As some long-time followers will know, I’ve been on a bit of a journey over the last few years. I started out on Bookstagram, which encouraged me (long story) to quit my dissatisfying admin job. This was followed by a massively creative phase during which my photos were published on the main Instagram page. From here, I began to build a digital marketing career that aligned more closely with my lifestyle, interests and values. Happily, this has been a great success and my contract with the fantastic arts festival that I’ve been working with since April has just been extended for another year.
But despite all this positive news, something else started to seed too.
As soon as I stood back from this account, I saw a bigger picture. I looked at the world and where it was going. Everything hit me at once. This wasn’t a breakdown, it was more of a vast realisation – about society, about the stories we accept so readily, about our role as human beings. Suddenly my priorities changed.
I can trace this dawning back to two books – Underland by Robert Macfarlane and Our Place by Mark Cocker. These terrifying and brilliant pieces of writing drew back the veil. Greta Thunberg, George Monbiot and the fires in the Amazon Rainforest fires burned my filters down completely. If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m talking about climate crisis.
We’ve spent the last few months reducing our carbon footprint and switching to ethical choices. My go-to guide for this has been Ethical Consumer which rates companies against ethical criteria. Many of the rankings are free, although you can subscribe to see detailed information. We still have a long way to go, but here’s what we’ve changed so far:
Banks are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to investing in fossil fuels, arms and harmful agribusinesses. We’ve switched to ethical alternatives.
Food & Household Goods
As items run out, we are sourcing new products based on the Ethical Consumer food and drink guide. It’s been tricky to change our diet completely as Al can’t eat lots of things (he’s on the low FODMAP diet), but Al & I are now 75% vegan.
Energy & Web
We’re switching to a 100% renewable provider when our contract expires next year. For web searches, we’ve installed Ecosia, which plants a tree for every 45 searches made.
I’ve bought 5 items of brand new clothing in the last 2 years and mostly wear second-hand stuff. Again, if I need something new, I’ll source from clothing companies with robust environmental & human rights records.
We were already recycling virtually all of our packaging, but have cut this further by shopping at a local zero waste store. We’ve also bought 2 extra composters for the garden.
I don’t have a car and walk everywhere. We haven’t flown at all this year and have signed the Flight Free pledge for 2020. We’ll be replacing our one car with an electric model within 6 months.
Gardens & Outdoor Spaces
Our organic garden ran wild this year attracting lots of species including butterflies, bees, grasshoppers and hedgehogs. We also planted 3 new trees and wildflower patch as well as creating a makeshift pond, which we’ll improve on over the next few months. My job has allowed us to donate to the Woodland Trust, the Rainforest Trust and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
Now that we’re on this path, I’m committed to holding the line so I’m not entirely sure what that means for this account. Books are still very much an integral part of our life so I sincerely hope we can continue and I miss you all very much. It’s now a question of being able to juggle the mission to change our lifestyle with work and family time.
In the meantime, we send you love, peace and hope. See you at the climate strike!
Mel, Al & Little M