In a world of disappointing election results, it is easy to feel powerless, like a speck of dust floating amongst what seems like a sea of unconsciousness. But what we most often forget in moments of despair, is that all change begins with us; rooted in knowledge and watered by positive action.
The most monumental ripples this world has seen throughout history started with just that: seeds which took form and flowered into progress. Our politicians are our representatives, and in order to influence our own lives AND congress / parliament we must ourselves embody the world we wish to see by activating awareness in every facet our lives have to offer us, starting with simple sustainable switches which have more reach than we’d expect.
Conventional banks are among the biggest investors in the causes of climate change. Almost all of the big banks we’re familiar with (and likely do our banking with) have been accused of tax avoidance, financing the arms trade and investing in oil and nuclear industries, amongst other evils. Up until recently, apart from keeping your cash in a shoebox under the bed, there weren’t many alternatives available. But in the past years, ethical banks around the world have begun to appear, investing themselves and their client’s funds in the environment, animal rights, social programs, human rights, ethical consumerism, and social enterprise instead. By pulling your money out of the banks who line the pockets of their directors and our politicians, you’re taking back the very fuel which empowers them. For a list of Ethical Banks around the world you can read my full post on this subject HERE.
In the United States and elsewhere around the world, power from clean energy is already on offer. In general, all you need to do is sign up for it, with most power companies offering a premium for sourcing the power you use from renewables. By making this choice, you’re not only investing in clean energy sources, but also signaling to you state and federal politicians that you vote for a greener future. If you own your home, it may be worthwhile to contact MyDomino (mydomino.com) which acts as a green energy concierge by providing a personalized path towards 100% clean energy for your home. Read the full post(s) on My Domino HERE.
The idea behind country-wide carbon tax would be that it would financially aid the developments needed to break our addiction to fossil fuels, directing that money to renewable energy instead. It is unlikely that without public influence a country-wide carbon tax will come into effect under the rulings of the new president-elect; however, you can help influence policy by choosing to partake voluntarily. Individual, voluntary carbon tax with sites like CarboTax.org offers you an opportunity to help offset your carbon footprint. They've joined forces with Natural Capital Partners (naturalcapitalpartners.com), who source the highest level of certified carbon credits available, with additional revenues supporting an array of key ocean conservation projects through their partner Oceans 5 (http://oceans5.org/). Read my post on Carbon Tax HERE.
The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world … it’s also one of the cruelest. From the farmers in fields inhaling chemicals and tainting their own water supply to grow the fibres we'll eventually wear, to the people in factories working inhumane hours in unsafe working conditions for wages that are unfair. It’s an industry which exemplifies all sorts of wrongs, and the lack of consciousness seen in our garment productions also affects the society the clothing is destined for. One which celebrates and rewards unattainable beauty standards that drive young girls to understand they'll be valued for their looks alone. This creates a hole within them which they attempt to fill with 'stuff', perpetuating the pattern which causes Americans alone to send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills each year. By choosing to buy less, and making sure the purchases you do make come from companies which actively invest in protecting the planet, animals and its inhabitants, you’re voting with your dollar for positive change on all levels of this process. Read my article comparing fast and slow fashion on Fashion Revolution's Zine by pre-ordering it HERE.
We get coffee in cups which can’t be recycled and pay 2,900 times the price for water in plastic bottles which will never decompose. Then we use disposable cutlery, bags, straws, to-go containers, and more, which according to the UNEP costs the US economy over $75 billion due to the toxicity released into the marine environment from plastic pollution, and the air quality issues caused by incinerating plastic too. We pay no mind to the fact that even recycling causes pollution because it takes energy to recycle, making it far from neutral. The solution to the waste we create in our everyday life is choosing to replace all of our disposables with reusables and using them as regularly as possible throughout our lives. Watch my Vlog on Zero Waste reusables HERE.
Our bodies acquire nutrients in two ways: through our mouths and through our skin, so much so that 60% of the substances we put on our skin are eventually absorbed into our bloodstream. This is one of many reasons we need to be conscious about what we consume as most beauty products are not produced with your health or the planet in mind. Currently, beauty brands are allowed to use known toxins in their product ingredients which is why most conventional brands have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disrupters and so on. In the past two decades, the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 ingredients where the US has only banned 11. The best way to vet out what you’re using is by searching the brand or ingredients on the incredible website built through the research by the Environmental Working Group. It is best to create your own points system, buying products which are organic and natural, palm-oil free, cruelty-free, vegan, and stored in glass containers. Download the Environmental Working Group APP which allows you to scan your products and find out what's in them and how they affect you HERE.
The eco and ethical issues of palm-oil are vast and happening throughout the world. Though Indonesia isn't the only country burning down forests to make way for plantations, their rate of deforestation surpasses that of any other country. Thus far, they've cleared an area of rainforest as large as Germany. And as if the ecological issues and damage to wildlife isn't enough, oil-palm workers are clubbing orangutans to death in exchange for this product. Most large companies we get our beauty products from ignore this issue and most consumers aren't aware they're even supporting this level of mistreatment. It's estimated palm oil is found in half the manufactured goods in any supermarket or drug store, from chocolate to beauty products. You can look up the names Palm-Oil is often disguised as on this site (choosecrueltyfree.org.au/palm-oil-list/) and help influence reduction in production as well as aid in policy change by involving yourself in educating your friends and other members of the public. Learn more about Palm Oil free living on Selva Beat HERE.
NO / LESS MEAT
Global Warming is caused by CO2, yes, but also caused by methane, which is 70 times more damaging per ton to the earth’s atmosphere than CO2, and is formed in the burps and bottom ends of animals (mainly beef) used to produce meat and dairy on a factory level. The greenest and kindest way to eat is to avoid animal products altogether, but if you absolutely must have flesh between your teeth staying away from red meat altogether will help slightly reduce methane emissions as well. Watch the documentary Before The Flood to learn more.
The big election may have come and gone, but demanding change doesn’t end now. You must continue to stay informed, using the power of your voice and the reach of your influence to promote local and national policies which prioritize people and the planet. If you're in America, you can sign up to receive your daily acts of resistance to fight Trump's extremism with your iphone, HERE.
Photos: Shane Woodward
Photos: Shane Woodward