Living in the World.
I was over at crab&bee´s lovely blog today and read a great review of the book No more dirty looks by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt. Not only was the review great (I instantly added the book to my wishlist, as well as it is a great present for an upcoming birthday), it spurred me to think about what I do in my life that “will make the world a better place”. I´m faaaaar from perfect, it´s so easy to do and purchase things out of old habits, or just by being lazy!
But I thought I´d share with you some things in my everyday life that I do that I hope makes an impact. Some of them are sewing related, some of them are not. All of them are quite easy to do, though. Hope it can help you in your everyday life too!
- I try to always turn off the lights (and the sewing machines) when I leave a room.
- I try to never buy stuff from big corporations I know are “bad” (though it´s hard), I think the bigger the company, the bigger the climate effect… There are some great resources online for telling who is “good” and who is “bad”. What resources you want to use of course depends on what your moral compass is. Mine is based not only on who treats their workers with respect, and who leaves the smallest climate footprint, I also base my choices on the political sympathies I have.
- When I shop for groceries and skin care products and have to choose between two seemingly identical items, I always take the one with the shortest ingredient list. That is almost always the better product. When it comes to food, the longer the ingredients list, the more processed are the food! With skin care products it is the same, many cheap ingredients try to compensate for a few natural ones…
- I am hoarding all my scraps. I don´t know what to use them for yet (possibly I will use them for weaving?), but it seams so wasteful to just throw them away (and we don´t have any good fabric recycling where I live). I know both Ali and Tasia recently had some good blog posts on this topic!
- I rarely make muslins, for the same reason as above, it seems to me to be so wasteful. I rather prep the patterns more, I have generous seam allowances and I baste a lot instead.
- I ride a lot of bike. I don´t have a car. I don´t even have a drivers license. I understand that this way of living is difficult if you live on the countryside, though.
- I thrift shop! Yay, I didn´t do that much earlier, but I love it! It´s become one of my favorite things to do. If I need something new, I go to the thrift shop first, actually, to see if I can find it there.
- Apart from the aforementioned fabric scraps, I recycle. It´s easy to recycle here in Sweden, because it´s adjusted by the government, and we have different recycling bins for foods, paper, glass etc. I also try to buy products that has as little packaging as possible.
- I try to buy eco- and fairtrade certified products as much as possible. This is becoming easier and easier, fortunately. Just a couple of years ago the products were few and expensive. You see? Hans Rosling is right, the world IS getting better. 🙂
I do have a million things I could be better at too. I could be better at turning OFF my iron when I´m not using it, instead of putting it in stand by mode. I could take shorter showers, I could travel less by plane and more by train, I could get better at eating left- overs etc, etc. etc…
Now I want to turn this over to you guys. Are you a pessimist, do you think it´s to late, and it doesn´t matter what we do? Or do you believe in making a change? What do you do in your everyday life to help improve the state of the world (and your own health)? I´d love to get some new tips and ideas!
New York City, United States.
Here´s to the world!
Thank you for the link to that TED video! That was so neat to see. I don’t do everything I could, but I try to do what I can given my emotional limitations 😉
The scariest thing to me about the future is that we are pumping massive amounts of carbon into the biosphere that has been out of circulation for hundreds of million years. The climate that that carbon was a part of was very, very different, and our society is highly adapted to our current climate, which we are changing rapidly. I suspect that we will limp along, getting by as we tend to. I doubt we’ll manage to do this without major cost to the planet, but I hope that our society will be affluent and flexible enough to meet the challenges we’ve created for ourselves. We know that civilizations can and do destroy themselves—I just hope that the modern, diversified world economy with wide distribution of knowledge will be able to compensate for the added strains we will encounter as we exhaust and disrupt our world.
… Which amounts to a pretty big downer, so I try not to think about it and remind myself that we usually pull through.
I believe in doing what you can, which is, like you said, different for everyone. Recycling is a good start, as if reusing things, or giving them away instead of just trashing them. I have been focusing mostly on food lately. Cooking my own instead of going out, choosing healthier, organic choices, etc. It is cetainly something worth thinking about!
A great post. I do lots of the usual things like recycling and also try to think when I buy and not buy food etc wrapped up in extra packaging. I am told this is now called Precycling. I don’t buy new things. I do drive a car,my son’s school is not walkable nor on a bus route. I hope once we move this summer I will be able to walk and lift share with other families to get him to school. I try to limit my journeys and we have a day a week which is no driving day. I am not sure whether all these small things add up. I also am the light switcher off person in my house. BUt I do think it is my responsibility as a parent to practise what I preach and to show my kids positive actions.
I love this post, Solvi. I’ve always been aware and made an effort, but in a very offhand way and I’m finally gaining more courage to do more. I think we can each do our part. Do I think it’ll reverse the insane damage? Probably not, but I feel good about my life and where I (choose to) live by being more mindful. It’s also easier to do when you live in a community that makes things so, so easy. I feel I must live in one of the greenest parts of the U.S. My concerns revolve aroundconsumption and waste — how can I not just buy less, but buy better? And how can I reduce my waste? Buying pre-packaged food during a crazy week is still better for me (health and pocketbook wise) than eating out those same days that week. How can I create good habits that are mutually beneficial for me and my community? I think that’s the sticking point: People rarely see that a life change can actually be greatly beneficial.
But funnily enough, I’m spending more than ever (and I’m on a clothing ration!). Once I decided to buy quality, it means I own less but I’m dropping more bills — a hard sell in the U.S. I keep reminding myself these are investments, that I’ll save money in the long run. Whew, long comment 🙂
great post solvi, i try to do what i can – the usual recycling, only using my car when i have to (i actually dream of getting my dad to extend his mechanical skills to building/customising a car that’d be greener for me, mechanical refashioning?!). i do muslin but i keep the material and resuse it where-ever possible in other muslins, like say smaller collars or sleeves cut out of bodies etc. i’m hoping to get my own place this summer and am having a lot of fun researching selvage yards where i can get everything from floorboards to sinks to doors and furniture rather than buying new bulk produced things.
we’ve all got to do what we can, i personally try not to think about the huge-er picture, its overwhelming and paralysing so i plod along doing my little bit.