Environment – What can we as individuals do? (4)

Yes, I did still not give up on this one! Especially after all the fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil as well as Bolivia, fires in Indonesia and Malaysia and so so many other countries. By now we should all know that a lot of these fires were not an accident but were lit on purpose and that this happens every year. Every year forests are burned to provide more space for agriculture. Now you’d say that the government has to change something about this which is correct but what can we as individuals do about this?

All it needs is a quick google search ‚how to stop the deforestation‘ and here is what came up:

  1. Plant a tree.
  2. Go paperless.
  3. Recycle and buy recycled products.
  4. Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on wood and wood products.
  5. Eat vegetarian meals as often as possible.

Find this info on the website Mother Nature Network. So let us work through these points at first.

1. Plant a tree.

This point caught my attention because of Greta Thunberg and Evelina Utterdahl as @Earthwanderess on Instagram and then again about a month ago when Lucy Biggers posted about offsetting the carbon footprint of your flight. I am guilty of flying, a lot! Sometimes there seems to be no other possibility because of time or money, but I do get the point that we should avoid unnecessary flights. So we should ask ourselves, are there other possibilities to go there? Recently I went to London and decided to go by train instead of flying. We should also consider our travel behaviour. Yes, a weekend trip to Rome is fun but shouldn’t we rather stay somewhere closer to home which is accessible by train? If there is no other option or you absolutely want to spend those few days in Rome, how about offsetting the carbon footprint of your flight as Lucy Biggers suggests? And now don’t tell me you do not have the money! If you have enough money to travel, you sure do have enough to plant a few trees.

The idea is more or less to rebalance your offset, to do so you calculate your carbon footprint for which you can use Terrapass or myclimate where you can calculate your flights, car, cruise etc. In a few days, I am flying to Riga, as going by train and bus/boat would take way too long. So for my flight Frankfurt to Riga, my carbon footprint is 1,020 lbs of CO2e. That’s equivalent to planting 12 urban trees (calculation done with Terrapass). From there I use One Tree Planted where you can choose the country or projects they have and choose from 1 to 100 trees to plant. 

Btw here is a link with which you can plant one tree for free Here’s a free tree. Just go on ‚plant a tree‘, choose the country you want to plant your tree and add it to your cart. Go on checkout where you will have to add your contact details and on the right-hand side the discount code should be mentioned. When you continue to pay it should say ‚Your order is free. No payment is required.‘ There you go, you just planted one tree.

Another site is The Ocean Foundation which I have not used yet. There you enter the amount you would like to offset, so in my case 1,020 and they calculate how much money you will have to donate, in my case, it would be 20$.

How do you know if that money goes where it should? I have been asking myself that question as well. On charity navigator, The Ocean Foundation has some good reviews.

So in short, plant trees people! If it is because you want to offset your carbon footprint of a flight or any travel in general if it is a gift for a birthday or monthly. Do it!!

2. Go paperless.

Do they mean that we should not use paper anymore? I am not sure. I would say the best would be to go zero waste or at least to try it, starting grocery shopping. Since my recent posts Week 1: Vegan & Plastic-free Life, Vegan & Plastic-free Life – Second try and Lets’ say week 3: Vegan & Plastic-free things have changed. We, me and my mother, slowly change our habits. Always taking reusable bags to do grocery shopping and use reusable nets for fruits and vegetables. I finally went to Le bocal, which is a shop without wrapping, meaning you have to bring your containers. I switched to a bamboo toothbrush, use soap instead of shampoo and shower gel. My mom even started to make her own dishwashing soap.

Asking myself what more I can change, I remembered a German blog I found a while ago and decided to look for more answers. 100 Tipps & Tricks – Plastikfrei Leben ohne Müll (German) / 100 Tips & Tricks – Plastic-free life without garbage. Let us see what I did change from that list, starting in personal hygiene and products. So as already mentioned I switched to a bamboo toothbrush, use soaps instead of shampoo and shower gel in a plastic container, I have a reusable menstruation cup, my skincare is package free (or at least you can give it back to the shop, where they’ll recycle it) and my make-up is vegan. We use soap bars instead of liquid soap and both have reusable cotton pads as well as bamboo cotton buds.  I am trying a powdered deodorant and use cotton tissues which you can wash, just like my grandparents. Next step is an alternative for my toothpaste. Now that we are done in the bathroom, let us go to the kitchen. As already mentioned we go grocery shopping without plastic bags, which is easy for fruits and vegetables. It is a bit more difficult to buy non-dairy milk or coffee etc. I try to bring my own containers if possible. Regarding kitchenware, we did not replace the plastic ones because I think we should use them as long as possible, but if something has to be replaced, we look for an alternative like glass or bamboo.

3. Recycle and buy recycled products.

Here I mainly have to think about the clothes we buy, as some people go on a monthly or weekly shopping trip to buy more and more things, they actually don’t really need. These days have been over for me, already quite a while. Off course I do still buy things like clothes and accessories etc but not as frequently as I might have a few years ago. I try to buy in second-hand shops or little local stores, also I want to look into websites that sell recycled clothes or accessories. Once I have enough about that I might write something about it. In the meantime, check out @Earthwanderess on Instagram, she has story highlights about Sustainable Fashion, as well as Underwear and Jewellery.

When grocery shopping I try to buy things in jars (rather big ones if possible) so that I can keep these afterwards and store things in them. The goal is to throw away as little as possible. Maybe we should all start being more creative and see how we can give a second life to ‚trash‘.

4. Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on wood and wood products.

I cannot really say anything about this point but I will consider it in the future when getting my own place. Even though I think I’ll just get used furniture again and save the coins for future trips-

5. Eat vegetarian meals as often as possible.

Might I add to this point to eat vegan meals as often as possible and I am not talking about the fancy vegan meals. Also, buy local products and if possible from farmers markets, this way we invest our money in little companies.

Week 1: Vegan & Plastic-free Life

Vegan & Plastic-free Life – Second try

Lets’ say week 3: Vegan & Plastic-free

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