Why should we stop something that's working?
Well, it's important to say that we can't live without commerce. We have built a society which needs the transfer of goods for money, but that's doesn't mean we can do it on a friendlier and less harmful way to the environment and society. Fast fashion has ravaged nature and polluted landfill with £1 dresses which might seem like a great deal, but the energy it has taken to create that one piece of clothing is immense. And for it to be chucked at the end of a night is so wasteful.
Our world can't take the strain of constant extraction with the rate and type of consumerism we are practising. Climate change is happening now, the actions we do today affect the outcomes of tomorrow. With big companies trying to push their profit margins it's up to us as individuals to act as best we can to reduce our impact even if it's a small change it's better than no change at all.
What can we do to be more sustainable?
There are so many things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and have a better impact on the planet, but it varies from individual to individual and how you consume. For example, if you're an ice coffee addict you can try making your own.
The main points as individuals are:
Fashion: Instead of buying new items which are shipped straight out of a sweatshop, have a look at your local charity shops or car boots you can always find great unique items or if you need something specific try Depop or vinted which offer a huge variety of online second hand clothes.
Food: Getting two or three takeaways is not good for the planet or yourself. By deleting the Uber eats app and cooking yourself a delicious meal is both satisfying and delicious. It is often said that food is the gateway to the soul. Even if you can't cook very well, trying Hello Fresh or other semi made food packages which can get the ball rolling and give you guidance and inspiration for future cooks.
Is it expensive?
There is some stigma around going to packaging-free shops - not only do you have to buy your own jars if you haven't been saving them for months. But the products do come at a premium cost with there being cheaper alternative at many supermarkets. This economic barrier can be off putting and make you feel the strain of this, especially as we are going through a cost of living crisis and we are all trying to save some money.
When you compare non packaged options to their plastic wrapped alternatives it can make the choice seem very obvious. But if you can't afford to buy these more expensive options don't fret as even at large supermarkets you can often find loose veg which doesn't have any packaging at the same price, alongside this you can try to make your own. Bread and pasta both start with the same key ingredient and aren't difficult to make, with the power of YouTube you too can be a merry berry level baker in no time.
Is it all on me?
The short answer is no, the slightly longer one is there are ways we as individuals can push the change we want to see and hold those who have the power to change bills to make these improvements.
For example you can write letters and sign up for petitions to influence bills, as well as support movements like just stop oil or extinction rebellion. Or holding your university accountable for what they invest your fees in is a start, for example 65 % of universities have pledged to not invest in fossil fuels due to pressure from students and pressure groups.
While we as individuals cannot change the world we can make small changes and push the values we want to be enforced little by little.