5 Things You Can Do Now to Live a More Ethical & Sustainable Lifestyle
Updated: May 14
Currently we're in the midst of a global pandemic, where a super virus has spread around the world, changing life as we know it for the time being. There's been many mixed feelings but I’m choosing to see it as a time for the world to regenerate and a time for people to hopefully change their attitude towards the way we consume.
It’s a more important time now than ever, for people to stop and think about how we might be contributing to the harm of this planet and it’s animals, to think about how we can do better and what we can do to make a difference even if only small. We are all capable of moving to a more conscious way of living and slow down a bit. Have a think about where things come from, who made it, what it is made from. No one wants to support pollution, global warming or abuse of others. We vote with our dollar. We have the power - the every day person - to make a difference.
My own path towards living a more ethical life started coming about in my mid-late twenties. I can’t recall exactly what it was that flicked that switch to start questioning what I was mindlessly buying on a regular basis. I just started to research and find products that I felt good purchasing!
It can take time to find brands that work for you in terms of function, style and cost, but once you start you won’t look back. It feels great to be doing good simply by buying a more ethical, sustainable or eco-friendly item from a company who’s mission is to help make a difference.
So from what I’ve learnt over the last few years, is to start making changes in small steps, one thing at a time so it's not overwhelming. Here are 5 things you can do easily and right now, to start living a more ethical (and awesome) lifestyle;
Choose ethically made clothing brands. They’ve come a long way since the ‘hemp’ t-shirt days! Do your research and find some brands that suit your style. There are also great e-commerce sites that sell a big selection of ethical brands like The Good Trade and Well Made Clothes which can make it easier to get started.
Also thrift shopping is life! You can find some amazing vintage pieces and high end fashion labels as well as high street brands that have hardly, if ever, been worn. Its a triple whammy too - cheap, gives back to the community through charities (Good Sammy’s, Salvation Army) and better for the environment! I've scored so many amazing things and saved a tonne of money. And it’s fun, like a treasure hunt. I recently found a high end label top in brand new condition for $5, the same top is selling on Ebay as pre-loved for around $200. Boom.
Try and avoid Kmart ‘fast fashion’ homewares that are cheap and more likely to break down in no time at all. Let's be honest. They get thrown out rather than being repaired because it was bought as a ‘cheapie’ anyway and holds no real value. It then ends up in landfill which is no good for the environment! Instead try and choose pieces that are made from bio-degradable fabrics like organic cotton or linen. They will also last way longer, giving you your moneys worth. And because they are a more special item you're bound to look after them better.
Check out our cushions in our online store. They're created from hand made indigo dyed batik fabric sourced directly from the beautiful artisans themselves in Sapa, Northern Vietnam. The backing fabric is organic hemp and cotton. Stunning ethically made, eco friendly cushions, with a special story - we know how made the fabric and it's also helping to sustain a century old handicraft which is dying because of cheaper, mass produced 'fast fashion' home wares that have flooded the homewares market.
Look for hand made artisanal pieces on e-commerce stores like Etsy. There's also a huge selection of bespoke collars, leads, beds - you name it. You can ever scour the weekend farmers markets in your area where there are often cool little boutique pet accessory stalls selling hand made goods.
Always look for natural and/or recycled materials like recycled plastic bottle inners for plush dog beds rather than polyester filling and for collars look for metal buckles rather than plastic.
Why would you want to buy a factory made mass produced thing for your beloved pet when you can have something special AND eco friendly? You'll also be supporting small businesses!
Makeup & skincare
I had a small foray selling Arbonne which is a plant based, cruelty free brand - I still love the products to this day. I’ve always loved make up and had been interested in learning more about natural & organic products and this is when I learnt just how toxic and dangerous this industry is. You really need to become a label reader and know what is in the products you are putting on your skin! Also a big one for me is to only support brands who are cruelty free and/or vegan.
So firstly, avoid anything that has petroleum (a by product of the petrol industry), phthalates, parabens (cancer causing) and parfum (sometimes listed as fragrance). These are all highly toxic ingredients - do your own research on these to see what I mean - it'll blow yo mind.
So, some amazing safe brands and products I now swear by are;
Innika - beautiful foundations
The Body Shop - stunning fragrances and liquid foundation
Eye of Horus - amazing brow pencils and mascara
Karen Murrell - stunning pigmented lipsticks
Black Chicken - Axilla Deodorant Paste
Arbonne - mascara that moisturises your lashes, beautiful bronzer and eye shadows
Moo Goo - the.best.moisturiser.ever.
A really great blog to follow is The Depths of Beauty by Emmily Banks, who is Australian organic makeup artist and has a lot of great recommendations and tips on how to go more natural.
I’ve had well respected doctors tell me it’s completely fine to change to a vegetarian diet as long as you know the right foods to eat for your body. It’s probably a really good idea to go and see a dietician or nutritionist to get the right advice if you’re thinking about making the change.
However, if you're not keen on going vegetarian or completely plant based, try and cut back on the amount of meat & dairy you consume. Become a #Reducetarian! (It's a thing, the term is now listed in the dictionary) Most of us eat too much red meat. A couple of serves a week is sufficient if you are eating a balanced diet. Still include other meats like fish and chicken but again you don't need to over do it.
Cut back on dairy as well if you can, see if you can substitute milk in some of your coffees for a plant based alternative. I'm loving chocolate flavoured almond milk or rice milk at the moment.
Lastly, try and add way more fruit and veg into your life. If everyone just started reducing the amount of meat they eat and dairy they consume, the positive changes to the environment and to animal welfare would be huge! Not to mention your health. I’m no expert but everyone is capable of doing their own research on this subject.
What positive changes are you making? I would love to know. Leave a comment!