Who am I?
Good question. I am not sure I have a good answer to that yet, and probably I will never have.
But I have some clues. And I will try and put some keywords to it to open the door to pick into my brain.
But , since I am a lot of different things (isn’t everyone?) , I decided not to restrict myself to just one blog post. This is the first, and will address the first aspect of my life and what made me into it
Nature lover . Explorer . Adventurer.
These three definitely are so intertwined that it is nearly impossible to disentangle them.
I owe it to my parents, both. In their own very different ways they taught me how to care for nature. It helped that my father lives in the beautiful countryside, and organic agriculture is something that has been engraved in my brain since I can remember. My mother always took me to the mountains and she taught me the respect for them, for nature surrounding them, to appreciate their beauty. Yes. And we travelled to the mountains more often than not in less than comfortable trips, with stressful connections, trains and buses, always with public transport. So I learnt the joys and pains of slow travels, connecting you to your destination more than just simply jumping on a car and hopping off in front of a hotel. Okay, I have been taking a lot of planes (thanks again to my father being a flight commander before retiring to the countryside) and travelled to many places in tow of my adventurer mother who even took me to Australia when I was only 5. And yes , I might not remember much of the trip, but I do remember enough - perhaps that’s where I became a marine biologist, dragging my mother to see all of the aquariums (and I still remember them!).
Although my love for the sea also come from going sailing every single summer (until I became an adult and have been less able to take such long summer holidays....) with my dad. Snorkelling, keeping a diary of all of the fish I encountered and swimming in Crystal clear waters.. and loving being powered only by the winds. This plus his stories of diving in African waters were the mould for what I became.
If I am an adventurer and traveller and sporty person who loves the great outdoors and knows (or tries) to adapt in any situation I am also having to be thankful to my scout companions who instilled in me the love for simplicity. A campfire and a guitar - all you need to make me happy. Add a starry sky on top and I will be in heaven. And I learnt to adapt. Cold nights sleeping in tents, sometimes sleeping just under the sky. I learnt to go a week without showering and then jumping into a public fountain in the middle of nowhere and learning to appreciate the small little things in life.
I also owe a lot to my adventure companions during my university years in England - surf trips, mountainboarding, camping, skating everywhere. Learning that what makes you is not your appearance but your behaviour.
So yes, all in all if I am who I am is certainly merit of many characters that have entered my life. Now, I have incorporated it all into my unique self and this is just an aspect of my complex persona. One that hopes to inspire others to take a look outside their front door and see a world of possibilities, and join my cause to protect it.
A ‘Zero waste’ lifestyle should go hand in hand with a ‘sharing is caring’ mentality, right?
And what can get more sharing than being part of such a big online community? It is impressive how the community is enlarging, even thanks to the instagrams facebooks and twitters of today’s modern society...
So it comes automatic that when you are new to the zero waste lifestyle joining a Facebook group seems like the ideal way to start. In these groups you assume you can easily ask a question to kickstart changes which will lead you to waste reduction, or at least decrease your plastic waste.
Unfortunately, ‘sharing’ it’s not always ‘caring’ in the online community.
What happens in the comment section, and what I want to focus on here, is indeed not only a ‘zero-waste’ isolated phenomenon, rather a social media effect. But sadly, this happens in our world too.
So - here we go. You are ready to try this new zero waste trend, found a group, you agreed to the rules, been approved by an admin and became part of such group. You gather courage and ask your first question.
And the comments start floating in, notification after notification...
But what happens in the comment section is a showing off of who does it better than the other, maybe a snarky comment at your post (maybe in the question you posted a picture of their current trash, maybe you were even proud to have reduced something already) followed by many snarky comments at other commenters saying how they should do it instead. Which usually leads to comments battle..
And so it made me wonder...
If you are an environmentalist surely you want a better planet, and that’s why you are going through all the efforts of bringing your own mug around, bags at the groceries. Sometimes you even risk seeming mad when asking for something not wrapped, or presenting yourself at the counter with your own container etc.. why else do we do it? Certainly not to feel better than others . I must admit, it does feel good at times to refuse that extra packaging, or choosing to buy something in paper carton rather than plastic. But I feel good for myself, not better than the other person at the check out buying so many plastic wrapped item. Okay, it’s true, there are times when I would like to say something, but just to inform and help , not to judge. The way I see it, a better planet is also including better human relationships and living more in harmony. So if you are not nice to others, there is no point in being zero waste... or less of one!
And I am sure, many of you will feel the same. Yet, while in real life helpfulness and being nice will come automatically on social media the switch to snarky will turn on. So next time you post or comment, think: will I say this to these people face to face ? Answer yes : go ahead and post. No? Delete, nothing to add to this thread. Keep scrolling.
On the other hand, if you are the new person: welcome, and well done on taking your first step. Please ignore the negativity, try filter through to the many useful answers.
Of course, I think it would be much better to also have real groups, with interactions happening face to face, and advice, demo. How about a zero-waste get together clean up with your friends? Learning from one another? Or a neighbourhood clothes swap. Or idea swap. Zero waste pic nic, zero waste concerts, plastic attacks at the supermarket, or just go together and see how many alternatives you can find. Make it fun, make it a game, and never ever judge...
The rule of the three Rs ( reducing, reusing, recycling...)., weare all very familiar with it, is preached as one of the main rule for an environmentally friendly lifestyle. But are all the Rs the same? On the half way point on my #julyplasticfree challenge I want to bring a reflection on all three and their role on my journey.
Reducing has definitely been the biggest - generally I tend to follow a minimalistic lifestyle where I already don’t buy anything that I don’t need. But how can we reduce on our daily needs?
Well. Firstly , for me, avoiding completely buying fruit and veg (a large component of my diet) from the supermarket helped. This meant local market, farms, the organic food store and a foreign foods shop were my primary sources of food. Yes, this meant more thinking than coming home in the evening from work and go to the supermarket near the house to pick up dinner.
I already tend not to buy any bottled drink, but when I found myself in a moment of need and with no alternatives, I picked up a bottle with a deposit and then returned it.
This could be fun. I always need pots and containers around the house, so if I had to buy something in plastic I would think on whether I could reuse the container and maybe choose the size or brand based on reusability (I.e does it have a llid?) . Also Pinterest has plenty of diy plastic home recycling, from making your own jewellery etc..find some initial inspiration here
Again if I had to get something wrapped I would consider the recyclability of the containers. Can it be recycled ? And of course I made sure to recycle it all properly, by rinsing in advance too. So there would be no excuses for the recycling factory to refuse it! I don’t know how much gets actually recycled and how much ends up in the landfill anyway, so you want to use it as last resort and make sure to do it correctly!
The three r are a step process in my mind to make decisions about what to buy.
Question 1 is always: do I need it?
If the answer to above is yes then
Question 2: any available which are unpackaged /less wrapped? If yes try to buy that, even if it comes with a slightly higher price and if there is not
Q3: how can I reuse this container?
And the last resort
Q4: is the container recyclable?
For example, I go through a lot of yogurt, but I need it. While I would really like to start making my own (I think I will learn) i do not at the moment. But I buy the cartons made from paper and recycle it. And if I can’t then I get the big plastic tubs and reuse it for storage and freezing.
So all in all. The 3 rs are there and the order they come in reflects their importance... and if you can only do one then try and prioritise reducing...
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