When you start down the path of deliberate thought about every purchase and lifestyle decision you make, it begins to get overwhelming – real quick!
There are so many concerns and areas to consider, from renewable energy and packaging, to product sources and carbon footprints. It’s easy to start feeling like a failure or a hypocrite when you realise a decision you made, thinking it was great in one aspect, turns out to have a negative result under another. So we decided to choose a few key areas that we want to focus on and will treat them as our ‘Core Principles.’
Reduce Usage of Plastic
This is one of our biggest pet hates. The amount of plastic used in some places is absolutely shocking. Upon visiting supermarkets here in the UK, we’ve seen plastic wrapped broccoli and cabbages, which sure, might come from a health and safety aspect (although have they heard of washing?) but we’ve also seen individually wrapped oranges. Think about that for a second. A fruit that has its own packaging. Needless to say, we struggle to purchase from supermarkets so try and visit local markets as often as we can.
Avoid Palm Oil (from non-sustainable sources)
This is everywhere. Seriously, check the ingredients next time you’re at the super market. The bad thing with Palm Oil is that they have to cut down rain forests (most notably the habitat of Orangutans) in order to plant more trees to keep up with demand. The good thing about it is that it’s a super-efficient oil to use. Meaning the yield of oil from one hectare is much more than alternative oil crops. So really, we want to avoid oil from non-sustainable sources BUT choose sustainable palm oil over other options. Confusing huh? Keep an eye out on future blog posts where we dive into this a bit more.
We haven’t looked into this completely yet but it just seems to make more sense to purchase the fruit and veg sourced locally than stuff flown in from Thailand or Chile or anywhere else in the world. This means less supermarket shopping and more trips to the local produce markets. Typically, it also means buying organic as those are more likely to be the small scale, local farms.
Eat less meat
Kylie is already a vegetarian and has been for years (although only recently going off seafood.) And dating a vegetarian means a change in diet for me as well, although my meat consumption was already fairly low – see: poor university student. We know this can be a controversial topic for a lot of people. Kylie is more concerned about the animal welfare, whereas I like to look at it by considering the food chain. How much land is used to produce ‘x ‘amount of crop, to feed ‘y’ amount of animals, to produce ‘z’ amount of meat (of which a percentage will be wasted as well.) Would we be better off if we just consumed the grain or plant produce in the first case? This is another area we want to do some research into in coming posts.
Reduce food waste
Possibly our biggest hate is the amount of food waste occurring on a daily basis – from people letting stuff rot in their fridges, to supermarkets binning stock, and people not finishing what they order when eating out. We will often buy something in plastic if it’s in the reduced section and about to be chucked because the idea of perfectly good food, that’s gone through the entire production chain, just being binned hurts more than contributing to plastic waste (which would have ended up in the bin anyway.)
These are our current concerns, ones that we can actively focus on right now. We also have future goals which aren’t applicable now, but where we can focus on education at this stage. These include:
- Carbon – this ties into production and sourcing of products but also travel and living conditions. With us currently travelling through the UK and Europe, we must be creating more emissions than the average person, and want to find a way to roughly approximate this so we can offset in the future by planting trees. Without having the appropriate knowledge now, a logical place to start is that lower emissions are better for the world.
- Renewable Energy – solar, wind, and hydro. Once we eventually purchase our own home, we would like to utilise these options as much as possible. Whether that’s paying a bit more to use a supplier who generates their electricity from renewable sources, or being in a position to install our own solar panels, wind mills or hydro pumps. We need to acquire a lot of education in this area still.
- Living off-grid – ideally we will end up on a rural property with enough land to raise some animals, grow the vegetables we need, and utilise renewable energy. This basically is covered under the items above but we thought was worth mentioning individually as a ‘bog dream goal.’
Our hope is that by writing these goals down and clearly stating them as our Core Principles, we will be able to hold ourselves more accountable and have a strong guide to future decisions we have to make.
Your turn! Let us know what annoys you the most, or what you want to focus on in future decisions. Like we said, there are so many different areas of concern and options out there that we’re probably missing some key pieces as well. Feel free to comment below any areas you think we should focus on in addition to the above!