My 5 biggest sustainability challenges | May 2020

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. So, 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 my 5 biggest sustainability challenges | from May 2020. What are the things I struggle the most with at this time of my life?

Last time

In this post you can read about the last time I shared my challenges. I had five at that time: to minimize even more, a plastic-free 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. Here are my 5 biggest sustainability challenges | in May 2020.

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 there’s no impact.

However, I do 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.

4 Volunteering

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.

5 Activism

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.

These were my 5 biggest sustainability challenges | in May 2020. What are your sustainability challenges at this moment?

Yours sincerely,

7 thoughts on “My 5 biggest sustainability challenges | May 2020”

  1. Thanx for writing this and in doing so making me reflect on my own sustainability challenges.

    I hate supermarkets because they force their regimes on their supplyers. The lowest prices in the supermarket will eventually mean the supplyer has to cut costs until he “can afford” to be the cheapest. This leads to poorly paid people and suffering animals. I’d like to buy my food directly from the farmer, giving him a good price. I’m researching what I can buy where, close to home. And how about when winter comes?

    I’m aware of the fact that with each nickel I spend I make a choice for better or for worse. It’s like voting for the elections, but better, for you can do this any day you run errands, buy clothing and so on. It’s an ongoing learning process and sometimes I just forget to check the ingredients or the labels.

    Buying an electrical bike was the best thing I did in the last years, for I need my car no more. Now I’m in doubt whether to buy a new battery for it (the bike itself is in a bad condition though) or a whole new bike.

    My garden plants aren’t drought tolerant. When they die I’ll have to do something about the gaps in the borders. No ideas yet. Succulents, desert plants? I did invest in a second rainbarrel, so for the time being we are ready for droughts to come.

    Best advice I heard: don’t wait, just start doing what you wanna do. Change what you can change. Do not try to convince others, do not try to force your opinion on others, just start doing what you think is best. I find this hard but then again so is every beginning.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for this response Justin! I’m glad I made you reflect things, but it seems like you’re already well on your way, maybe I should learn from you haha. I hope you also keep in mind the things you are already doing, because you deserve credit for that. Don’t be too hard on yourself and celebrate the wins too. I don’t know if you want my advice, but for the bike I’d say: maybe a secondhand battery or a secondhand bike? For now, good luck with these challenges but I’m sure you’ll be fine 🙂

  2. I completely understand your struggle with sustainable eating while living at home. I need to wait until I move out to properly go plant-based and zero-waste but I still do all I can to ask people at home to buy seasonal products and I’m now cooking vegan meals for the whole family twice a week! (WordPress was glitching and deleted the original comment so I’m sorry if you get this twice!!)

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