Sustainable Consumption

I grew in the hilly, leafy suburbs of South East London where trees scattered through the high rises and Victorian homes. Up high the London skyline lingered with St Paul’s and the Post Office Tower dominating the horizon. It was a time when petrol was leaded and rosewood and mahogany furniture filled my parents home. The world was small, London was less developed and I didn’t think about my future, let alone the children I would one day give birth to.

That was in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. My home now is very different to my parents and most likely very different to most of the middle classes, especially those who drive their Discovery Land Rovers. I am conscientious of my material, land, carbon and water footprint, unlike my parents but probably like my grandparents.

As a consumer my greatest dilemma in the philosophy of sustainable consumption is that it feels unclear whose role it is to ensure that the limited resources on our planet are used with the care and understanding that the air we breath, the water we drink and materials we extract from the earth are finite.

Capturing carbon is virtually non-existent in the square mile of the City, with a few trees fighting for survival between the concrete and paving slabs. The main roundabout at Elephant and Castle in South East London has a brick wall dedicated to carbon capture but it is the only wall I’ve noticed. London’s ability to clean the air we breath is stuck in the Victorian era where horse drawn carriages once transported people.

There are few water fountains too, my thirsty self always ends up with a new plastic bottle of water to quench my thirst, part of our throw-away culture where it will end up in a land fill or depending on the London borough your in, will be recycled. I’m always mindful of the fact that the bottle has been created from the resources of Earth. I struggle with buying a bottle of water.

This blog is a record of my life, living in a culture that struggles to live sustainably. It’s a micro analysis of how I try my hardest to preserve the limited resources of planet Earth. I have rejected greed and made lots of sacrifices in my life to be a responsible consumer in the hope that corporate greed will one day realise that although humanity is, at the moment infinite, the resources of this planet are not. I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

Micro-beads

no micro beadsIn May 2014 The Independent newspaper were the first to report on the micro-bead ban. In November 2014 I took to the shops to find out which facial products contained the little blighters using the Beat the Micro-bead App. The products to my left are a breath of fresh air to the sustainable consumption movement as in 2014 they contained micro-beads. Today, I’m happy to announce they don’t. For a more comprehensive list of products containing micro-beads, you can either download the Beat the Micro-bead App or email info@beatthemicrobead.org.

As an advocate for everything natural I think it’s important to recognise that I don’t use exfoliating products. Superdrug sell facial sponges that will remove any excess skin from your face, you just need to use it with a facial soap. If you wanted to really think about your material footprint, you could always use the skin buffer with organic, unrefined coconut oil which I also use as a cleanser. And for convenience you can purchase this in your local supermarket. It can be found with all the other cooking oils rather than in the beauty section. Supermarkets haven’t cottoned on yet to the fact that it’s also a beauty product.

Bumble Bees Bumbling

This was one of those hair raising moments that could quite easily replace retail therapy. I could have quite happily followed that bumble bee all day, all week even. It was a moment where nothing else mattered, the world was at peace with itself and bees will live forever.

As it flew away I felt abandoned, I wanted to scream “come back here”. But I didn’t for fear of looking crazed. It had gone, forever and I was left with a nice piece of cinematography that I will cherish forever and ever.

The reality is, humanity is not at peace with itself and bees existence is very much in danger. For a moment in time the bee which I am forever grateful to, fed my inner world, my existence was meaningful with purpose. I didn’t need to suffice my inner desires with consumption, nature did it for me, the best therapeutic moment I’d had in ages and I didn’t need to spend a penny. Possessions please, the poppy was my possession, I’d grown it in my garden. I’d planted the seeds, watered them and watched them grow. I didn’t need retail therapy because I was feeding my soul with the buzz of a bumble bee.