How I'm Trying to Save the World
As a whole, human beings have completely destroyed the planet we call home. We've caused so many irreversible problems, created the extinction of so many animals and cut down more trees than we can ever replace. It's quite heartbreaking to hear about, but as scary as it is, it's all true, and it's something we all need to face up to. We were provided with a rather shocking statistic towards the end of 2018, suddenly being faced with the fact that scientists had decided our planet would be practically unlivable in about 20 years time... unless we made some harsh changes, and made them quickly.
The obvious factor that was pointed out was our planets love for meat. The production of meat uses a huge amount of resources and causes so much damage to the atmosphere. Going vegan is an amazing way to help the planet, or even being vegetarian. And it's not just about the meat consumption, but about the use of other animal products too, like dairy, leather and fur. Of course, other factors come into it - leaving lights and other electrical devices on when not in use, not recycling or recycling incorrectly, fumes from cars, fast fashion and many other things.
All of a sudden, people were trying to defend their decision to do any of the 'negative' things that are damaging the planet, like eating meat. Feeling attacked often does that to people, it causes them to become defensive, and also defiant. They want to eat meat because they can - and telling them they can't or shouldn't only seems to make people want to do it more!
I tried to be vegan before. It lasted about three days before I gave in, having spent a huge chunk of my very small salary at the time on foods I found disgusting, milk variations that made me gag and feeling generally miserable every time I ate. I think it's safe to say that I will probably never be a vegan. (I don't need anyone to give me facts or figures to try and change my mind right now - I know them all already!)
However, come 27th December, I had a bit of a change of heart about meat. Jonny and I had bought the family turkey for Christmas, and it was delicious. Delicious, but huge. My mum gave it back to us so we could strip the excess meat off of it for dinners and what not. This was something I had never done before but I didn't think it would be a problem. Jonny went out to work, I got the turkey on the kitchen counter and began to strip it. I snapped bones, tore at the meaty flesh of what was once a living creature and, after about 10 minutes or so, gagging and retching, decided that enough was enough.
Our new cat, Pumpkin, was purring around my feet, desperate for some scraps of meat as a delicious treat, and I thought "I wouldn't dream of doing this to my cat, or any cat. I wouldn't do this to a dog. Why is a bird or a cow any different?" I decided there and then that I wanted to drastically reduce my meat consumption, maybe even try going fully vegetarian. Since then, I've eaten meat on only a handful of occasions, have even turned meat down and had two completely vegetarian days. It's actually a lot easier than expected so far!
I saw a great tweet from one of my favourite bloggers, Grace Victory, that said: "Won't ever restrict or specifically say I eat a certain way... but meat just isn't my vibe a lot of the time anymore, plus... the planet is dying" and I couldn't relate more. I won't ever purposely restrict myself or label myself (you know people would jump on you if you ever made a slip up) but I will eat instinctively, and if that is eating a mostly vegetarian diet... well. It is what it is.
It's not just food I'm changing though. I'm more on it with recycling, more so than before. I used to just chuck away paper, plastic and glass. Now, I do it properly - peeling off any films or labels that aren't also recyclable, taking off bottle tops and disposing of them correctly, washing jars and pots out properly, making sure I don't take a 10p carrier bag if I can help it and making sure that I even recycle at work, not just at home.
I'm buying less clothes. When I discovered the shocking statistics about 'fast fashion' I was blown away. I couldn't believe that something as simple as buying a new outfit was so harmful to the world we live in - and yet I couldn't believe I hadn't thought about it sooner. I can't remember the last time I bought some clothes and actually, when I wanted a new outfit the other day, I raided some bags of clothes I've had sacked up for the charity shop for a few months now and decided to save some and reinvent those instead! I don't plan on buying any new clothes until my first summer holiday now, as I will probably need at least one item of beach wear - but I definitely won't be going overboard like I usually do.
I've become more charitable, too. In December alone I donated to The Pace Centre, the RSPCA, the Mix 96 Toy Appeal, Crisis, Blue Cross and my towns local Rotary Club. This month, I'm fundraising for Mind Charity. I rarely used to donate to charity, only chucking loose change in a bucket if I had it - but now I'm in a fortunate position where I can afford to donate and so I'm making a conscious effort to, particularly to charities that help the homeless, help children and help animals. Saving the world can be as simple as starting at home, and if helping the people in the town around you is something I'm able to do, well. I'm going to do it!
I might sound sickening to some people. I might sound like I'm bragging to others. I don't mean it to be that way at all. I've had a huge, Scrooge-style change of heart with my life and what I want to do with my time. I want to contribute to making the world a better place, prolonging the life of the planet and helping other people as much as I can. I'm sharing all that I'm doing with you guys so that you might feel inspired to make some changes too - perhaps even making changes you hadn't considered possible before.
It can feel so daunting and so pressuring when we're told "YOU HAVE TO BE VEGAN TO SAVE THE PLANET" or "STOP USING STRAWS OR THE OCEANS WILL DIE" and so on. No one is motivated by hearing such damning and constricting statements. Instead, let's remind ourselves - and each other - of the small changes we can make. Because whilst it might seem like a small change to you, if hundreds or even thousands of people are all making such a small change, it will make a big one in the long run.
There is only one Planet Earth. No one else is going to look after it - that is our job. It's our home and we have to protect it. As humans, we have already done so much damage. It's time we all started doing our bit - however small that bit may be - to turn it around.
Let me know if you've made any lifestyle changes to help save the planet and how easy or difficult it was for you!!