As promised, blog post number two will highlight how I currently live. This will hopefully give you ideas on how you can be Ethical in London and help me see where and how I can improve. I’ll break it down into sections to make it a tad more bitesize [and because I just love to be efficient]
1.Eating and Drinking
Shop local, shop organic, shop independent, shop healthily. I buy all my fresh food locally at Chrisp Street market for pennies, my spices in the local Indian stores and a few other treats from independent organic health food stores.If I do buy processed foods I aim for organic, fairtrade, recyclable earth friendly products from stores with an ethical and sustainable ethos within my local community.Quick guide- if its in a package, it is processed, don’t let modern marketing fool you!
Cooking is really important to me. I love to do it and I especially love knowing what’s in my food. I (as many modern women ;)) don’t always have time/energy/effort to cook daily so I always make a big portion and freeze into meal size portions. This uses less fuel per meal, allows me to always have a quick and fulfilling meal on the go and means all my market veggies get used while they are fresh.
Since we’re Ethical London we must be British and talk about tea. I’m a traitor to the English Cuppa and now I only drink actual herbal tea. The journey from tea leaves to tea bag has many negative environmental effects. To avoid; chemically bleached tea bags, the transport carbon footprint, factory processing, modern slavery, land abuse and the many other things behind the innocent tea bag I use all fresh ingredients in a teapot. My go to drinks at the moment are lemon, lemon rind, leaves from my mint plant, fresh ginger from the market and cinnamon sticks.
Guess what….? I have a bike. I cycle to and from and in between jobs every day. Its good for my heart, my health, my wallet and the environment. I recommend cycling to everyone in London. It can be daunting at first but it definitely changed my life for the better.
International travel: okay, not great for me. In the last 18 months I have been on 26 flights. Bad carbon footprint certainly but how else can I travel to so many amazing places? Suggestions please anyone!
As an outdoor enthusiast my hobbies are all outdoorsy and quite physical. They are also all free* and can be shared with a community of people: climbing, hiking, slacklining, cycling, walking, crafts, learning Ukulele, blogging, cooking and chalk drawing.
*Climbing is free as I work in the centre, sorry!
4. Volunteering and Activism
This is where I really let myself down. I am actively sharing my views with people who are interested and enjoy urging people to make more ethical choices. I have only been back in London for 2 weeks at this point so I cut myself a little slack but I really want to be part of a local group for social change. I am lucky to be involved in a local clean up on 26th August 2015 with the Lower Regents Coalition and will be exploring opportunities with local mental health charity Sane in the coming weeks. If you have any suggestions for more proactive groups in East London I’d love you to share your ideas with me!
This one is a little easier for me. In May 2015 I left renting for 3 months to travel. I donated many of my belongings to a local blind charity Geranium, put 8 boxes in storage and left with my backpack. In this time I really understand the difference between “need” and “want”. So the answer to shopping for me is that I don’t “need” anything. If I get to a point where I do I’ll either; borrow from a friend, shop in a local charity shop, buy from an online charity shop or buy from an ethical store where I know the products are cruelty-free for humans and animals.
4. Beauty Products
Luckily I’m not so bothered about make-up but this is an area I need to improve in. I am currently using my remaining toiletries from before my travels, most of these products I would not buy now and this is a particular area for improvement for me. I no longer want plastic bottles in my bathroom. Shampoo and conditioner can both be in soap form so I will utilise ethically made vegan society approved soaps, maybe even soaps made locally! I already use a fantastic Neem Oil vegan soap which is incredible and very long lasting. For make up I still need to research more, what I thought would be an easy go to shop was The Body Shop however they are owned by L’oreal. The Body Shop are boycotted by many for animal welfare reasons as Body Shop profits will support the animal-testing practices funded outside of the EU by the parent company. Help please?
A little bit of inspiration
From re-reading my post I can see my ethos is mainly focused around buying ethical products and choosing local as frequently as possible. These are two things every person can do, even on a budget, I am proof of that. Becoming and being a conscientious consumer makes me so happy. I really want to share that happiness with you so maybe tomorrow make one small change to be local and ethical. Be inspired and even better, inspire me!