New year, new-found enthusiasm

21752121_10154788751335896_7685223243821725466_n.jpg

A confession: 

I fell off the bandwagon. For somebody writing a blog about green living I haven't really been very green recently. The month of December has been a series of debaucherous late-nights, hangovers, deadlines, blue cheese binges and minor meltdowns, suffused with mince pies and mulled wine - which yesterday culminated in the worst hangover of my life (hence this post is slightly delayed). What a way to herald the new year.

I was a bad environmentalist, I'll say it it's true. I forgot bags when I went to the supermarket – resulting in my trying to juggle about 30 items home, inevitably dropping them on the floor, smashing a brand new jar of jam and having to return to the shop, head hung in shame, to ask for a plastic bag, much to the amusement of the staff. In preparation for a dinner party I panicked and bought cheap meat, knowing how cataclysmic-ally awful the industry is and knowing I promised myself I wouldn't. As per usual, I got wrapped up in the excitement of all things festive and went willingly with my house mates to pick up a tree at B&Q even though I'd told myself I'd pay extra for a forestry commission approved one. During a wardrobe crisis, I bought a pair of wet look jeans from Warehouse, which certainly weren't made from bamboo. To many people, these actions might seem insignificant - a year ago I'd barely even have flinched about picking up a plastic bag – but they all contribute towards the environmental, ecological and ethical destruction of our earth and I should have been better. 

If I've learned one thing in starting this blog it's that it really does take a bucket load of effort to live a greener life, and it's difficult to break from the habits we've had ingrained in us since childhood. I've also come to understand that more often than not, the environmentally friendly variety of anything - from chicken to chocolate to Christmas trees – is significantly more expensive and often far more difficult to attain than the alternative - meaning many of us, myself included, opt for whatever's easiest – the cheap meat packaged in plastic, the biggest Christmas tree, a trip to the supermarket down the road instead of the farmer's market three miles away.

But just because something is difficult, doesn't mean it's not worth doing. And just because I failed once, doesn't mean I can't try again. And try again I will. What better time than January 2nd? Well, perhaps January 1st would have been more apt but *confession* - yesterday I ate two sausages even though I told myself I'd stop BECAUSE I AM AN ANIMAL/was too hungover to function. BUT today is a new day. I know that this year I won't be perfect, but I can strive to be better, and here's how I intend to start:

1. Buy plastic free (whenever I can)

I'll opt for the broccoli which comes without the unnecessary packaging, I'll buy cereal in paper bags and will try to eschew all items swathed in polymeric material. A practically impossible task in any British supermarket (which is why A Plastic Planet's campaign to create a plastic free aisle is SO prescient). But I absolutely will be a more conscientious consumer. I will learn from my mistakes and ALWAYS carry an extra bag with me because now I know they are the most wasteful, most unnecessary items in existence (aside from straws - WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE POINT OF A STRAW IS? THE DRINK IS ALREADY RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR FACE - WHY MUST ONE INGEST IT THROUGH A TINY TUNNEL. Okay, sorry just had to get that off my chest.) 

shopping-trolley-768x512.jpg

A Plastic Planet's campaign for a plastic free supermarket aisle is gaining steam 

As consumers we need to demand more choice about what our products are packaged in. 

2. Stop buying cheap meat

Full stop. It's not fair to the animal, it's not fair to the earth and it's not fair to ourselves. Don't hate me for the terminology guys, but I'm going fully flexitarian (lol spellcheck just tried to change this word to egalitarian) - which means absolutely no buying of crap meat on supermarket shelves, which has almost certainly been raised in some squalid factory farm owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group. There's a reason meat is so cheap and now that I know what that reason is, I'd be doing myself a disservice in continuing to buy it. Vegans might gasp in horror as I say this, but at the moment I don't believe eating organic meat that has been raised responsibly with dignity in places like Cottage Farm Organics (a pioneering carbon neutral farm) is the worst thing in the world.

26638345_10155791287476815_121217704_n.jpg

Industrial production methods are the only way demand for low cost meat can be met

But come at the cost of animal welfare and a healthy environment. 

3. Get on my bike

I made many, many regrettable decisions towards the end of last year – buying meat, bad recycling, consuming three negronis before the work Christmas party. But one thing I am so incredibly glad I did, despite a few minor incidents, was to buy a bike – and I fully intend to cycle just about everywhere (within the greater metropolitan area that is) this year and every year after. 

26553074_10155791286141815_853162764_n.jpg

Cycling's carbon footprint equates to less than a tenth of a car's

It's also the far cheaper option! 

4. Clean green

Whatever it is that's in dettol isn't good because I got some on my hand once when I was cleaning the shower and two days later all my skin started peeling off like a lizard. So now, I'm not going to spray anything in my house that I wouldn't feel comfortable putting on my skin. Baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar FTW. 

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 13.46.29.jpg

on the contrary to preventing any ailments, our obsession with being 99.9 per cent germ free is making us more unwell.

Read the about the dirty truth behind cleaning products 

5. Buy clothes that don't cost the earth

Waking up to the fact fashion is one of the most polluting, morally corrupt industries in the world is a depressing realisation for any millennial woman with a penchant for Topshop moto jeans. But actually, in amongst the swathes of polyester and slave-labour, there are some brands doing great things – and so I'll always opt for them when after a new garment. It's no longer enough for an item to be quality, I don't care how sparkly it is, or how well it fits - if it cost somebody their life I don't want it. Of course, walking past the Zara window it's easy to forget this moral stance – a pair of red palazzo pants are a siren's call to my drunken sailor – luring me in despite all efforts to protest. Still, this year I've decided I want to spend my hard earned cash on items which do good for the people who make them and for the world we live in, as well as ensuring I look foxy and bang on trend.

26551556_10155791285226815_724432590_n.jpg

our incessant demand for a new wardrobe every time the weather changes is more than the environment can take.

The global apparel industry produces over 150 billion garments in a single year

This all sounds a bit preachy doesn't it? I've made a New Year's resolution to remember to bring sodding bags to the supermarket and now I'm writing a blog post about it. May I remind you I'm the girl who ate two sausages THE DAY I was meant to start my resolution not to eat meat and that I am about as far from an eco-warrior as a person can get. But I'm trying. I'm trying to be a better person and, I hope that - unless something goes cataclysmically wrong and I end up having a mental breakdown, tearing all the sequinned jackets from their hangers in Miss Selfridge and buying them all in one bankrupting shopping spree, before sprinting to Mcdonalds for a big mac, large fries and a milkshake - that  these small gestures will combine to mean my carbon footprint does become lower, that my lifestyle decisions impact the world in a more positive way. These are tiny, minute attempts to begin to rectify the damage I, in my 24 years of being, have inflicted upon the world. They're small gestures, but if we all clubbed together the consequences could be colossal. Happy new year everyone. 

IMG_4839.jpg
Sarah Barratt