Has anyone looked to see how long humans have got left recently? It’s not long. Less than a decade, I think. Fuck.
There’s no point panicking. There’s no point sticking your head in the sand. And there’s really no point in cutting out plastic straws. Unless you get a new straw for every sip you take, it just won’t make a difference.
Don’t despair. There are things that can be done to actually help the environment. Are they easy? No. But, you know, neither is burning in a wildfire, drowning in a flood, or starving.
I apologise for being overdramatic, but whilst everyone’s having a good panic about climate change, not enough people are actually doing anything.
You can argue all you like that we need change at a governmental level, and that’s fair enough. But also, it ain’t happening. So let’s start now.
Pick one, pick five. If we all just…do our best, it’ll make a massive difference.
1. Cut out animal products
Rainforests are a MASSIVE carbon sink, and we’re just chopping them down to grow soy to feed to animals.
Think about it — if we just grew crops on the land we graze animals on and rewild any grazing land not fit for crops, we can create more carbon sinks. Yay.
Even if you don’t hold with any of the ethical or health claims associated with veganism, the environment needs us to break up with animal agriculture.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that plastic straws aren’t the issue with the plastic in the ocean — it’s the fishing nets, and it’s not vegans requiring all that soy — it’s livestock.
I wrote a whole post on the environmental benefits of going vegan on my vegan blog.
I don’t say this is as a hippy vegan — I loved cheese as much as the next person — I say this first as an animal lover, and second as a lover of living on a planet that can support human life.
2. Don’t fly
I understand that flying is a necessary part of modern life, but it’s also killing the planet. The environmental impact of one year of veganism is negated by one flight from the UK to Spain.
If you must fly, fly. But if you’re just fancying a quick city break, or a week away somewhere, consider staying closer to home or going by train.
3. Don’t have children (or pets)
This is easy for me to say because I don’t have children, or plan to have them.
I firmly believe that the only people that should have kids are those that want them.
I mean, if you already have kids, you can keep them. But don’t just keep churning ’em out for the hell of it — population growth puts huge amounts of pressure on the planet which will only set to increase when rising sea levels leave us with less land to live on.
Would you consider adopting? Having two kids instead of three? Every little helps.
Dogs and cats aren’t much better.
They eat meat, which is bad for the environment. You can feed your dog a vegan diet, but few people do.
If you’re hell bent on getting a dog (I’ll probably get one at some point tbf) get one from a shelter. There are thousands of dogs that need homes.
If you want to adopt an eco-friendly pet, try a rabbit. We’ve had house rabbits for years, and they’re great for the environment — you can feed them ‘treats’ in the form of leftover carrot tops, compost their bedding and use their poo to make plant fertiliser. In the summer, they make great small-scale lawnmowers.
4. Buy less stuff
Is there anything else I need to say?
We’re very good at patting ourselves on the back for washing out our plastic Flora tubs before putting them in the recycling, but is that enough?
It would be better if we bought margarine wrapped in paper. OR reusing those Flora tubs. When I think of the amount of Tupperware I’ve bought over the years, coupled with the amount of Flora I’ve bought, I’m appalled.
What’s actually most appalling is that my parents have ALWAYS reused their plastic tubs, but I associated that with being poor, so refused to do it until a few years ago.
Buying less stuff is beneficial to other areas of your life — obviously it great for your finances, but also your state of mind. If you less stuff, you have less to clutter up your house and make it messy, and therefore you panic less when your parents drop by unannounced.
5. Rewild your garden
The demise of front gardens has been a contributing factor to the increased levels of flooding in the UK. People concrete them over so they can park their car off the street.
You don’t have to dig up your drive though — there are plenty of measures you can take in your back garden to offset the concrete and create a habitat for wildlife.
If flooding is an issue in your area, plant fruit trees. They suck up an astounding amount of water. You can also use a portion of your lawn to rewild — there are loads of wildflower seed mixes you can buy. This encourages pollinators, which in turn will attract, birds, hedgehogs, and other beasties.
Here’s a post for anyone interested in making their garden more environmentally friendly. There are even some ideas for people who don’t have a garden or balcony.
Ok, we can all do ONE of the things of the list yes? Even if you just get an Air BnB in Wales, rather than an all-inclusive week in Tenerife, or switch to putting oat milk in your coffee.
I don’t expect you to give up your dream of having kids, or a dog, or an annual holiday.
I just want to make it clear that these things are luxuries NOT necessities, and they can have a negative impact on the environment. However, they’re such normal parts of everyday life that we don’t realise the effect they’re having.
Yes, it’s hard. But not nearly as hard as the future we’re building for ourselves if we continue down the path we’re on.