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
A great post, thanks for the links. We’re trying but it’s hard making significant changes, but sounds like you are all doing really well.
You stars! Ethical Consumer has made such a difference for us so I wanted to share it here too. It is really tough to audit & replace everything with better choices but I reckon if we do it bit by bit we will get there together x
Wonderful to hear from you Mel and I really admire you for what you are doing. We are making small steps (my husband and I are eating more vegan food, we are reducing our plastic waste and being more careful with our car usage). I miss you on Instagram but I’m glad to hear you are well and still enjoying the books x
Aw this is so heartening to read – thanks so much for even trying to change! I really want to come back but I’m trying to work out where best to direct everything I’ve learned over the last few years. Looking forward to catching up with you x
What a great post. Firstly, lovely to hear your positive news on the job front and glad you are still able to do what you love and be creative. Secondly, well done on all those changes, we are slowly trying to do more and more, but we all have to do our bit. I do miss your posts, but it is good to hear from you, lovely xx
Hey Mel, good to catch up on your news. We’re going through much the same process ourselves so but are closer to the beginning of our journey. Thanks so much for sharing your resources. Xx