An eco-friendly challenge

An eco-friendly challenge

In December I joined the Christmas Cchallenge by cCHANGE, an Oslo-based company working on transformations to sustainability and engaging people as the solution to climate change and other sustainability challenges. The challenge was to explore a more conscious December and make one small change for the environment every day throughout the month. You can read more about the challenge, reflections and the process here

This beautiful artwork by @randizafman is the perfect illustration for this challenge. Throughout December I focused on more eco-friendly choices. I did small changes every day that eventually led me to a big change. With knowledge and a shift in perspective, comes better choices and lasting changes. For some of the participants it was about eating vegan a few days a week (I am already vegan, but I can make better choices), reduce food waste, walking, zero waste and yoga. Just in the first few days I changed quite a few things. I found reusable produce bags from a local small business and raised my consciousness around the use of plastic.

The goal was to choose one challenge. I had so many things I wanted to do, so I ended up with a list of challenges, but with help from the team I managed to narrow it down to one; “Less plastic”. You can of course always do more, so can I and so I did.

Here is my list of challenges for the environment;

  • More sustainable grocery shopping, more local and seasonal produce
  • Avoiding plastic bags
  • Minimize plastic use/packaging
  • Small clean-up actions like picking up trash when out for walks along the beach/forest
  • Bringing my metal straw, spark conversations about the use of plastic
  • Environmental friendly wrapping for gifts
  • Less waste with using glass jars and stainless steel containers/mason jars for leftovers and storage.

Here’s some of the changes I made…and still are doing. To not make this post too long, I’ve just included a little bit of the texts. If you want to read more, you can have a look at cCHANGE´s website.

Hope you get inspired to make some changes yourself, even if it is small ones…they matter too. And remember it’s not about doing everything, but doing something. It’s not about being perfect, but doing the best you can.

Sustainable grocery shopping

From researching reusable bags to buying them from a small local eco-business, sparking a conversation about less plastic and doing my first sustainable grocery shopping, I see change coming. I’m changing a habit. A habit of reaching for those plastic bags at the supermarket. Here’s sustainable produce bags and only local produced food! Everything on this table grows here too. A big eco-friendly bag of watermelon, oranges, pomegranates, bananas, mint, avocados, butternut squash, celery, potatoes, leak, fresh corn, carrots, onions, broccoli and beetroots. The bags are washable, good quality with high durability, which makes them more sustainable.

Sustainable grocery shopping

The Ethical Hierarchy Of Gift Purchasing 

I found this graphic to be quite inspiring. It made me think more about how I can give more sustainable gifts..not just for Christmas. My all time favorite is the one on the top. To give and receive experiences that leads to memories. I’m thinking about the challenge and how I can change what I give. I think this hierarchy of gift purchasing is helping me do that. The few things I will be buying will be to support a local small ethical business…the rest further up in the hierarchy. And I’ll be more creative when it come to gift wrapping, (no plastic or non-recyclable gift paper that ends up as waste)It also doesn’t have to look boring to be eco-friendly.

Eco-friendly gifts

Some of my Christmas gifts. They don’t have to look boring to be eco-friendly

My attempt of wrapping Christmas gifts more eco-friendly. I’ve wrapped gifts like this before, but I’ve always also used xmas gift paper (the non-recyclable ones and those plastic wrapping ribbons too). First year with non of that. Anyways..I think they look pretty lovely. I used tape on the first one…then I tried without…easy peasy without!!! The best gifts I still think is to give experience, but you can be creative and wrap them up both eco-friendly and niceA

A plastic ocean

Highly recommend watching this movie! It’ll make you understand even more how important it is to reduce our plastic use

Other documentaries to watch

I’d like to share something with you. A love for documentaries. Nature. Animals. Our beautiful planet. The environment and our impact on it. Our food industry.  Here’s some suggestions;

~ Planet Earth

~ Blue Planet

~ Tales by light (beautiful fragile areas seen through various photographers)

~ Life 

~ Frozen Planet

~ Africa 

All about our beautiful planet! 

The next ones are about food industries….the “truths” in these I think always needs a critical eye, as in every doco. We learn new ways, and we discover new “truths”.

~ Food. Inc

~ Forks over knives 

~ What the health

~ Cowspiracy (it’s been a few years since I saw this one, but it made me look more into the destruction cause by the mass scale factory farming/the meat industry)

~ Rotten 

These ones I’d like to see soon; 

~ True cost (fashion industry)

~ Before the flood

~ Chasing ice, chasing coral 

~ Minimalism 

It’s good to read, but why not watch a documentary too? 

Better to do something than nothing!

That’s one nice message to walk around with. I got this as gift from some of the guests in a tour group I had for Carpe Diem Reiser.

I’ve been thinking about the questions from the cChallenge team and what we choose to do. And how we can end up blaming the system instead. I choose to do something instead of blaming the system.

To come back to the motivation behind joining this challenge is something I think is absolutely necessary especially when we’re blaming the system. This is the “easy” way out, or what can I say…justifies not doing so much…when we blame we give up our control/our responsibility. We do less. I think this is so important to be aware of, as people including myself find excuses for not doing something because of the system…small or big. Like “What’s the point? What can I do? I’m just one person. What about….?” (Fill in anything…..Whataboutism). I found myself thinking a lot about this challenge, and coming back to the motivation when I for example look at all the plastic everywhere, the shops, consumers, the trash bins filled with waste mix (plastic, glass, general waste, food waste ect) and very little recycling.

Doing it for the lives of other beings we share this earth with

I took this photo of the Endangered sea turtles last year as they were making their way into the ocean at Lara Beach Turtle Conservation Project, Cyprus

The “WHY” is bigger than the frustration. I believe in small changes and that they lead to a big change, small steps, ripples, influencing others…I do this out of LOVE for nature and animals….so many of them….Like these little baby sea turtles in this photo. Loggerhead and Green sea turtle, two endangered species (I took the photo at a turtle conservation project here). Just a few of the species that suffers from our plastic ocean. They get tangled in fishing nets, they get plastic straws up their nose and they eat plastic bags that will kill them.

That ONE time when I had sparkling nails…vegan of course;) But that’s not the point. You know those cheap plastic flip flops? They often don’t last long and they often end up in the ocean. And they end up in the food chain too. If you have the chance, go for a more sustainable option like these ones..made from ropes and can be washed. They are also super comfy!

Thing is I believe we can make a change. And I think it starts with ourselves. It might be a clichè; “Be the change you wish to see”, but it’s true. And the world doesn’t need a few persons doing it perfect, but a lot of imperfect actions…small actions by everyone! Don’t not do it, cause you can’t be 100% perfect…no one is!

Say no to plastic straws and single use plastic

Carry a metal straw in your hand bag, and say no to plastic straws everywhere you go…

Glass jars for storing left-overs instead of plastic wrapping

Before I would just use plastic wrapping over left-overs, but anything can be stored in glass jars or just put a plate to cover the food instead

Choosing more eco-friendly options

My toiletries are getting replaced (after used up of course) with greener and kinder options. All cruelty free and vegan

Look at these swaps better for environment than plastic waste! None of these products came in plastic….Before ALL of these things I use came in plastic or where made of plastic! All in a glass yars and metal lid. Toothpaste, scrub (face and body no plastic beadlets), coconut oil (I use for removing makeup), cotton pads in plastic is swapped with reusable ones (handmade by my friend´s mother) plastic toothbrush with bamboo and Biodegradable. Spoons made of wood, bamboo. Floss in plastic swapped with biodegradable ones in glass. Plastic q-tip with wood ones. Shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles for bars in a paper box. Why didn’t I do this before? I got these eco-friendly, cruelty free and vegan products and makeup from a small online business in Nicosia called “The Buddha Island”.

Choosing cruelty free, vegan and more eco-friendly makeup

Before all of these makeup products I used to buy, came in plastic…made of plastic, wrapped in plastic..ect. Now I’m not only looking for vegan products, but also more environmental friendly ones
Some of the things I started with…Coconut bowls and wooden spoons are super great to bring camping instead of single-use plastic. And my metal bottle that I carry around;)

Some good news around the world

Some good news on what’s being done with the worlds plastic problem

National Geographic has written an article where they track some of the developments around the world when it comes to what is being done with the plastic pollution challenge. You can read it here

We often fall for this idea that “someone” should do something about it, without realizing that YOU are that “someone”…

Eating out is better than take away

Eat more plants! Better for the planet too. And eating out instead of take away…Except from take away from this place – Meraki Market Cafe is an eco-friendly cafe (with a little shop too) and you could always try to carry your own containers with you.

31 days of small changes…and it’s certainly not the end, it’s a beginning. I’ve definitively had the most conscious December I have ever had before!! I’ve never thought so much about my habits before, but I know what we give focus to, often leads to a change. It just matters what kind of focus we have. I’ve also experienced being frustrated, angry and sad at “the system”, but quickly moved away from it because I needed to shift my focus on to the smaller systems around me and the belief that we all can do something.. and that it matters. 

I’ve explored the practical sides of change in finding better solutions and making it more easy to change habits. I get inspired by seeing others change and I knowing that these small steps eventually leads to a big change. I’ve decided to share more and talk more about change. About habits. About plastic. About solutions.

From knowing comes caring and from caring comes change. I think this is really important. 

Watch those documentaries even if they make you feel sad, or frustrated because they are showing you a bit of “the ugly truth”. Research and read about better options. Share knowledge and inspiration with others. And show others there are other, kinder and better options…And believe that you can make a difference. Be the change you wish to see…

The time after the challenge made me swap out more of my plastic products, and become more conscious when I’m buying clothes, food, makeup, toiletries and other things….Less plastic!

This is my travel bag. I just call it travel bag, but it´s really almost everything I use… Cruelty free, Vegan, eco-friendly and some less waste products. I know I need to swap out the women’s monthly stuff…And get one of those cups;)

I hope you found some tips you can easily incorporate into your life:)

Peace & Love and all that…..& remember to eat more plants;)

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