A truly sustainable lifestyle requires some serious effort and a fair number of compromises. For many of us, me included, this feels like too tough a task. That said, there are steps I feel I can continue to take to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle while still doing the things we all love the most.
So, this time last year, I used my New Year’s resolutions to bring me closer to a more ethical and eco-friendlier lifestyle. I have always held myself accountable by writing my New Year’s resolutions down, but this year I felt even more so having shared them with you on this blog.
As 2018 draws to an end, I have found a quiet corner to reflect on the year just gone by.
So how did I do my five sustainable New Year’s resolutions?
1. Introducing sustainable footwear into my wardrobe
Ironically, while I have been banging on about changing the perceptions of sustainable fashion, I myself held outdated beliefs about what sustainable footwear looks like. I discovered that there are in fact lots of cool sustainable shoes on the market and no reason to compromise on style at all. Personally, I was looking to fill a gap in my shoe collection with a pair of trainers for leisure and flat summer sandals. I ended up buying a pair of white VEJA Esplar trainers and a black strappy leather sandal from Ancient Greek – and it is fair to say that they have become some of the most loved items in my wardrobe. Although neutral in colours and pretty basic in shapes, they both add some serious style to any outfit and quickly positioned themselves amongst my favourite pairs of shoes.
2. Increasing the number of meat-free days to 2
I feel it to be so incredibly important that we cut back on our meat-intake in order to fight both climate change and unethical practises in livestock farming, and it is something I have wanted to do for quite a while. However, I really struggled with this resolution due mostly to a mixture of lack of time and inspiration. It is easy to fall back to old patterns when you finally find yourself at the local supermarket at 7pm after a long day and just want to cook something fast. At some point my husband and I went on a mission to Waterstones to buy a vegetarian cookbook and found a beautiful one (yes, even on books I refuse to compromise on style ;-)) with delicious-looking recipes. However, when it came to making some of the dishes, I discovered that they required lots of different ingredients – some specialist – and were quite time consuming. In the end I succeeded on my resolution by living on soups, avocado on rye bread and veggie pizza twice a week – and that’s also OK albeit not overly sophisticated!
3. Minimising impulse fashion buys
Despite my love of fashion, I was surprised to find this relatively easy. As my awareness of fast-fashion’s impact on the planet grows, my need for short-lived fashion trends has been replaced by a wish to invest in longer lived styles. Rather than minimising, I managed to almost entirely eliminate my fashion impulse buys by making myself wait for 24 hours before purchasing anything I liked. In the vast majority of the cases I concluded that I didn’t need it after all and the things I did end up buying were then well-considered and filled a gap in my wardrobe. (most of it from sustainable fashion brands)
4. Carbon offsetting all flights this year
Jetting around the world isn’t super sustainable and in an ideal world I would limit the number of flights to less than a handful, with perhaps just one longer and one shorter trip during the year. The reality is different when both suppliers and your family are based in other countries, which is why I decided to carbon offset all flights taken in 2018. In total it came to 12 return flights, 21233 km and 3.55 tonnes CO2 let into the atmosphere. Yikes. I chose to offset this through The Woodland Trust, donating a total of £53.65 towards the planting of more trees.
5. Finding a sustainable shampoo that works
Having tried quite a few organic shampoos in the past and found that they all made my fine Scandinavian hair either greasy or knotted, my final New Year’s resolution was also the one that I suspected would end in failure. To my great delight, however, I actually found an amazing shampoo and conditioner that works incredibly well with my hair; Label M’s organic orange blossom series. Not only does it leave the hair silky soft and light, it also smells divine.
Overall, I feel I have achieved many of my goals this year, even taking into consideration the Tesco veggie pizza!
It is possible that my resolutions were a little too easy but, in the back of my mind, I felt I was more likely to succeed if they were truly achievable. After all, success makes you happy and spurs you on to make further changes. As an example, I also invested in a solar power charger this year and started carrying a reusable coffee cup around with me. It all adds up and slowly but surely my wardrobe, beauty regime, food intake and travelling habits are becoming more sustainable :-)
How did you do on your New Year’s resolutions this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below for our inspiration.