. A pair of regular jeans uses an insane amount of energy and water to produce, but that’s denim for you. So, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for sustainable jeans that fit.
Cooking and Eating Local
In addition to upping my fashion game, I’ve made another major change in my life this past year: I started cooking! And by doing so I have saved hundreds of euros that would’ve otherwise gone on nothing but pizza and pasta deliveries.
Nothing wrong with food deliveries, though, I do still have the cravings sometimes and order an odd pizza to brighten my day. But after years and years of eating nothing but extremely processed food, nothing beats a basic homemade bangers and mash (sausage and potato for those not that familiar with British food vocabulary).
This year has been all about getting comfortable in the kitchen and learning the basics about seasoning (chili and garlic, always chili and garlic!) but next year I want to up the ante.
Cooking meat is harder and also very expensive, so I’m going to keep on my 80% vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diet is becoming more and more popular as people find ways to live more sustainably, so there are super easy and tasty recipes to be found online. I’ve already got a couple I mean to try out after things settle down from Christmas and the New Year.
Another thing I want to focus more on is local, seasonal cooking: it brings nice change to the cooking routine and I’ll have to try new things all the time.
Here up North we have full four seasons, and we are spoiled when it comes to local ingredients. Especially Autumn is a dream season for a home cook: we can forage our own mushrooms and blueberries, pick our own apples, and get our fish fresh from the sea (yes, I can fish, and filet it as well!)
Supporting Environmental Charities
With politicians and huge corporations playing the blaming game and trying to avoid responsibility in regards to making ecological policies, it’s up to us to see what we can do to make the world better for the future generations.
To live more sustainably doesn’t necessarily mean looking at things that have a straight and immediate impact in your life. There are loads of things that need out support and can secure a cleaner future in the long haul.
One such thing is increasing the amount of trees growing on this planet. Since the industrialization humans have been dangerously effective at stripping the planet of all its greenery. One good example of this is England, where there are large areas with not a single tree in sight. There was a time when those areas were covered in forest areas.
As a Scandi I have always had a very close and immediate relationship with nature: we grew up surrounded by it, we did family trips to National Parks, foraged, fished, and swam in the cleanest waters on the planet.
Scandinavia still has an abundance of forests but elsewhere the situation is often critical. I’ve been thinking of participating in nature-related charities, and then I was approached by Greenvelope.
On their platform you can create your own invitation, greeting and thank you cards, and for every card sent until the end of the year they will plant a tree!
Honestly, this is one of those ‘once you pop, you can’t stop‘ experiences, I could’ve happily spent a whole day designing Christmas greeting cards with this! And why not, since it also helps the planet!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling has been a no-brainer in our family since I can remember. In Finland recycling has also been made so effortless everywhere that you don’t need to think about it for one second.
Every apartment building, house or business building, as well as restaurants and shopping centers have separate bins for glass, tin, paper, plastic, general waste and bio waste. This way everything gets handled appropriately, and everything that can be reused will be.
One innovation that is a granted in Finland, but an oddity everywhere else, is the bottle bank. Every single grocery store and supermarket has a bottle bank by the door, where we return all beer cans and wine bottles, so they can be reused, and get a bit of money back for our trouble.
That money can then be cashed out or used as a discount voucher for your groceries. Why Finland hasn’t lobbied this to other countries blows my mind. What lack of common sense and a waste!
Reduce is the thing I will be focusing on more in the coming year. I don’t create a lot of food waste, and since I don’t shop much anymore, there’s not much reducing to be done there either. But plastic, that’s something I will attempt and reduce dramatically! And one easy way to do that is to switch to eco-friendly bathroom products.
Jess Rigg has written a brilliant guide on eco-friendly bathroom products, I recommend you to check it ou: 10 Low-Waste Bathroom Swaps.
Easier said than done, since everything is wrapped, packed and surrounded by it. But I’m determined to add this to my lifestyle to live more sustainably, because plastic truly is the thing that destroys this planet.
Supporting Small Businesses
This point goes hand in hand with my promise to give a wide berth to fast fashion stores: many sustainable fashion brands are small businesses often run by women, and there’s enough reason to support those brands!
I’ve been very happy to follow how many such brands Finland boasts at the moment! Finns have recently discovered enormous innovations to live more sustainably: they created a dissolving, ecofriendly plastic and a way of producing fabric from wood. I mean, if that isn’t the way of the future, I dunno what is.
I’m also very proud of my Brand Ambassadorship with PIHKA collection, which is an accessory brand run by 3 women who design and manufacture all of their bags and jewellery in Finland. Other brands worth checking out are Voglia and HAVU cosmetics.
But fashion sure isn’t the only industry I will be focusing on more next year. Cooking-wise I want to increase the amount local produce, and at least couple times a month I’d like to venture to the market hall to buy everything as fresh as can be.
More on the food-front, I’ve already stayed away from chain restaurants for years. I prefer to eat at small, private restaurants that also focus on seasonal, local produce. Small, independent restaurants sure don’t serve you microwave food, so that’s already a big step-up from the chains.
Reducing Energy Consumption
I have couple very bad habits when it comes to saving energy at home. When I go to a morning run I tend to leave the TV and the lights on while I’m out. That’s completely unnecessary and frankly quite stupid. I gotta make the decision and follow through to not do this anymore.
I also tend to leave my phone charger plugged in when there’s nothing charging at the other end. Many people don’t know this but a plugged in charger uses electricity even if there’s nothing charging. So, this is definitely an easy step to take to live more sustainably.
One thing I will unfortunately not be able to give in on is heating my apartment. Firstly because I’ve got no control over the heaters in the building. It’s an old house and all heaters are turned on and off by the house manager, and they’re either full on or off cold.
It’s very expensive and, I suspect, also very unecological. But there’s nothing I can do about that, and even if the heaters are on, my apartment is so big that they do not warm it enough. So, I bought an extra radiator that I keep on my bedroom windowsill.
I keep it on only during the nights, because it warms up the freezing air
seeping blowing through my uninsulated windows. This way I’ve been able to wake up every morning without a throat ache and fever.
I’ve seen many sustainability reports that state that having 18 degrees Celsius inside is a completely okay temperature to live in. BOLLOCKS! I’d have to wear a hat, gloves and 2 pairs of trousers to survive in such a temperature inside. And I don’t dress in outerwear when I’m inside!
A cold house means a sick human being, and I put my health in front of any sustainability goals, I gotta admit. So, heating-wise I can’t do much in regards to living more sustainably.
Educating And Discussing Environmental Issues
Most of my friends don’t live particularly sustainably or care about the impact their daily actions have on the planet and its future. But that doesn’t mean they would be against changing their habits to more sustainable alternatives.
That’s where we who are interested in researching and trying out sustainable products, services and living models come in: we have the capability of educating our friends and family on these issues.
But we have to be careful not to preach the issues, because that’s a sure way to make people’s interest wane. Instead, we should educate through discussion, asking the right questions and direct our loved ones towards realizing the benefits of living more sustainably.
I’m going to keep using all of my platforms to keep the discussion going and educating the people that follow me on everything I learn. Because I sure ain’t ready. There’s so much to learn and so many new innovations and businesses being born around the sustainability movement every week that we gotta stay curious and keep our eyes peeled.
I’m excited for 2020. It seems that 2019 has been a year of reflection for me, a lot has happened that’s prompted me towards making some big life decisions, and living more sustainably has been part of it all.
Are you making any big changes in the new year? I’d love to hear eeverything ♥
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