What I know I don't know

We are a few months into our sustainability project, and I have learned a lot in that time. The most important lesson is probably that I know very little of what sustainability actually means. 

Sustainability defined

The straight forward definition according to Google, is:

- the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
"the sustainability of economic growth"
- avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
"the pursuit of global environmental sustainability"

So, the definition for me and my family would be:
- to keep our finances in order, save up and be mindful of not wasting money
- to do what we can to stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally
- to make sure we make organic, durable, long lasting decisions for all our investments, big and small

A challenging commitment

And we are off to a fairly good start. It is challenging more or less every day, but just having made the commitment to ourselves makes us aware of what we buy, and if it is something that we need to have, or if it is only nice to have.

Some of the good things have been:
- I spend less money, because I consider every purchase before I buy
- I am considerably better at recycling
- I always look for organic/sustainable options before I buy

Some things that we struggle with:
- we throw away too much food
- we have really low quality kitchen appliances, that use way too much energy (thanks previous owners!)

Waste not, want not

An almost daily annoyance is the waste of food. So what I am trying to do, is plan my way out of it. I make a weekly meal plan, and try to reuse ingredients in the different dishes. When I look for recipes online I try to use the ones that calculate the amount you need of the different ingredients, and buy only as much as I need. It is a challenge though, because very often things are packed in bulk (Spring onion can apparently only be sold in packs of five!), and the bigger you buy, the cheaper it is. For a small family of three, buying in bulk isn't an option. And when there is only one person in the household that eats liver paté - and said person being the smallest one -  throwing some of it out on a weekly basis is almost impossible to avoid. Getting organic liver paté in smaller containers is not possible, as far as I know. But I am slowly getting better, and figuring out little hacks to avoid wasting food. Pro tip: don't go shopping on an empty stomach! It is not good for your wallet, your waste line or the environment...

Making a weekly meal plan, and buying smaller, might not save the planet by itself. But I recon every small step in the right direction, will get you to your goal in the end, and it is definitely worth a try. 

Sustainable Me

Do you want to make a difference? For the planet, for the people around you, for yourself? Or all of the above? 

What can you do?

I do, and I have been thinking a lot lately about what I can really do. What difference can I as an individual make? When you look at the state of things in the news it is easy to feel disheartened, to feel helpless. But then when you look closer there are so many people fighting for what is good, for the environment, for the voiceless, for the better. And it is possible. Good is possible. It might not be easy, it might not be quick, it might not seem like much, but if we all do small things every day, we will create ripples that will spread and spread, touching more and more lives as it goes. 

The challenge

So I have decided to challenge myself. I want to try to live sustainably for the entire year. I don't think I have any idea of how hard this endeavour will be. It will touch on every aspect of my life, and the life of my family. We mostly buy only organic food already, so that won't be such a big change, but what about other things like kitchenware? Clothes? Make up? Art supplies, books, shoes, toys, plants, cleaning supplies, petrol for our car? What if we need a new sofa? Or a new computer? We need to rethink our buying habits. I can't just pop down to the mall and buy a strainer. I need to make sure it is sustainably sourced and has longevity. I can't just pop by my favourite clothes shop on my way home from work and treat myself. Or buy pay per weight Friday sweets for my daughter. 

But that might not be a bad idea. Surely having to think twice about a purchase will make it easier not to buy it. Because I do buy a lot of things I don't need. Sometimes I treat myself to something I already have two of in my wardrobe, just because it feels good. And in the end, who pays for that?  

What does it mean?

But also, what does sustainable even mean? Organic only? Does second hand count? Or something non sustainably made, but in high quality that will last me a long time? I actually have no idea, but I will give it a go. A lot of time and research on the internet will most likely make me a lot more informed. And hopefully at the end of 2018 sustainability won't seem like such a big challenge, but be a natural part of our lives.  

Share your resources

If you have any resources to share I would highly appreciate it, either here in the comments or on Instagram. Hit me up with your favourite articles, shops, brands, you name it, that makes a difference for the environment. Let's make some ripples!