Most of the time I’d say a sustainable lifestyle isn’t hard. But maybe that’s not fair since I am not where I want to be yet. I want to live within the earth’s boundaries ánd create positive impact, but as we’ve seen, the last time I measured we still need 1,5 earths when everybody would live like me. I have work to do and maybe that’s why I shouldn’t always say that a sustainable lifestyle is easy. I have things I want to work on too, I’m not perfect. I’ve done it before, but today I want to share some of my sustainability challenges I have right now. What are the things I struggle the most with at this time of my life?
In this post you can read about the last time I shared my challenges (it’s in Dutch but I’m still working on translating all the old posts). I had five at that time: to minimize even more, a plasticfree wardrobe, no more flying, a plastic free make-up stash and a capsule wardrobe. I have been working on all of them, for sure! But I haven’t accomplished everything yet. I have minimized more and never stepped foot on a plane anymore. The other goals I haven’t reached yet. But that’s okay, they’re long term goals. I don’t have a capsule wardrobe, a plastic-free wardrobe or make-up stash. That’s because I use up the make-up in plastic that I have. For the clothes: I am minimizing still, but some items that I love are plastic. I guess I will never be 100%, but that’s okay. For today I have some new goals to add to the list which I’ll share with you.
1 Eat local and seasonal food
I’ve shared a guide on how to eat sustainable. It’s a five step plan where the most important one is eating plant-based. That has been a piece of cake for the past 3 years. The other steps that come after are a bit more challenging. That’s partly because I live with my parents. I just try to eat what’s at hand because I don’t want to spend too much money on food since I am saving to move out. And since I only eat what’s at hand, I barely ever make the choices myself. Plant-based is going well, saving food from the trash is going well too sometimes, but the rest, like local and seasonal food is a challenge at this moment. And when I move out in September, this is something to tackle.
2 Go palm oil free
I am planning on writing a blogpost about why deforestation happens, as a sequel to my blogpost about why deforestation is so bad. Spoiler: palm oil is one of the reasons. And so, I personally want to avoid it. When I do my own groceries this is doable, but just like I mentioned at challenge 1, this is hard when my parents do our groceries. For now it is a challenge, I hope from September on it won’t be any longer! There are great alternatives, like this a-ma-zing plant-based butter. The struggle is usually that a lot of vegan options contain palm oil. For example: Oreo’s are vegan and so the cookies I would pick when I buy cookies, but they do contain palm oil. And so, it’s time to continue the search.
3 Traveling less and better (due to the coronavirus)
Since 2 years now I evaluate whether I live eco-positive or not once a year. The past year I didn’t live within the earth’s capacity, because I travelled too much. I mostly traveled as sustainable as I could, I even went all the way to Albufeira by train! Making the switch is easy, but traveling less will be a challenge. But! Then the coronavirus came to The Netherlands and most of my travel plans got cancelled. Especially the interail plans I had would have had a big impact on my total kilometres by train. So, this is sort of a good thing, because I can’t travel and so no impact. I do however still travel within The Netherlands since I have a long-distance relationship. I can’t just not see my boyfriend for 4 months. I see him every weekend. One week I travel to him and the other week he comes my way. It’s not a lot of traveling, but here comes the thing: I always go by car. That is way less sustainable than going by train like I used to do. But due to the coronavirus I have made the choice to not go by public transportation so I don’t put my health at risk, or that of anyone else. The government has advised to only travel by public transportation if it’s absolutely necessary. For me it’s not, since my parents can lend me their car. And so, for now I chose health over sustainability. But from September on I will travel by public transportation again.
I have volunteered for a while at the Food Bank in Enschede. I quit because it took a lot of time and instead I worked more at my part-time job. Yes, I chose money over volunteering, because I felt like I needed it at that time. But now, I feel like volunteering can be a priority again. I want to contribute more to society. I don’t know how yet, but once I live in Amsterdam I am planning to look more into this subject. At the moment I focus a lot on reducing my negative impact, which is the basis, but since I almost live within the earth’s capacity, I think it’s time to focus on the positive impact again.
This has been bothering me for a while. I. want. to. do. more. Yes, I try to inspire others for a sustainable lifestyle on this blog, my Instagram and my Youtube-channel. But I want to be on the streets. I want to do the real thing, talk to people, protest, speak up! Last year I attended the Climate March in Den Haag and ever since I want to do it again. Just today I saw a event coming up, a protest at a zoo in Amsterdam (our capital city). And I think I’ll go there. I want to speak up for animals, the ones who can’t speak. It’s time to really let my voice be heard.
What are your sustainability challenges at this moment?