Sunday, 11 June 2017

Can One Person Really Make A Difference?



There is strength in numbers. A lot of people make more progress in a short amount of time - but that doesn't mean that one individual isn't helping at all, nor does it give anyone the right to discourage their efforts, especially if all they're doing is complaining about something they have the power to change. That on its own is a privilege. 

Today I'm talking about three topics; veganism, minimalists and zero waste lifestyles

At some point in my life, I've attempted all of them.

I was vegan for six weeks in 2016. I was curious and wanted to try it out. It was difficult - coming from a culture where meat is a staple in every meal and considered the sole source of protein, I'd often make a mistake by forgetting being vegan doesn't mean that you don't consume animals or animal by products, but it's an actual lifestyle (unless you choose to just pin-point it to your diet). There's so much  more that goes into it, for example, not buying leather, wool or fur. I stopped being vegan, but I definitely became more aware of my eating habits. Now, I consume less meat, I don't drink any milk and go for alternatives such as soy or almond, nor do I consume a majority of milk products with the exception of cheese, as dairy is also terrible for your skin. I often opt for vegetarian options if they're available or choose vegan ice-cream options when I'm out. They're exactly the same, except no animal was being used in the process. 

Let's get one thing straight - I'm not doing this just for animals. 

Sure, it benefits them, but I'm doing this for me too, as it helps me feel better about my personal lifestyle. I feel content with the food I put into my body, where I buy items due to ethical reasons. I never understood why being seen as a vegan is a bad thing (unless you're shoving your opinion down my throat), because the vegan community is truly making a difference. I wouldn't categorize myself as one because I am far from it, but I definitely am trying. 
The second thing is minimalism. It's very easy for me in terms of clothes and accessories, but more difficult in terms of sentimental items as I'm the worst at throwing things away. (Seriously, I keep receipts of lunch dates with friends, movies I've seen, concert tickets, photos, old papers...) Every month when I purchase something, I keep the receipt and make sure not to buy something similar. I donate clothes often as I only really wear about 15% of my closet, if even that much. I have three pairs of every day shoes and a couple pairs of heels and I don't need anymore.  Admittedly, I do struggle with makeup because I love collecting it. It's totally unnecessary but it's a hobby. 

Like that justifies it.

In any case, as for the sentimental items (postcards, photographs, polaroids, concert tickets) I've gathered them all and put them in a scrapbook so I have somewhat of a use for them now.
The last and probably the most important change I've attempted / am busy attempting is the zero waste lifestyle. It's exactly what you think it is, a lifestyle that produces zero waste. Keep in mind this isn't something you can achieve overnight, it really is a journey and you need to take your time with it, educate yourself about what you're doing, what you can compost, recycle, reuse etc. Sounds difficult - and it is, but it's small steps into your every day life that you can implement to help yourself and the earth on which you live. I started my journey three weeks ago. 
     Here are some things I've been doing to achieve my goal:
1. Reusing the same shopping bags or tote bags which I've previously purchased and taking them with me whenever I go grocery or clothes shopping.

2. Every month I go through my closet and donate at least three items.

3. Doing grocery shopping at the local markets which has honestly reduced my plastic consumption so much, I'm proud of this little change as so much waste goes into a landfill. Though some items are still packaged in plastic, it's less than what I would come home with from the supermarket. Remember just because you throw it away, doesn't mean it is gone.

4. Recycling any packaging of the mail I get. 
5. Owning a bamboo cup, given by my friend Lily in our beauty swap which I sometimes take with me to university for coffee or tea in order to reduce plastic. 
6. Recycling technology; old earphones, chargers, batteries. Some apple stores accept old iPhones, iPods or iPads and you may even get paid for it depending where you live.

I know I am only one person. I really do know that; so many people have told me I'm not making a difference, that I shouldn't bother, that I'm wasting my time. I often don't feel like I am helping, but every package I recycle, every ethical purchase I make, every meal I choose - I am helping the world out in some way, no matter how small it may be. I also know there are others like me who don't turn  a cheek and complain that there's so much litter, pollution or that world is screwed up. No, there are those who do something about it, or at the very least, try to.

Short Youtube Videos on Zero Waste Lifestyle
How To Buy Liquids Package Free


Quitting Plastic
 


How to shop at The Farmer's Market without Producing Waste
 


10 Tips for Zero Waste Living


I hope you found this helpful, you can make a difference, no matter how many times you are discouraged from creating a change, a movement or a positive effort. It only takes one for the rest to follow. Take care my friends!
Love,

Miah

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