About a month ago read the press release for WWF’s Living Planet 2014 Report. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say I was sobbing all the while – I’ve got tears in my eyes just writing about it now.
It’s sad to see that we are spending our natural resources and destroying our environment at such an unsustainable rate. Tiny little Finland has the 15th largest ecological foot print in the world. Our well being is built on over consumption, the effects of which are visible in the natural environment of developing countries.
It’s sad that the problems we have created will be passed on to the next generation to solve. This amazing planet and its inhabitants, down to the last animal and smallest blade of grass, should be protected and respected. It pains me to think that there are people in the world, including Finland, who simply do not care. I believe we can live in a way that shows respect for the environment, without sacrificing comfort, and make important contributions through small deeds.
Although the results of the report were depressing, WWF also gives us hope and advice for things we can do to make our daily consumption more sustainable, and help preserve the nature. I am wrecked with weltschmerz whenever I read things like these, and I am sure many of us feel like there is nothing to be done. This is not true. It’s not too late, if we start NOW. I recommend reading through WWF’s tips on how to take responsibility through your choices at the supermarket, at home, and on the road.
I myself have several tips for more responsible consumerism, from an ecological and an ethical point of view. I have listed 3 + 1 easy tips below. I hope you are already practicing at least three of these. We live in an abundant world where we always have a choice; no one is forced to act in a certain way. Life shouldn’t be too complicated. If something is making your life difficult, you don’t have to keep at it; but I would like to encourage you to make informed and conscious decisions as consumers – and to try something new.
1. Choose natural cosmetics. True, synthetic cosmetics can also be responsibly and ecologically produced, but natural cosmetics always are. As they are produced by small companies, the products are ecological, and therefore also more effective and more nourishing for the skin. By purchasing natural products, we are also supporting organic farming, Fair Trade, and farmers from developing countries where their work is their only source of income. This might be a good time to remind you that Neal’s Yard Remedies is the number one most ethical cosmetics brand in the world.
2. Choose natural detergents. How many of us natural cosmetics users also use natural detergents to wash our clothes, dishes, toilets, windows, and floors? I’m guessing this is one area with room for improvement. We flush down detergents of all kinds down our drains every day, and the makeup of those detergents makes a massive difference. My own favorite is Attitude, which I use for doing laundry, dishes, and general cleaning. It is available in most well-stocked supermarkets in Finland, as well as most eco-shops. It leaves laundry clean and smelling nice. Sometimes, if they look like they need it, I might wash my whites using the pink Vanish. For dishes or general cleaning, I stick to natural detergents; Attitude’s detergents have great washing power, they smell lovely, and they don’t irritate the skin. The brand is environmentally friendly and carbon neutral, and has been afforded the North American Eco-Logo certificate. Make the change now, good people!
3. Cook your own meals, don’t waste food, recycle. Most of us would balk at the idea of not recycling our organic waste. I wouldn’t mind if it was constitutionally enforced and mandatory. But how many of you throw salad and herb pots in the trash without putting the clump of soil in the bio waste? It takes approximately three seconds, but I know several people who are just too plain lazy to do it. Another thing is cooking your own food. TV dinners and other fast food is so last season, and yet people still end up buying the strangest spreads, salad dressings, seasoned butters and sauces, and other unnecessary junk. Salad dressings and seasoned butters are quick and easy to make at home, and the result is far tastier and healthier than anything store-bought, and you’re not contributing to unnecessary food production.
+ 1. Make your own cosmetics. Just as you cook your own meals, you can also make your own makeup, DIY style. I think most of my garbage is from makeup and skin care pots and bottles. You might think that making your own cosmetics is just too eco-hipstery, and it’s certainly not an obligation – just using natural cosmetics is a great contribution. Still, a lot of cosmetics are easy to make yourself, and the process might make a fun activity for the whole family, or a group of friends. I will be sharing some DIY pampering-product recipes on the blog, so stay tuned!
Finally, I would like to ask you to please share this post with your friends, and encourage them to make better choices, as well!
Attitude detergents provided by the importer
Photos Katja Kokko
Translation Katja Nikula