Okay, I will admit already now, that this blogpost has very little to do with Pippi…. But I had to catch your curiosity somehow. The subject of this blogpost is maybe something that you hear about a lot, but is frustrated about, because you don’t really know what to do about it. Nevertheless, is it very important and relevant to all of us. It is a big problem and we have to do something drastic to change it, NOW! But who is actually doing something about it? It is not a mystery what I’m talking about, it is the climate crisis.
HOW BIG IS IT?
To be honest, I can’t really grasp it. I don’t really have any idea about how big the problem is and how it effects the planet on a bigger scale. It doesn’t really affect my daily life so how can I know how big the problem is? And if I feel this way, other people must feel the same. Of course, I am affected emotionally about what I see in the media about animals that are suffering and dying from consuming plastic, about natural disasters a lot of places in the world. The weather changes, natural disasters and how it effects people and so on. But does it make my daily life more complicated? Not really. But why do I care then? Because I want to make this world a better place to live in. Not just for me, but for everybody and the many next generations of humans, animals and vegetation. So, what to do? I have to do something about it. What can I do that is drastic enough to make a change in the climate? And what about all the other people, what are they going to do about it? How to be motivated to make changes that you can’t really grasp why you are doing? How can I take responsibility for something that I don’t really know so much about? Especially when it comes to making changes that might change my comfortable way of living? Yearh, that is a really good question. Who wants to be less comfortable in this busy world that we live in?
We need more people like Greta Thunberg in this world. Greta reminds me a little bit of Pippi. She is cool, she is her own, she is strong, she knows what she wants, she is doing it and she is not afraid of letting the whole world know. She is a leader and she is proactive. She understands and put it into words, the consequences of the way we are living on this planet. She is talking to the people, to the world leaders and politicians and demands that they take responsibility and make radical changes worldwide.
Moving to Spain made me realize that not many people care or are aware of the problem. Denmark is a step ahead of Spain when it comes to awareness and actions on the climate problem, but still only on a lower scale though. In Spain they are not even scratching in the surface. There might be containers to recycle but it is still so new that people really haven’t learned properly how to use them. And what happens when they empty the containers, do they really recycle it? What I have noticed the most, is the enormous use of plastic and chemicals in Spain. Plastic in the vegetable department in the supermarkets for example, how many bags are used for one shopping trip and only used once. Chemicals in cleaning-products, make-up, perfumes, air-fresheners and so on. It has to smell of something nice everywhere and they clean a lot, all the time. I have noticed that I hold my breath a lot of times a day, when passing all these smells. It is just too much, and way too polluting and health damaging as well. One of my questions are, where did it all come from, all the plastic and chemicals? How did we suddenly become users of all of this? They didn’t use it back in the days, when our grandparents where young, so why do we need it now?
Another thing that I have noticed is the materialistic lifestyle in Spain. In Denmark 2nd hand shops and buying things 2nd hand in different apps, webpages and flee-markets is booming. It is hipster and in to live a minimalistic lifestyle. Here in Spain it doesn’t really exist, yet. I have mentioned it earlier in another blogpost about how the suppression of the Franco-regime has had a negative impact on people’s economy, which means that today it is still about being able to buy new things. In Cádiz I have only seen a few 2nd hand shops, but there is a webpage and app though where you can buy 2nd hand, but it doesn’t seem to have a flow, because people don’t really answer when I write them. I hope it will get more popular soon.
This blog post is about giving the above-mentioned problems attention and hopefully inspire others to take responsibility, where they can. The climate crisis is something that we all should care about and do all we can to change together. We of course need the politicians help to do this, on a bigger scale, but we can do a lot of things on our own. It is not my intention to judge or to point fingers. I am also not perfect. But I do like to do my best, and this is no exception. I am trying to live as minimalistic and sustainable as possible, to live more in alignment and respect for Mother Earth. I would like to be able to say that I have done what I can, to minimize the climate crisis and that I have done what I could to make this a healthier and better planet to live on. And I can do better every day.
Making changes in the daily lifestyle is not easy, especially if you don’t really know why you should do it (the extent of the crisis and the motivation to change) and what you can do about it (motivation is a number one when making changes). We usually just want the daily life to be as easy as possible so that we can enjoy our freedom. But without the planet, we don’t really have any freedom.
I don’t remember why and the day where I decided to live more minimalistic and sustainable. It kind of just happened. Slowly I began to make some changes, like buying kitchen tools made of wood and glass instead of plastic. Buying a toothbrush made of bamboo and so on. So, it happened slowly and now it is just a part of who I am, how I think and how I want to live. I am also learning from Facebook groups, Instagrammers and webpages about how to make changes that are more in alignment with nature. I don’t know if I do enough, but instead of hitting myself in the head about that, I learn every day and make new changes, every time I learn something new. If there is a thing I need to buy, I try to find a 2nd hand solution first and if not, a sustainable and healthy solution.
Below in this blogpost I would like to share with you what kind of sustainable changes I have done in my daily life, to live more sustainable. They are simple, but like in all changes in life, it might take a change in the mindset to do. But that is the whole idea, to change the mindset from just buying whatever to think in reusing and recycling. It is meant as an inspiration for you, and please add a comment if you have any tips and tricks to how I can live more sustainable and natural. With natural I mean using the natural resources from Mother Earth, that doesn’t affect the climate.
I have categorized them into
CLEANING and SANITARYPRODUCTS
HOUSEHOLD and KITCHEN
One of the biggest sinners on the climate crisis is the meat industry. This is a subject on its own and I could write a whole blogpost about that. Instead I will recommend you to watch one or all of the many documentaries there are on this subject, just Google it. I can mention Forks over knives, Earthlings and Cowspiracy, but there are lots more. They show you with no filter, how the meat industry is destroying this planet. I’m sorry to break to you. So, on the food theme, eating fruits and vegetables is the most sustainable way. But not just any, ORGANIC Conventional cultivation is killing the soil and that means killing our options to use the land to grow vegetables and fruits. It is also very unhealthy and carcinogen to eat the toxins from the conventional farming. Meat and animal products are also carcinogen. I am very interested in nutrition and in my search for more knowledge I have come upon the book “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. It is a book about scientifically proven studies on the impacts of animal protein and products. I haven’t finished the book, I have barely just started, and it explains that animal products are carcinogen and also the cause of many other diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and strokes. I will get back to that when I have read the book. Changing the food habit, like any other habits, is difficult, but it is possible.
2. CLEANING, HYGIENE and SANITARYPRODUCTS
On this area, I have been starting to make changes years ago. At that time, it was not because I was aware and thinking about the climate. It was because of my health. For years I have had hand eczema, from when I worked as a waiter in a ski-hotel in Norway in 2002-2003. Almost all soaps, hand soaps, cleaning remedies, detergents and so on, contains something called SLS. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate and SLEF Sodium Laureth Ethan Sulfate. It is a product that makes the soap foam. But it is also something that can cause allergies and my eczema is caused by that, because I was too much in contact with it when I worked in Norway. For years after that, I was using steroid creams, until I realized that they were bad for me and I decided no more. After that I had huge outbursts on my hands. I then started to take care of myself by avoiding all products with the foaming product, discovering that it was almost impossible. It is in absolutely everything, also products that are allergy friendly. It is just not considered as a problem, even though it can cause allergies. But not only allergies. It is being absorbed in our liver, which has a difficulty getting rid of it again. We are not really aware about how chemicals affect our bodies, and how damaging it is to our liver and therefor our health. Our liver is the one that cleans the body, but if we are surrounded by chemicals all the time and put it on our bodies or inhale it, then the liver will have big difficulties getting rid of it again and that is what is causing skin problems, among other health problems.
Instead I now use soap bars on my body and have done it for years. But actually, you can just use water to wash yourself, if you want. I also use the soap-bar as shaving foam, and I have changed my shaver into a Safety Razor, like the one on the picture, the handle is made of bamboo. The blades and razor don’t contain any plastics and is eco-friendlier.
When I stopped using products with SLS, I also found an organic shampoo and conditioner from John Masters. But shampoos and conditioners are something that contains a lot of different things and it is going down the drain and into our water. So last year in September, I wanted to try outfacing shampoo and use Rhassoul (also goes under the name Ghassoul) instead to wash my hair. It is a clay from Morocco, and it comes in powder that you mix with water. It is a bit strange to wash your hair in, but it is a question of getting used to. Now 13 months later, it is still the only thing that I am using in my hair, and it works very well.
Hairbrush: I have had a plastic one for years and when that one died; I bought a new wooden one. Wood over plastic for sure.
OILS OVER CREAMS
Instead of using creams on my body, I use only natural, organic and cold pressed oils, they are the cleanest oils you can get. Organic to avoid toxins and cold pressed because it is the purest form of oil. Almost all creams contain a lot of different chemicals and toxins that are bad for us and the environment. In creams are preservatives that are causing problems for many people. For years it was the preservative Paraben and later on it was replaced with MI (Methylisothiazolinone) which showed to be even worse. It is highly allergenic inducing, and luckily, they have realized it and banned it again. So, to be honest, we have no idea about what the manufactures put in these creams. And I think that they don’t care, as long as they get to earn money.
Sun-cream: This is one the things that I am a bit ambivalent about. They say: Too much sun can cause cancer, but so can the use of sun cream (it’s the combination of sun and the cream, because of all the chemicals the contain, it is creating a toxic mixture that is absorbed by the skin and into the body). But is the sun really causing cancer or is it just if you get burned and burned over and over again? And if we use sun-cream, we won’t get vitamin D and then we need to eat supplement for that. So what to do? I have a fair Nordic skin that is sensitive to the sun. I get red very easily and now I live in Spain where I get exposed to the sun a lot more. My solution to this is to expose my skin to the sun gradually, half an hour here, another there, but without sun cream. I stay out of the sun between 12 and 17 in the strong summer sun. I go to the beach in the morning or in the afternoon only. I use raspberry seed oil and jojoba oil for sun protection because it contains sun factor, not very high though, but still some. The oils work very well, when I am in the morning and afternoon sun, but I cannot recommend it only, in the strong midday sun, it doesn’t contain enough sun factor for that. I use an organic sun cream, minimum spf 30 or 50 when, for some reason, I can’t avoid being in the strong midday sun. I have also made a sun cream from coconut oil and Tiosol which contains sun factor, but it also contains aluminum, like any other sun cream, but with less other toxic ingredients like normal sun creams. It is just a very greasy combination and you become white that doesn’t go away before you shower, so I don’t use it very often.
Mosquito spray: Most mosquito sprays are really toxic and so bad for our health. I have bought an organic lemongrass oil and have mixed some drops of that with water in a spray bottle and VOILA, the most efficient and natural spray because the mosquitos really just hate lemongrass. Now you can smell nice and avoid getting bitten.
I use a deodorant with no aluminum. Aluminum is not healthy for us; it is another toxin that burdens the liver and decreases its ability to work fully. But the problem is that aluminum is also what is preventing us from smelling bad of sweat. In the beginning, after I changed deodorant, I was very aware about it and I felt that I smelled bad all the time. But how much we smell is different from each person and is also connected to our diet, hormones and surely a lot of other things. I choose my health and wash my armpits an extra time a day. And over the years I feel that I smell less, I think it has to do with that I have changed my diet to a 95% plant-based diet. I use this deodorant from Herban Cowboy, so far it is the best I have tried.
You can also get a simple crystal deodorant, it only contains minerals, but it is not enough for me, I have tried that. Another thing is that I have stopped using perfume. There was a time where I could not leave my house without perfume and if I didn’t wear it, I would feel awkward. Now I only have a tiny bit left from my last perfume and I use it on special occasions, if I remember it and I only spray on my clothes. When it is finished, I will not buy a new one. Perfume also contains a lot of things that are bad for our skin and liver.
I use an organic toothpaste without fluoride, but that is a problem for my teeth because I get cavities if I am not very careful to floss my teeth every day. Fluoride is killing bacteria in our mouth, but it is also not healthy for our bodies. I am not consistent enough on using dental floss and I should brush my teeth an extra time or two a day. It is on my list of things to change. What toothpaste to choose? Well, it is up to you, but you should know that Colgate (and many other toothpastes) is a product that contaminates the environment because it contains micro plastic that grinds your teeth and that micro plastic goes into our water and environment.
Toothbrush: I use an electric one to minimize cavities in my teeth, but when I travel, I use a bamboo one. Bamboo over plastic, for sure.
Dental floss: I am still using plastic ones because they are more convenient and then I will make sure to floss and avoid getting cavities, but need to find a sustainable solution, that I will use. Do you have any ideas?
I use make-up, a mineral powder, because I like it, but I don’t have to. The mineral powder that I use is carefully chosen, to be as natural as possible. My eyeshadows, mascara and lipstick too. To remove the make-up, I use almond oil. I prefer that because it is natural and also very efficient. The only downside is the feeling of being greasy around the eyes, but most of it can be removed by washing after with a cotton pad.
THE COTTON THINGS
Cotton pads: I have now bought reusable ones and that works great for me. I just wash and dry them and use them again and again. Be aware not to buy too thick ones because then you just have to use more of whatever you put on them, like to remove make-up. And then you just end up overusing.
Cotton sticks: I ran out. I was using organic ones on a wooden stick, but not reusable. I bought a reusable one, but I am waiting for the postman. Then it arrived and I realised that my ear canals are really small, too small to use that. So I am back with the wooden stick ones. Have to find another solution, maybe not using anything. People actually say that we should clean only with water. Another one of those where my vanity comes over the climate. I have to work on that.
Menstruation: A new thing on the market is the menstrual cup, but it is not suitable for me. So, I am still using pads and tampons, but organic. I am in the process of changing for something more sustainable, to the reusable pads made of fabric. I just haven’t found the right ones yet.
Toilet paper: I use recycled paper. But I would like if I could only use water, like they did in the old days, when using the bidet, the small washing thing next to the toilet. It’s a question of changing habits and I always forget it until after.
I don’t use any chemical cleaning products. Instead I use bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar mixed with something to disinfect, either fresh lemon juice, grapefruit seed oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil or oregano oil. There are more options, you can look up on Google.
Using natural products instead of the toxic ones on the market is just better for the environment but also for our health. We don’t think about how our skin is absorbing everything we are in contact with, also air particles, and how it is affecting our bodies and our health. That is another reason for using organic products when possible.
3. HOUSEHOLD and KITCHEN
Tote bag: instead of buying plastic bags at the supermarket, I always bring my own bag of cotton for my groceries and other buying’s.
Stop using plastic, buy bulk when you can, bring you own bags and container and fill them up. Here in Cadiz, where I live, there is also a bulk store with eco-friendly cleaning products, shampoos and other products to clean with. It is called Bio-Pompas.
There you can bring your own containers and fill them up and you can also leave your old containers there and other people can reuse them.
I love the concept even though I don’t use their products, but I buy my bicarbonate in bulk there. For Spain it is a great move and a nice step for the Spanish people towards becoming more aware and eco-friendlier.
Containers: I save glass jars from food that I have bought and use them as containers for almost everything in the kitchen and elsewhere where I need a container. This instead of plastic container. I still have plastic containers from before I became aware and I will use them until they break and then change them to a more sustainable solution.
Utensils: I have ones made of wood and the straws are made of bamboo. I change them from the plastic ones when needed.
Cookware: I recently bought a whole new set of pots and pans because I didn’t bring any to Spain and I was using the ones that I have in the apartment that I rent. But they were just not doing the job. My food was sticking to the pans and cooking became a hassle. I decided to buy my own. I did some proper research on what to buy and I discovered that so much cookware that are on the market are full of toxins and heavy metals that are released every time we cook with them. So, what did I get? I decided to follow Anthony William’s guide on what to buy.
Cloths: I have changed the micro plastic ones that you buy cheap at the supermarket with sustainable ones or knitted ones. You can also use old sheets or whatever you have at home.
Baking sheets: I have reusable silicone ones – some people use nothing, just the baking pan from the oven.
Wrapping food: I have used my last tin foil and plastic wrap and at the moment I don’t use anything. I just put the food in the fridge without covering it up. I don’t think that it is very optimal solution, but I haven’t looked for another, yet. I have tried bees wax but it just doesn’t cover my watermelon or other things firm enough, and then I might as well use nothing. Do you have any ideas?
Plastic bags: You know, the small ones for food and stuff but also the garbage ones. I have replaced them with compostable ones. They are not as strong as the plastic ones, but with everything, it is a question of getting used to it and hopefully someone will invent something better soon.
Water saving: This is my next thing that I really have to do something about. I use too much water in the kitchen. I am looking for clever ways of using water and reusing without it being unhygienic. Any ideas you want to share?
The clothing industry is really a big sinner on the climate as well. I did so well on not buying clothing and having a minimalistic wardrobe and only buying second hand or sustainable. But then I moved to Cádiz in Spain realizing that it is almost impossible to fulfill, because secondhand shops hardly exist here. Buying online is not so much an option because if it doesn’t fit you have to send it back and it is not really an easy thing to deal with here in Spain. And it is also not sustainable to buy online with the transportation and packaging. But my summer wardrobe was too small, so it had to expand it, or at least my addiction to spending money told me that. I have realised that I have an addiction to spending money. I get a kick out of spending money. It is not about owning a specific thing, but it’s the act of spending money, which I have to work on.
What kind of clothing to buy? Buy nothing or buy secondhand or sustainably made clothing. Make sure that it really sustainably made, because organic cotton is actually not so sustainable as a lot of water is used on the production. The new invention is to buy clothing made of hemp or bamboo. You can find bloggers who have really studied about what is the eco-friendliest to buy.
I buy as much locally as I can. I want to support the shops in the city that actually are on the beat with becoming sustainable. A dilemma I sometimes run into is that when I want to buy sustainable solutions, it is not always something that you can get here in Cádiz, because not many people care or are aware yet. That means that many times I have to buy it online, which means contamination with transportation and packaging.
My means of transportation is my bike. I rarely take the bus, because it is just more convenient and easier to get around with the bike. I have been flying once this year and it was a thing, I used to do at least three times a year, maybe even more. But I am still in a new and exciting place, so I don’t feel the need to travel out of the country. But for sure I have to visit my friends and family in Denmark now and then. I have not yet checked how to get there by train, and if that will be a solution for me. But I did to Madrid last month and even though the flight was cheaper, I chose the train and it was very easy and comfortable. I really want to try to minimize my flights, I have already contributed on the CO2 pollution on that part in my ignorant days.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE – A CHALLENGE FOR YOUR SELF
All the above-mentioned changes didn’t happen all at once. It happened gradually when I became aware. This process has changed my way of thinking and now I automatically think in sustainable solutions whenever. And in general, I think more about what I already have at home, that I can use, instead of buying new things. My advice is that you don’t change everything at once. That is not very environmental or good for your valet. Instead do it gradually, when something breaks or needs to be replaced, if you can’t live without it. We are often looking for easy and quick solutions but that is rarely the best for the environment or our health. And it is actually a fun and creative thing to do, to force yourself not to buy anything but to use what you have instead. It makes you look at your things in a new perspective and that you can use them in many different ways. Because there is a thing for everything in this world, like a banana slicer for example. What happened to using the kitchen knife? You could make a deal with yourself and challenge yourself for one month, to try it out, and not buy anything but food. You have to only use what you have in your household. Could you do that? I am still working on preparing myself (and my addiction) to do that. The plan is to do it in November. Are you joining me?
One person that inspires me the most on living natural, in all kinds of ways, is the Danish woman that calls herself neo hippie, she also writes in English. She and her family live a minimalistic lifestyle and make it seem so easy. I also find inspiration on Facebook groups, Instagram and bloggers. It is all about becoming aware, understanding, taking action and changing habits. It takes some effort, but it is needed, Mother Earth needs that you care.