One is not born aware of the impact one is having on the planet. It’s something one has to learn and develop. By the time I was twenty my interest for nature and environment was growing steadily, but I wasn’t actively making any changes. I placed responsibility outside myself. Only in my early thirties I started to realize that I should try to make a difference too. Step by step I’ve been changing my lifestyle.
I’m hoping to make a small difference and to inspire others to do the same. Don’t forget that there is not a right or a wrong way to care for planet earth. Every (little) thing one can do is better than doing nothing at all. Any person who is telling you that what you are doing is not as good as what they are doing is not worth your time.
Do what you can, and be the best you can at it.
This is the best I can do at this time, but hoping to improve as I move on. Let’s hope we’ve all done enough before things really get out of hand.
I grew up in a family who was already doing their best to recycle as many things as possible. We had a compost heap in the backyard and paper would be collected once a month by sports clubs. The difficulty of recycling in the US made me aware of how much trash I was actually producing. I tried to buy as little trash as possible, using instant lemonade, no plastic bags for the veggies and use my own shopping bags as much as I could. Nowadays it’s even my job to motivate people to recycle better and produce less waste. I now feel that government and companies should work harder on reducing trash. I could write a complete blog just about my experiences in my job.
There was a time that I spent a lot of my free time shopping for new clothes. This was during my very first job. I was living in Saudi Arabia and the only thing a woman can do on her own there is go to the mall. It’s now 10 years later and I hardly ever buy new clothes, or items for that matter. If I need something I’ll first look in a thrift shop, if I can’t find what I’m looking for I can always go to a regular shop afterwards. I buy only what I really need. When items are seducing me in the shop, I am often able to stop myself and think if I really need this item right now. Stuff that I don’t use anymore I donate to the thrift shop, and I don’t buy new till the old is worn out and has to be thrown out.
Eat less meat
Nowadays I only eat meat a few days a week. Long ago I couldn’t imagine a life without any meat. It felt like a meal wasn’t complete without it. I still eat meat, because I’m convinced that I need some to stay healthy, and of course I still love the taste of it. But I now know how big the impact of the meat production industry is, so every day without meat is a day of less impact on the environment.
Use less energy
One of the reasons for me to start living in a caravan is to use less energy. The heating of a full house takes a lot of resources. The house is often filled with appliances that use lots of energy. And often a lot more water is used. I can’t tell you how big the difference is I’m making. But I’m not heating the caravan when I’m gone, I use water carefully since I need to fill my tank more often if I don’t. On top of that I have a solar panel on the roof providing me with electricity for light, air pump and water pump.
I decided that I don’t want to fly big distance if I will only be going there for a short time. I placed the line at about 5 hours. It’s also because I think you can’t really experience a country when going for three weeks. So when I want to discover a new place that is over 5 hours away, I plan to travel there for at least 3 months.
Have no children
I was fairly young when I was thinking about if I would want children or not. Already then I prefered the idea of adopting a child over having one myself. A lot of things have happened since then, including a long term relationship, but still I’m not feeling that urge of having a child of my own. I’m not saying it will never happen, but what I know now about the impact each person has on the planet, I’m happy with my childless life.
Where I could improve: car travel
Since I live remote a car is crucial in my life, I even need it to move my house to a new location. My biggest problem is that I don’t like to cycle much. So 15 minutes is already quite the distance to go. I would love to have a more environmental friendly vehicle, but that doesn’t fit my budget at this time. If I would have the funding I think I’ll choose a hydrogen powered car. I think it’s the cleanest fuel we can use at this time.
Guilty pleasure: long hot showers
After a stressed day I love the relaxing powers of a hot shower. I know I can be clean in less than 5 minutes if I want, but that isn’t very satisfying. When I’m in an area that has very little clean water, I’ll be as careful as I can with water. But in a country like mine, where we usually have more than enough water, I’d like to take my time to relax.
When the climate strikers went to the McDonald’s afterwards they were blamed for doing so. During my work I recently talked to somebody who said that people are vegan but traveling by plane multiple times a year. Can we please stop doing this? Look at yourself, at the things you can do. Don’t blame others for the things they are not doing.
Choose your priorities, be happy with your guilty pleasures and improve where you can.