You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall
2019 has been a devastating bushfire season here in Australia, with climate change worsening the bushfire conditions.
Rainfall in many parts of Eastern Australia has been the lowest on record.
By Christmas this year over 3,000,000 hectares have been burnt and up to 30% of koala's killed in the mid-north coast fires.
It's been a brutal time for the animals, people and the environment.
Reading the news on the hugeness of the bushfires, the coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and the many other effects of climate change, can make us feel helpless and unsure on how we can do anything to make a difference.
But we CAN.
Each of us can create powerful ripple effects of positive change through the way we spend our money, where we take our business and through the habits we cultivate in our daily lives.
I’ve been living in Australia for 8 years now and during my time here I have researched how to live more sustainably in this amazing part of the world and made many changes to reduce my impact on the environment directly and indirectly.
I’m really excited to share with you my top tips for living more sustainably in Australia! I hope that as you transition into 2020 you feel inspired to tread lightly on this beautiful planet that we get to call home.
#Note; Many of these ideas can be adopted all around the world wherever you are
“… the way we source and distribute food is fundamental to solving the world’s most pressing social and ecological problems.”
I love food… it’s one of my life passions! I love shopping for food, I love eating food and sharing food with loved ones. But I’ve come to realise how delicate and fragile the food system is and how crucial our food choices are for the growers, the environment and for our bodies.
Living in and around Brisbane for 7 years, I had incredible access to sustainable food suppliers and organic farmers markets. It began simply with wanting to avoid chemical sprays on food to be healthier and live more naturally… to understanding that where I spend my money impacts the farmers, growers and environment either positively or negatively.
Here’s how I shop sustainably for food:
S – EASONAL
L – OCAL
O – RGANIC
W – HOLEFOODS
Sustainable Super (Pension Plan)
“You should know what your money is invested in and understand the impact you are having”
Superannuation is a regular payment made into a fund by an employee towards a future pension. In Australia it is compulsory and the super fund you choose really matters! Most super funds invest your money into coal, oil, animal export and other industries that are harmful to the environment and animals.
After researching different super funds, I decided on Australian Ethical and switched from my old fund in 2015.
A few reasons I choose Australian Ethical Super:
For more information on all their investment decisions click here and to switch to Australian Ethical click here
"Renewable power is now a cheaper source of power for Australia's future electricity needs than coal" - ABC News, 3 Sep 2018
Unless you live off the grid, you will most likely be using electricity or gas in your everyday life… when we cook, charge our phones, have a shower, turn on a light, watch TV etc … the energy to power our modern lives has to come from somewhere. In Australia most of the electricity generated is from burning fossil fuels, produced from burning black and brown coal at large power stations. Burning coal admits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere!
But with the renewable energy industry growing, there’s not excuse not to switch to green energy!
My favourite renewable electricity company that I’ve used for the past 3 years is Diamond Energy, based in Melbourne.
I recommend checking out the Green Electricity Guide and switching to a renewable electricity provider in 2020!
Other sustainable energy tips are:
“With the fashion industry reported as the second largest polluter after the oil industry, fast fashion fuels this through the use of cheap and toxic textiles as well as damaging practices along the supply and delivery chains”
Fast Fashion is a massive environmental polluter.
We live in a time where clothes are made cheap, don’t last and it’s cheaper and easier to buy new rather than repair it. Fast fashion is a world wide problem that has devastating effects on the environment and the people who make them.
But we don’t have to follow the fast fashion trends. We have the power to vote with our money! Slow fashion is “a movement towards mindful manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials, and lasting garments”.
My personal slow fashion tips include:
Further resources on sustainable fashion:
Avoid single use plastics: switch to metal or paper straws, reusable coffee cups, cloth shopping bags, cloth pads or menstrual cups, reusable water bottles and bamboo or metal cutlery sets.
Some extra resources:
Beauty & Bathroom
“Buy what you need, want what you have”
Bathrooms can easily get cluttered with plastic bottles filled with a list of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, that end up in our bodies and washing down the drain into the water system.
The good thing is that there’s more and more natural, organic & plastic free beauty options available to us all the time! I’ve put together a collection of some products and ideas that don’t harm the planet and work beautifully!
Some more earth loving ideas:
I want to finish this blog on the world’s most precious resource, Fresh Water.
“Freshwater is essential to human existence, and to the functioning of the ecosystems that support us. Australia is the driest populated continent on earth and can yield only a limited amount of freshwater. The average annual rainfall in Australia of around 470mm a year is well below the global average. Despite this, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person each year. This figure increases tenfold if the water embodied in the food and products we consume is included.”
When I lived on Tamborine Mountain and only had access to rainwater that we collected in our tanks, I was very aware of how much water I consumed. Now that I am on town water supply in Ballarat, I can easily forget to be water conscious. Some everyday ways we can reduce the water demand are:
Here’s some further resources on water preservation:
I truly hope that you have found this blog useful and you can take away some practical ideas to implement in the new year! I will continue adding my research, ideas and tips as I discover new ways to live gently in Australia or wherever I am in the world, so pop back now and then for updates!
May your 2020 be filled with small, sustainable steps that protect & restore our beautiful planet earth x
Love Chloe Alice