Living a Sustainable Life on Your Terms

Plastic free. Zero waste. Sustainable living. Saying no to fast fashion and yes to pre-loved clothes. Wherever you currently stand on the journey to creating a more sustainable, planet-friendly lifestyle for you and your family, it’s fair to say that our world’s environmental problems have opened the floodgates to greenwashing – where large corporations make it seem like they’re doing the right thing, but in reality they’re simply employing clever (and expensive) marketing tactics to make us buy more of their products by appearing more environmentally friendly than they actually are. 

As consumers, we lead such busy lives that we often don’t take the time to look beyond the misleading marketing campaigns to understand the bigger picture. 

Take tree-planting for instance. It’s incredible that so many companies now ‘plant a tree’ for every purchase you make. But the harsh reality is that worldwide, we’re cutting down mature trees and whole sections of forests at such a fast rate that we may never catch up. Mature trees are an important part of the global warming equation because they take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their branches, trunks, foliage and roots. When mature forests are cut down (like in logging industries and clearing space for cattle and soy production), their stored carbon is released in huge quantities which has a similar effect to the burning of fossil fuels. Ideally, we need to stop cutting down forests and trees at this dangerous rate, while continuing to plant a diverse selection of native trees. 

In a bid to swap plastic for paper or cardboard alternatives, we’ve ended up mass producing items that have a far shorter life and may also negatively affect the environment. Take paper straws for example. A few years ago, millions of people were propelled into action after seeing the distressing video of a beautiful large turtle with a plastic straw wedged deep inside its nose (proboscis). Paper alternatives quickly became popular but as they go soggy so quickly, they’re useless for more than one drink and may not be recyclable in your area. When you stop to consider the whole timeline involved in creating a paper straw – everything from the day the tree is planted to the day the straw lands in your drink – it’s possible that a couple of decades will have passed!

The answer lies not just in producing more environmentally friendly alternatives, but in switching our whole mindset away from consumerism and towards a more sustainable life – even if that isn’t pretty and colour co-ordinated. 

The sustainability and zero waste movements in the online space are very much geared towards consumerism and beauty. They’re designed to make us want to make our homes look just as fantastic as their images. Every day, thousands of photos are uploaded to sites like Pinterest and Instagram that reinforce an ideal that in order to be doing sustainability right, you have to buy a perfectly curated set of storage solutions, kitchen jars and stationery items. Now, there’s nothing wrong with buying new items to support your long-term goals to reduce waste, in fact as I write this, I’ve just upgraded my 4 year-old passata jars for larger 2kg Kilner jars and swapped my old plastic soap dispenser for a pretty amber glass one with a matt black pump. It now makes me smile every time I walk into the kitchen! But my point is, that you don’t have to buy new items or make sure everything is tastefully co-ordinated. 

True sustainability is perfect in its imperfections. 

Veganism is another area where many people feel that because they aren’t ready or willing to give up everything a vegan gives up, that perhaps it’s not worth trying. But remember: 

Anything done imperfectly has more impact than nothing done perfectly! 

As consumers, the future of the planet rests on our shoulders. How and where we spend our money is important. And it’s crucial that we spend our money in a way that feels aligned to our values. 

So many of us grow up adopting our parents’ beliefs and values as our own. Or maybe the beliefs and values of our culture, our country, our race. But you’re a free-thinking human being who has the ability to adapt and evolve and create a whole new life based on who you are today and who you want to become in the future. 

It’s time to reconnect to YOU. 

To sit and reflect on who you are, what you want and how you will make that happen. 

To consider your hopes and dreams, your beliefs and your values.

To live life on your terms.

And, most importantly, to stop judging others for their choices, even if they aren’t in alignment with yours. Each one of us is doing the best we can, in this moment, with the resources, knowledge and life experience we have. 

 

Lorraine xx

**This article was first published in The Jersey Life Magazine in the Late Summer 2022 edition.**

orchard

Create a better future

Standing in your truth and staying strong in a messy world

Planet Earth has become a pretty crazy place to live in recent years and it’s probably fair to say that we’ll be seeing even more craziness in years to come. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about the skills that we’d need between us to pull together and keep our community running smoothly, providing everyone with food and shelter, emotional support and health care.

I’ve jokingly said to many people over the years that my dating profile should emphasise the need for a man who can grow vegetables, make a fire and build a home! A Patrick Dempsey lookalike who would come in from the garden with large handfuls of organic kale…. Hmm, I digress! 

In all seriousness, if we were thrust into a difficult global situation where normal life as we know it was to end, what would you do for yourself, your family and your community? How would you remain strong physically, emotionally and spiritually? What resources would you share? What would you grow, produce or create? Would your resilience stand up to significant stress? How would your personal values be challenged and would you be able to stand in your truth?

I’d like to think that I’d have plenty to offer and would be able to support many people using skills I’ve learned over my lifetime alongside my intuitive gifts of energy work, compassion and love. If the internet disappeared and my copywriting services were no longer needed, I’d definitely become the village ‘wise woman’ and cook, making meals from limited (plant-based) locally grown ingredients and keeping everyone healthy and well fed! What would you do?

While I’m 99% certain we’re not going to end up in a post-apocalyptic style world anytime soon, I do believe it’s worth reflecting on the ways in which we can live a more sustainable, nourishing and deeply satisfying life while simultaneously reducing our impact on the environment.

Here are 7 areas in which we can all play a role in creating a better future for ourselves, our community and our planet:

  • Growing your own produce

    If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, or at least a patio area or balcony, then growing vegetables and fruit is a no-brainer. You don’t have to become 100% self-sufficient (this is almost impossible), but learning to grow food successfully and harvest seeds without the use of harmful pesticides is a vitally important skill for human survival. We’re so far removed from our food at present, buying most items in packaging from supermarkets, and this needs to change. If you don’t live in accommodation with outside space, you can support local growers by buying from farm shops or individuals, or team up with friends and use an allotment space.

  • Taking care of your health

    If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being fit and healthy is a priority (for physical and mental health) and that our medical ‘health care’ system is really a ‘sick care’ system and isn’t really that interested in supporting our wellness journey. If we were all more active outdoors every day, ate less processed food and more fresh produce, spent less time on our phones and computers, spent less time isolated indoors, cooked more meals from scratch, consumed less alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, and took steps to improve our relationships with people, money and nature, then we’d see a huge improvement in health markers across all demographics.

  • Using less fossil fuels and petrol

    With the rapidly rising costs in home fuel bills, food and petrol, we need to be practising mindful consumption while also thinking creatively and finding innovative solutions for the future. What if our government paid for every house to have solar panels fitted? How many jobs would that create and what would it mean to not rely on power from France? What about creating energy through wind and tidal power? We need to start taking action now not create a plan for improvements by 2030 or 2040! 

  • Re-using pre-loved items

    Up-cycling furniture, buying or swapping pre-loved clothes, finding innovative ways to use waste materials in the building process and creating a circular economy that considers a product and its packaging for its entire lifecycle. 

  • Up-skill yourself

    Learning new skills is great for your mental health, brilliant for your earning potential and could bring new opportunities you’ve never considered. What would you love to learn more about? Which physical skill would you love to perfect?

  • Find your tribe

Too many people are held back through lack of confidence and courage when they feel like no-one in their immediate circle understands them. Use the internet to find people who have the same goals, dreams, beliefs and values. Talk about the things you’re passionate about and trust that the right people will see and hear your message. 

  • Stop eating meat, animal products and using items made from animal skins

    Even if you’ve never considered a vegan lifestyle, our planet is at a crucial tipping point. (Watch anything by David Attenborough if you don’t believe me!) It is imperative that we all make changes to support the future of human life on Earth. Wouldn’t it be an absolute travesty if thousands of years of incredible human history were entirely wiped out due to one greedy generation who couldn’t give up chicken, steak and ice cream? A few billion people who cared more about their insatiable appetite for consumption than this incredible planet rich in billions of species of animal, insect and plant life…

Now is the time for action. 

While it might seem tragically overwhelming at times, we’re actually incredibly blessed to be living in this era. I’d love to see us all go down in history as the generation who saved the planet from global warming; the generation who struggled through immense chaos to bring forth a ‘new Earth’, where humans created and lived with nature rather than against it.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to know that in a thousand years, elephants and tigers were still roaming the lush plains of Africa, whales and turtles were swimming happily around clean oceans and the coral reefs had returned to their bright, beautiful colours?

Lorraine xx

*This article was first published in The Jersey Life magazine – Spring 2022 edition.

Time to Start Living The Good Life?

This article was written for The Jersey Life magazine and first published online on 13 January 2022.

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Time. It appears to be ever present and yet it’s invisible. We have clocks and calendars to measure time in a linear fashion, and yet every passing day feels different to each of us. There are moments of panic, stress or grief when time stands still, and there are moments where the hours just disappear as we get lost in creative passions, a new romance or the simple pleasures of life. 

Time is a perception created in our own minds. All we ever have is this moment right now and it’s up to us what we make of it.

Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. And another. Close your eyes and place one hand on your heart.  Gift yourself the magic of simply BEing in the present moment. You are worthy of your most generous love and attention. 

Life in a global pandemic has gifted us opportunities to slow down, appreciate what we have (or who we have in our lives) and the chance to create a new lifestyle that feels like a better ‘fit’. A way of life that feels more aligned to our values, our hopes and our dreams. 

Perhaps Barbara and Tom had it right all along?

The famous British 1970s sitcom ‘The Good Life’ centred around a married couple who dreamed of living a sustainable lifestyle on their own small suburban plot of land but were inevitably faced with endless challenges and disasters and were frequently ridiculed by their wealthy materialistic neighbours, Margot and Jerry. 

In an era of rapid industrial growth, the average 1970s family life was changing due to new time-saving and labour-saving appliances and household items such as washing machines, kettles, vacuum cleaners, disposable nappies and teabags. Suddenly life was becoming easier – which only made Barbara and Tom’s lifestyle choices even more absurd. Why would you choose to make life more difficult for yourself when you had a choice?

I think the joke has been on us …

On an overheating planet with an endless list of hugely important environmental issues, the time has come for more and more of us to grow (at least some of) our own produce, find more sustainable alternatives to plastic and fossil fuels, to reduce our intake of processed foods, meat and dairy, and make the switch away from diesel and petrol fuelled cars. 

In the 70s and 80s we naively bought into the ‘need’ for this new way of life. The average person had no idea about the future impact of their choices on the planet. We became whores to materialism and happily overfilled our trolleys every trip to the supermarket – which of course saved us even more time as we swapped the greengrocer and the baker for the lure of buying everything under one roof. 

1970s humans didn’t know any better. But we do. 

We’re now armed with all the facts, statistics and information. We’ve watched David Attenborough’s documentaries, we’ve listened to Greta Thunberg, we’ve watched Seaspiracy, Cowspiracy, Gamechangers, The True Cost of Fast Fashion and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood. We’ve given up plastic carrier bags and bought paper straws. But it’s not enough.

The Earth cannot feed almost 8 billion people and feed over 60 billion animals each year. Something has to change. 

We need unity.

And right now, there is separation, fear and division.

We’ve become a ‘them versus us’ society.

We are so judgemental and quick to label people that we’ve forgotten the true essence of human beings: that we’re all completely individual and unique. Our fingerprints, our irises, our personalities. All biochemically individual and beautifully unique. 

In Jersey, I believe we’re perfectly positioned to step up as a role model for the world. But only if we come together as one. Each playing our small role as part of a collective goal. 

We live on an island with a great climate and lots of green space for growing produce. We have the money, infrastructure and technology to make more homes solar powered. We have the potential for energy powered by wind and waves. We have land that can be used to create allotments and community gardens. We have a huge wealth of practical and creatively skilled islanders. It’s not beyond the scope of reality to suggest that we could become a sustainable island where everyone has the chance to eat locally grown, organic produce, lead an active, healthy lifestyle free from poverty and have access to first class medical care. 

It’s easy to romanticise the sustainable life, but to live 100% sustainably as an individual family in Jersey is difficult. Probably impossible. But if we never try because we believe it’s going to be impossible, then we’ll never get anywhere! 

The truth is, no-one wants to give up their comfortable life. But what does a comfortable life actually look like to you? And do you want to live just a comfortable life, or do you dream of wild adventures, excitement and constant expansion?

I think that this is why so many brilliant ideas never get off the ground – because we’re always looking at what we might lose and not what we will gain. We live in a society where the default mindset is to perceive that someone is always out to get us or make life difficult: the taxman, the ferry company, the slow cyclist in rush hour. But, just as time is a perception of the mind, so is this mindset that makes us cling on to what we know and to stay in our comfort zones. We’re greedy, impatient, selfish and self-centred.

It’s time to let go. 

To take a deep breath in and to let it out with a long, audible sigh.

Regardless of your viewpoint on the main topic du jour, it’s time for us to come together with less separation, fear and division. We need to find common ground instead of driving wedges, creating labels and putting people in boxes.

It’s time for love, compassion and kindness.

It’s time for us all to stand side by side with the shared goal of a more sustainable way of life that’s kinder to the planet, kinder to animals, helps bring people out of poverty and encourages everyone to be the happiest and healthiest version of themselves. 

Are you with me?

Lorraine xx

Intuitive copywriter, author and digital content creator

If you’d like Lorraine to write blogs and articles for your business, please email lorraine@thesoulfulword.com