Have I lived eco-positive the past year? 2019/2020

It’s time! It’s time for the big moment I (and you hopefully) have been waiting for! It’s time to measure again. Time to measure whether I have lived within the earth’s capacity the past year. This year is the third time I will measure my impact and I am keen to see how I did. Have I lived eco-positive the past year?

An eco-positive lifestyle

In this post you can read what an eco-positive lifestyle is. To put it short: I want to live within the earth’s capacity and then also create positive impact. Today I am focussing on that first part: living within the earth’s capacity. I have done it twice before. The first time my score was 2.5 earths! The second try I did a bit better, a score of 1.7 earths. If you want to know more about that, please read those posts. Anyway, as we all know, we only have one planet. And so, I need this score to go down to 1 or lower.

I really tried to improve this year. Last year I said that my challenges were to buy nothing new, ditch the plane and travel less in general. I ditched the plane! So, that’s done. But those other things, we’ll have to see. The COVID-19 crisis changed everything and so I am very curious to see how I did. Each year I take the same test, the test developed by Zaailingen, a fellow sustainability blogger (I can really recommend her blog!). It’s very accurate if you’d ask me, it consists of the most important elements of a sustainable lifestyle. It consists of 10 categories which I am going to go through today to evaluate my lifestyle in detail. These categories are: stuff, meat, household’s energy, traveling by car, all other foods (besides meat, dairy and eggs), flying, clothing, eggs and dairy, water and public transportation. I’ll add a graph (in Dutch since the test is in Dutch) with each category. This way you can see my score (the yellow part) and the score of the average Dutch person (the green part). If you’re curious about your personal lifestyle, take the test! For now, it’s time to see how I did!

Category 1: New Stuff

The first category and the one I am most disappointed in too. The past year I bought a total of 466 euros worth of new (I don’t count secondhand since there is no impact in that) stuff! That’s a lot for someone who aim’s to buy nothing new. I have to admit, I also included consumables. But still, I could have done better. Here’s the list with everything I bought from expensive to cheap. The consumables are highlighted, the stuff is not.
– Nintendo Switch Lite, 219 euros
– Sunscreen, 48 euros
– Paint, 35 euros
– Shampoo, 21 euros
– Mascara, 20 euros
– Soil for the garden, 16 euros
– Mascara, 15 euros
– Spiralli (utensil to cut vegetables), 15 euros
– Party plugs, 13 euros
– Bin, 13 euros
– Make-up powder refill, 12 euros
– Ov-kaart, 10 euro
– Playboy, 8 euros
– Spare key for my bike, 8 euros
– Tooth paste, 6 euros
– Fireworks, 4 euro

– Notebooks, 1 euro
– Crayons, 1 euro
– Hooks for our cabinet, 1 euro

That’s all of it. I do want to explain a lot of things since I think they’re complicated. First, the mistakes. The spiralli was a mistake, I have found out that I don’t need it. I asked it as a gift for me birthday because I didn’t know what else to ask for and I felt a little bit pressured to name something. This doesn’t happen to me anymore. The party plugs where a mistake too, I forgot my own in my hometown. I did however buy these because I don’t want my ears to get damaged. The first mascara of 20 euros was a mistake too, but I only found out about that later. I tried a new zero waste one but I hated it. I didn’t need to buy the Playboy, but I didn’t know any other gift for a friend, a mistake too. I consider the the notebooks a mistake too. This one time I really, really needed to go to the bathroom at the HEMA (A Dutch shop), but that was only allowed if you bought something and I so I bought notebooks for my little brother, they’d come in hand. Then, the most expensive but complicated thing, the nintendo switch lite. My boyfriend wanted to buy it for me since I really wanted one but didn’t buy it myself. If he bought it secondhand it would be way more expensive that buying it new because he could get a big discount in a shop. I didn’t want him to spend more because of me and so I agreed with a new one. I still don’t know how to feel about that. I wanted it secondhand, but since it already happened I try to enjoy the switch now that I have it. I would however never buy one myself new. All the consumables are things I need (soil is something I hopefully won’t need to buy again since I’ll soon have a worm bin). The bin was a good decision, I wanted one made out of natural materials and I couldn’t find that secondhand and I didn’t want an ugly bin in our living room. I felt group pressure for the fireworks. The ov-chipcard, crayons, spare key for my bike and hooks were all needed and couldn’t be bought secondhand. It’s all a bit of bad luck too if you’d ask me. This category gives me 67.655 points, about 26 more than last year. I just try to do better again next year!

Category 2: Meat

This category is a short one compared to the first category haha! It’s 0 points for me again, since I eat fully vegan. Same as last year.

Category 3: Household Energy and Gas

Unfortunately, this section is one I can’t measure. The past year I have lived in 4 houses. With my mom, with my dad, with my boyfriend and with family in Haarlem. There is no way I can see how I did. However, during winter I mostly lived in Haarlem where I had my own room in the attic. I didn’t really understand how the heat worked and so I managed to never turn on the heat in my own room haha! Because of that and other ways I always try to save energy, I choose to give myself a score of 20% below the average score. This gives me a score of 71,84 points. I think this is a lot still. The coming year I’ll live on my own in one place so next year this will be more accurate.

Category 4: The Car

I had predicted that this category would be bad too. During the beginning of COVID-19, it was advised to not use public transportation and so I didn’t. I went far distances by car. I wrote down every single trip for the entire year (at the end of every week I noted it quickly) and so this category is very accurate! In total I rode 2026 km by myself, 4226 km with 2 persons and 2002 km with 4 persons. 8254 kilometers in total! This category gives me 47.43 points. I had expected more so it’s not too bad, but I am sure I’ll do better coming year since I’ll be living in one place and my boyfriend doesn’t own a car anymore.

Category 5: Plant-based food

In this category I’m going to go with the same score as last year, 50% of the average score. Most of the impact in this category is caused by drinks, like coffee and soft drinks. For health reasons, my personal goal is always to drink water and so I think I’m doing quite good in this category. Besides, I follow this food plan, to eat as sustainable as possible. I save food, eat 100% plant-based, when possible local and organic. Half of the average is 37.20 points.

Category 6: Flying

Even though I haven’t flown in almost 2 years, this is the first time that I have no points in this category. The last time was in October of 2018 and so last year that flight still counted. But this year I haven’t flown! I am so happy with this score of 0 points and hope to stick to this for the coming years at least. I don’t need planes.

Category 7: Clothing

Buying no new clothes has been easier than I thought this past year. I have however bought some pieces, 6 pieces in total. 5 of those are sustainable and 1 is not. I bought curtains a while back for my new home. We hadn’t been able to find the color we wanted secondhand and if I wanted to buy sustainable I really had to dive into that. We didn’t have much time and so we bought a curtain from recycled fabrics at Kwantum. Not the best option, but necessary. The 5 sustainable pieces were: 4 pieces of underwear from Organic Basics and one tights from Swedish Stockings. The underwear was a bit stupid, because I already bought the same ones last year. Unfortunately I later found out that it was one size too small. At the end of the day they bothered me if I would wear them all day. I decided to recycle those and buy a size bigger. The tights I needed because the previous one broke. I think I did quite good this year! This category only gives me 3.058 points since it’s based on weight and all of the fabrics are really light. Off to 0 next year!

Category 8: Dairy and Eggs

Another really easy category! 0 points for me. I live 100% vegan and I wouldn’t ever want to go back.

Category 9: Water

For this category I have the same problem as with household’s energy and gas. I don’t know, since I lived at multiple places. So, just like category 3 I am going to take 20% below the average consumption. I do try to save water where I can. Next year I will know this category exactly, but for now I have 13.04 points.

Category 10: Public Transportation

This was one point I wanted to improve this year. Just like with the car, I registered every single train ride. I added it all up and this comes to 10.057 kilometers in total! And so I did improve a lot, last year it was over 25 thousand kilometers. I wish every ride I did by car would also been by train, since that is more sustainable. However, mostly due to COVID-19 this was not possible. But alike category 4, this category will likely improve again next year since I’ll live at one place with my boyfriend. This year my score for this category is 46.524 points.

How did I do?

Maybe you’ve counted along, maybe you didn’t! To live within the earth’s capacity I need to have a score at 257 or below. My score from 2019/2020 is … *dumdumdum* 285,265 points. I didn’t make it. But! I did improve a lot again. Last year my score was 444.759 points. I made a very big jump! And so, I am confident that I’ll make it the coming year. For now, if everybody lived just like me then we’d need 1.1 earths. Nearly there! We only have 1 planet and so I need to make it. Below you can see my end score. The green chart is the average Dutch person, yellow is me and blue is sustainable.

Next Year

I still need to cut 28 points to live sustainable. So I am up for a challenge again! I will again try to not buy anything new, clothes and stuff, since that’s relatively easy for me. If I manage that, I’ll be there. But I predict that it will be a combination of all categories. Less stuff and clothes, less energy and water (since I’ll finally be able to measure it) and less traveling. I’m confident I’ll make it! But for today, I am already so happy with my improvement. I went from 1.7 earths last year to 1.1 earths today. I am aaaalmost there! Next up, is also trying to map my positive impact in one year. That’ll come up soon!

Yours sincerely,

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