I mentioned in our March wrap up, I’ve been interested in learning how to live more responsibly and taking my “shopping vote” more seriously (though I suppose I’ve always boycotted companies whose policies I disagreed with…). And, like I said, I moved pretty naturally from looking into minimalism (for my own convenience) to slow fashion (considering the societal and environmental consequences of my—primarily clothing-related—shopping choices) to zero waste (an (arguably) extreme extension of the environmentalism).
I’m always a little wary when talking about this kind of thing, not just because it feels very personal to me, but because (1)I feel like it’s easy to give the impression of being hokey when actually I’m a notorious researcher; I read scientific articles and papers about these things to figure out what is based in science and what is based in garbage (read: uninformed opinion). (2)I am also wary talking about all of this stuff because I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to tell them how to live or anything of the sort. I was really hesitant about making this post at all, but this is a lot of what I’ve been looking into recently so I thought I might share to invite conversation, not to be judgemental or preachy.
I’m still largely at the research gathering point in all this and I’m not sure where any of this research gathering is going exactly, but I thought I’d talk about some of the books I’ve been looking at buying (post-payday). Maybe you can get something out of it. Hopefully it will at least be interesting. I’ve split the post into some key areas I am interested in tackling in my own life: slow fashion, plastic reduction and food. At the very least, new fashion brands, simpler living ideas and some new recipes await in this book list.
Sara Minney is the founder and CEO of People Tree, an ethical clothing company. She has a lot of good ideas about how an ethical, sustainable, slow fashion clothing company should work and seems to put emphasis on community.
“[She] argues that the future of brick and mortar retail is in the best in fair trade, sustainability, and organic products, together with vintage and second hand goods and local produce. Restorative economics, the well-being of our planet, and our bodies and minds can be inspired by this growing sector, one that is shaping big business. This book curates pioneering people and projects that will inspire you to be part of the change.”
Verena Erin’s YoutTube channel is a wealth of information about slow fashion (and slow living in general to a lesser extent) if you want to look into it there before checking out the book.
I don’t really like how this cover describes it, but I suppose for marketing purposes it is more effective to appeal to consumers’ more “selfish” (for lack of a better word!) motivations. I think trying to produce less waste (in particular plastic waste) is actually a necessity and our waste production is an environmental hazard that is already causing many problems and is only going to get worse if left unchecked.
I can’t imagine being as extreme as Béa Johnson, but there is definitely a lot that each person can do to cut down significantly without putting themselves out very much at all. It all pretty much comes down to avoiding plastic wherever possible. For example, rejecting plastic shopping bags and carrying your own cotton or canvas tote bags makes a big difference. Or buying loose vegetables instead of veggies wrapped in plastic. Package-free soap instead of shower gel in a plastic bottle. Another big difference that can be made with little action is to buy a glass or stainless steel water bottle instead of buying water/drinks in plastic bottles all the time. Bottled Life (on Netflix) was a good watch.
In the documentary Cowspiracy (on Netflix), it really stood out to me that we rear 70 billion animals for meat and dairy and other animal products, and cows alone contribute to more than half of the world’s carbon dioxide per year! Seems like our collective meat habit is pretty destructive. I already don’t eat red meat but I can’t quite imagine being vegan…(I like dairy and fish a lot!) That said, I think I could still cut down on non-vegan aspects of my diet and I’m willing to look into adding more vegan recipes.
It seems like some vegetarians and vegans sometimes have a way of acting like everyone else is a terrible person, but that’s not only ridiculous, it’s also unfair. Obviously nobody wants to assure our mutual destruction, but there need to be viable options in place and manageable ways to change longstanding habits. I’ve heard people sniff at the idea of “part-time” vegetarianism or veganism, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all. On the whole, if everyone did that, a difference would still be made. (After all, two people halving their meat consumption is like gaining one whole vegetarian, right!?) I’ve heard the term “Meatless Monday” (contemptuously) thrown around enough times now to assume it’s a quote from some book or something and, although when I personally think of “part-time vegetarian/vegan” I’m thinking more like half a week rather than one day a week, I think any small change is still change and shouldn’t be jeered at.
The short of it: I’m looking into more environment-friendly recipes.