An Honest Chat About Sustainability


Sustainability is the hot topic of the moment, and I'm glad it is. After all, we only have one planet, the fact that leading an eco-friendly lifestyle became trendy is a good thing. It means that more people are willing to try and make changes to the way they are living, yet it can also mean that the subject will stop being a topic once it stops being trendy. 
I, like most of us, am guilty of falling into the trend, and consequently start becoming more aware of what I buy, what I use and what am I consuming in general.

Today I thought I could share with you my thoughts and opinions on this topic. I realize that my opinion may be a little bit controversial, but I think it's time I share my thoughts in here. 
A Portuguese Zero Waste Instagrammer that I follow, named Catarina Barreiros, shared a quote the other day that ran along the lines of "We don't need a hand full of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly." and if I had to use a quote to summarize my point of view on the matter this would be it. I don't do as much as I could and I am aware of it. I use a lot of plastic, I buy fast fashion and I eat meat, all things that can be condemned by more extremist environmental activists (something I am not). However, I am conscious of these decisions and I have been trying to make little changes in my life so that I can lead a life that is more environmentally friendly, I must assure you that all the little steps I've done are easy and can be done by anyone who's willing to make a change. 
The real difference is made when a lot of people make little changes instead of trying to change everything about the way they live only to finding it too hard and simply giving up. 


As I said I do eat meat, but after watching Cowspiracy I've learned a lot about the dark side of the meat industry. Did you know that to produce 1 Kilo of beef it takes up to 15 000 Liters of water, to produce 1 Kilo of pork up to 6 000 Liters? Not to talk about the fact that the biggest cause of the hole in the ozone layer is the CO2 generated by cow farts (it's all on the documentary if you don't believe me). 
After having this knowledge I simply couldn't keep eating meat more than 10 times a week. I then and there made the conscious decision of eating one vegetarian meal every day, leaving animal protein to be eaten for the other. I truly believe that if everyone did this, the mass production of meat would be an easy fix problem. I do love vegetables which is a big help, but I've had to try new things in the kitchen and try my best to keep this habit going. I didn't feel much of a difference in my routine but at the end of the day, I know I am making a difference. 
Another thing I truly believe in. Is that the fast fashion industry (which includes basically everything I've ever got) is a needed industry. It allows a lot of people to be able to dress because most of us can't afford to buy only from sustainable brands. I would love to be able to do that, but at these point in time, I absolutely can't. So I do the next best thing. I buy only pieces that I know I will have a lot of wear out of. For example, the top I am wearing cost 3€ for Lefties 2 Summers ago and it's still going strong. I've had the denim shorts from Pull and Bear for over 5 Years and they are still my favourite piece of denim shorts. I have certain pieces that I've had for years and years and that I always find myself going back too. I try to repair the pieces when they need repairing and when I am done with them they are normally to worn out to go anywhere but the trash can. If not, I always had the habit to pass it on, either to my mum, some friends or to some charity that collects clothes. This way I know I am doing my part making the fast fashion industry a little bit slower. 


Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room. A little friend we have named PLASTIC. Recently plastic has almost become a forbidden word, a word that carries a lot of baggage within itself. If we talk plastic, we talk about ocean pollution, fish genocide, the end of drinkable water. However, and even though most of us are aware of its dangers, plastic has become an indispensable part of our routine. It's in our food, in our shower, in our makeup bag, in our closet, it's basically anywhere if we care to look.  
I've been making an effort to reduce my usage of plastic by making little unnoticeable changes. So far I've replaced my toothbrush for a bamboo one, I've stopped using shower gel and started using soap bars instead, I always carry a metal straw in my bag so that I am not using the disposable ones. 
When it comes to the supermarket I try to carry a tote bag with me in which I can carry my groceries, I never use the little plastic bags they have available for fruits and vegetables. 
Another thing I  try to do is to buy locally. I get most of my fruits and vegetables from a local grocery store I know the owner and he knows me, it's less expensive, I know the products are great and it feels really nice to support a local small business.

These are a few of the changes that I've made so far. I know they seem small, but a lot of small actions make a big difference. I hope to keep educating myself on this matter, and I hope to keep doing what I can to preserve our beautiful planet, so that places like the one this post was shoot at don't become a memory, but a reality, places I will be able to take my kids to one day and that they will take their kids too as well. 


Photography: Alexandre Serôdio 
Location: Loulé, Algarve, Portugal 

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