My journey towards minimalism and eradicating plastic turned into something much bigger after watching the Netflix documentary ‘A True Cost’.
I know I have a small amount of knowledge on all these global issues which affect both people and animals but this was an eye opener.
Learning how leather affects people in India was the first. Leather is treated with chemicals, the liquids dumped in the rivers of India and those who live locally seeing an increase in certain illnesses.
Another was buying certain seeds for crops and the use of fertilisers. In that village in India, kids were born with disabilities.
There is a point where you can’t just say it’s a coincidence. If the people are saying they are seeing an increase in conditions after the introduction of something else, I believe them but nowadays we turn a blind eye to this new found knowledge.
After watching the documentary I really did feel down, depressed I’d say. We went to the local supermarket and it was the first time in ages where we had spent around £10, and not the usual £20, £30 or £40. Looking around, all I could see was plastic, plastic and more plastic. Some things that don’t typically look like plastic but are. Don’t forget crisp packets!
Of course my zeal to learn more and how to find alternatives increased and I joined online groups but many of us were scratching our heads. Clueless. It is really overwhelming.
I noticed a few more documentaries mentioned but I felt so down, I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything else.
Fast forwards a few weeks and I watched the last episode of Blue Planet 2 on BBC. It covers many different areas of how our human habits affect the animals. From plastic in the ocean, to fossil fuels and even boats in the sea! And I felt depressed all over again.
However this depression needs to be turned into something more positive. It is so easy to just give up and go back to old habits but as humans we should act and be responsible, respectable and look after this planet.
What do we start with?
I’ve written about this before, but the first thing I did was have a no plastic rule. That doesn’t mean we have no plastic at all, but having a strong rule encourages us as a family to try everything we can to emit it from our household. And if there’s something we use and don’t know how to replace, then it is always on our minds, joining in conversations on finding alternatives and so on.
In our home we had both plastic and glass storage tubs. Although the glass ones have silicone lids (still plastic!). As throwing away plastic tubs and bottles is also wasteful, I passed them on to someone else who could use them or may not have much money and could use them. This was also part of our minimalism journey so made sense to us. We already had glass mason jars, so we drink from those instead of using plastic bottles.
On the other hand, although we use reusable bags for shopping, we didn’t have a solution for bin bags at home for the household waste. The aim is to work towards having almost no waste. This is a journey in itself but there are plenty of resources online we can learn from.
And the rest?
I have seen this mentioned a lot. Many wonder, where do I now buy crisps from? Where do I buy this from, or that from?
The problem here is with us humans. Remember, we’ve been fed into this buying and eating culture where we need snacks, we need to eat till our stomachs are full, we need to buy buy buy. This is for the benefit of the huge stores that sell this stuff, who need their profits. We don’t actually need extras. Actually, our bodies feel much better when we don’t eat till we’re full and eat clean. And there are alternatives, such as nuts, certain loose fruits and also making them at home.
This is a journey of giving up extras and being satisfied with less. It isn’t just about using less plastic, changing to renewable energy and avoiding boat journeys. This is in a way, tied into minimalism. Having less, eating less (but enough to fuel your body), gives more time to do things that you truly enjoy.
It is a journey where learning is at the very front. Oh how I thought leather bags were fine to buy, as long as animals lived a life where they were free to roam and fed well. I am not a vegetarian but I believe in animals not being used to test products. But now I know this translates into other areas like bags too, even traveller notebook covers!
At the end of the day, if you got this far, you know you’re not alone. We are in this together. We can campaign together, we can email companies about how they need to work towards less plastic, we can buy less so these stores do feel affected and we need to stand up against consumerism, not just in terms of goods but even food.
Feel empowered with the new found knowledge. We can help the planet be a little bit better. This is the start of the journey for me and I will post more as I learn. I may make mistakes but I hope I will be able to learn from you too.