3 simple ways to be more sustainable

If ever there was a joke that went too far... it happened, and nobody is sure what the future will bring.

Hopefully, most policy making will be as slow and redundant as it historically has been. But let's face it, with the far-right swing in US politics a big, steamy, greenhouse gas-oozing turd has just been dropped on the Paris Climate Accord. That turds name is Donald Trump.

Carbon reduction targets... YOU'RE FIRED!

I'm not about to go on a rant to tell you the earth is dying. We know the ice is melting.  

Three sustainable changes, you can commit to right now...

1. Move your super

I genuinely believe in what Australian Ethical Super are doing and I have personally transferred all of my superannuation to them. For starters, they don't invest in fossil fuel companies unlike other big funds. Ethical funds consistently outperform on returns, customer service and giving a crap about the planet.

Consider the 27,000 people who are with Australian Ethical. That's a hypothetical shitload of cash removed from unethical, environmentally destructive companies. Assuming each existing Australian Ethical customer has $50k in their fund. Added up a collective $1.35billion dollars of lost play money for fracking, mining and non-civic infrastructure. Ouch!

It is surprisingly easy and quick to set up, and port all existing super across online by clicking here.

2. slow down your wardrobe

This one is a bit trickier, but there is a lot of help out there from The Minimlists, Project333 and Unfancy. I've been working towards this for a while now, slowly moving towards 'basics' and a simple style. I'm only buying from companies that rate well on ethical fashion watchdog sites like goodonyou.org.au and buying SLOW FASHION. Slow fashion refers to ethically sourced materials and labour, and encourages repair over replacement and quality over quantity. The day I decided to 'style' myself like a dude at a diner in the 1950's was the day my morning routine became all about food and coffee, not getting dressed. 

After buying my Red Wing boots I pledged to keep them running for 20 years. I also set a goal to have just three pairs of shoes: boots, running shoes and bare feet (or maybe thongs if there are bindis). My wardrobe is slowly getting smaller via eBay sales and charity donations, and the more I lose, the better I feel. Like Weight Watchers, but for clutter not lard.

3. get a coffee

As an individual it often feels like you can't truly influence sustainable change amounting to any impact on such a large problem.

That thinking is bullshit.

Stop it, flip it around and change your attitude.

In a year of dedication to a re-usable coffee cup you and two friends (let's say two colleagues) will have collectively avoided the waste of at least 5,670 paper cups in a year (based on 6 coffees a week... like it's not closer to 20).

That's 56kg of paper, 24 packs of low-gloss A4 from office works. You've drunk a small forest. Reusable coffee cups are durable, available everywhere and tell people around you that you are a conscious consumer. Try it. I guarantee you will hand your reusable cup to a Barista and get a big public compliment about your environmental effort within a month of buying one.

There are a few reusable cup brands that create sustainably produced vessels:

  • I have a BioPak cup - I got mine from the Marrickville Markets, held on Sundays
  • REI make a more rugged 'camping' models, and they  have more than just cups if you want to start taking plates to brunch? (we're not quite there yet)
  • And then there is the self-explanatory "I am not a paper cup" cup

With steps like this in mind, it's easy to feel like YOU are in control, YOU can facilitate environmental discussion, and, above all YOU can help create a groundswell of change within a few clicks of your mouse or a coffee with friends.

I also want to point out that none of the companies mentioned above pay me any money or even know that I'm writing about them.