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What He Really Thinks About Sustainability

Ben McGuire and Jennifer Nini: His thoughts on sustainability
Written by Jennifer Nini

Last weekend my fiancé Ben McGuire and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary with a lovely day at our local beach. Ben is the ultimate guy’s guy. He towers over my diminutive 5’2 with his 6’2 and is your standard footy-following, beer drinking, pie-eating, hamburger-chomping masculine specimen.

He’s neither hippie nor hipster. He’s not idealistic altruistic airy-fairy (which I can be at times) and despite a beard that he grows when he can’t be bothered shaving, he’s quick to point out the hypocrisy of hipsters who artfully groom themselves to make an “I don’t care” statement.

Ben is also his own person – what I believe isn’t necessarily what he believes. We are two individuals with strong opinions and although we are in a loving, caring, respectful relationship, we aren’t afraid to disagree openly. Neither one of us really dominates these discussions; a true sign of an equal partnership.

So here is how our sustainability approach differs:

  • I am a vegetarian, and he is not. I choose not to eat meat for personal ethical reasons and Ben has his own set of values. He has no concerns with eating meat (apart from the welfare of the animals) nor does he flinch at the idea of slaughtering animals he has raised himself. Ben feels that animals should be raised correctly and fed correctly – away from factory farms and unnatural settings – but he is not opposed to animals being raised for consumption. In fact, years ago when we first moved to regional Queensland, he spent time with our neighbour – a farmer – to learn how to correctly slaughter chickens and pigs. Needless to say I was nowhere to be seen when this was going on.
  • I actively boycott companies and corporations for a range of wrong-doings: environmental disasters and non-action (British Petroleum); unethical advertising and elitist management (Nestle); those fighting against public policy that is beneficial to the environment and selling food products that provide no nutritional benefit (Coca Cola) and have questionable production processes and ethics (all fast fashion businesses). Ben is not an activist the way I am. His idea of activism lies in creating a real self-sustaining alternative to the messy system we have today. Just don’t call our farm a ‘commune’ because it isn’t and it won’t be.
  • My practise of sustainability can often be seen in the day-to-day household purchases and choices I make which tends to lean towards giving up things, doing without, making things and seeking better eco-friendly alternatives. Ben prefers to think about overall sustainable design so that he doesn’t have to give up the things he loves. This is essentially the reason we use alternative energy (solar power means guilt free use of energy) and we are getting a cow, a goat and pigs on the farm: for sustainable dairy and meat.

If you’re curious to find out more about my eco side-kick (whom I’ve dubbed Eco Warrior Prince) or just want to know what a blokey bloke really thinks about sustainability watch this interview:

If you have a partner I’d love to know if they are on the sustainability journey with you. Have they embraced it? Are they somewhere on the eco-friendly spectrum or are they indifferent? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she began this blog to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she's not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.

12 Comments

  • What a great topic to raise!
    Neither my Boyfriend or I are vegetarians, but I would love to cut down on meat in order to be able to afford only organic stuff. He is not down with cutting down.
    There are many things we have different opinions about, but he mostly supports my efforts, when it doesn’t cost money. Basically he’s a bargain hunter.
    We also have different priorities sometimes; he’s more into social matters and I’m more into environmental matters. So for example when we go out to eat he will always check if the restaurant’s workers are supported by a union, and if not, we won’t eat there.

    • It’s so lovely to learn more about you and your partner! I see him in your IG pics and you guys look so happy and in tune with one another. I assume he is your photographer? He does a really great job of capturing your outfits I must say 🙂 As for your sustainability journey, it’s wonderful to know that he supports you – if he didn’t you probably wouldn’t be with him anyway – am I right?! It’s also great to know he’s keen on social matters, my partner is too. My partner is extremely kind-hearted and I suspect yours is too.

      I know you’re a student and might find it challenging trying to budget and still pursue an eco-friendly lifestyle, but it’s great to see you doing the best you can. I especially like your capsule wardrobe – I find myself nodding each time I see your outfit combos and pieces. You’ve got great taste 🙂

      • Aww thank you Jennifer for your very sweet words! Yes he is my photographer, and constantly improving 🙂
        And thanks about my style as well 🙂 It’s really my main focus, though I am inspired by other eco-godesses like yourself who live the entire lifestyle.

        • Yes once you begin to explore ethics and sustainability in one area (fashion) it naturally progresses to all parts of life. Anyway keep up the awesome work lovely and your partner is a natural photographer, he’ll only get better 🙂 p.s. sometimes translate doesn’t work on FB so I find myself staring at your posts wondering what you’re saying LOL! I am so glad you write in English too x

  • I love this post! Sustainability can be such a grey area which makes it based a lot on personal preference. The reality is if we are mindful of your impact and educate ourselves on the bigger picture we are 50% there, it doesn’t have to be 0 or 1000% every bit helps!!

    • Glad you liked the post and you are spot on! We all have different ethical values and priorities but striving to reduce our impact each day is what counts. We aren’t interested in living like The Amish, we want to enjoy our modern lives, but want to do it in a mindful way. Thanks for leaving a comment Nichole 🙂

  • I love this post! It’s always interesting to see how other couples deal with discrepancies between animal/environmental ethics. I just want to know how you deal with meals you cook at home when your partner wants to have meat! My partner’s not vegetarian and I’m currently finding it hard to find that middle-ground 🙁

    • So glad you liked the post Leanne! Actually my partner eats mostly vegetarian when he’s home (currently he’s working away helping build his sister’s house) and on occasion he will eat sausages, chicken or steak, but he usually cooks this up himself as I’m not very good with defrosting and fiddling around with meat. Also I don’t taste test so it makes it doubly hard as I’m never sure whether the meat is properly cooked! I do make meatballs with mince meat every now and then which I’m accustomed to and will marinade chicken for him, but I still depend on him to make sure it’s cooked properly. Normally my partner enjoys eating vegetarian meals as I have learned to make ones that are ‘hearty’ and ‘filling’ but if he feels like eating meat, he will often fry something up to add to the vegetarian dish. Hope this helps. I assume you’re doing most of the cooking? Perhaps your partner can cook his own meat if you feel uncomfortable doing so?

  • Great post EWP great to see it from another blokes perspective. Looks like you guys are living the real deal, great way to lead by principle!

    • Thanks bro! Ben and I have different priorities but we share the same vision and have the same end goal in mind. Hope you’re not working too hard over there! See you in a few months 🙂

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