Note: This letter from the editor was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.
With my personal life taking a front seat in December, I wasn’t able to send out as many newsletters last month as I had planned so I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones had a wonderful holiday season together and if you celebrate a traditional Christmas, then I hope it was an amazing time reflecting on its true meaning and celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Now for me, 2019 was another of those ‘foundational’ years; foundational in the sense that I spent time laying foundations in the business and at our farm. We began formally establishing and landscaping the kitchen garden and doing the same for another area of the property including the outbuilding (you can follow along on my personal Instagram account if you’re interested). We built another dam which, looking back, was the most important project on the farm since it’s the only dam left with water in it (if drought conditions continue, we will have to bring in a water truck to top up the dams and rain water tanks).
At EWP, with the help of my partner and operations guru Ben, we were able to set firmer processes and systems as people the world over become increasingly aware of sustainability and the ramifications of a changing climate – making us extremely busy in the process, though I’m not complaining. I am constantly reviewing where my time is best spent to ensure that for every action and commitment I give, I know that it is the most IMPACTFUL I can take at that very moment since there are so many people/businesses/organisations seeking my rather limited time and I/we at EWP can only do so much given our limited resources. I also believe in working smarter, not harder and since I firmly believe in SUSTAINABLE living with a capital S (encompassing slow living, optimal mental and physical health featuring fresh, homegrown organic food and lots of sleep, and time for the people and causes that matter most to me) I have become a lot more discerning about what I and EWP say yes to. Contrary to modern entrepreneurial wisdom, saying ‘yes’ to everything and everyone is a recipe for disaster and disorganisation.
In addition, the team and I also spent a lot of time laying foundations of concepts such as zero waste, minimalism, plastic-free living and advocacy and activism. This year, with neoliberalism, the US election, political corruption and what looks like the start of a new (ongoing) Iran/US war firmly in sight, be prepared for more news and political articles over at EWP. Murdoch’s News Corp empire controls much of Australian media, particularly print media (that it owns magazine titles like VOGUE Australia shows how diversified the corporation is) and quite frankly, I am tired of the lack of gender/ethnic/racial/age diversity and inclusivity in leadership, media, politics, fashion, you name it, I AM OVER IT. So we will be using the full force of our platforms to push for positive change in these areas.
Individual ‘eco-friendly’ actions such as taking your zero waste kit everywhere and saying no to single-use plastic still matter of course, but after a decade of advocacy, you can imagine I am becoming rather impatient with this approach; targeting the micro (individual actions) rather than the macro (economic/political/corporate/government systems and processes) is slooooowww going; for big sweeping changes to occur, we need to focus on the macro.
Given my 10-year journey in sustainable lifestyle I’m often asked what are the most impactful environmental and climate actions and individual can take.
So here’s my top five:
– Switch to renewable/clean energy or green electricity. EWP HQ runs on 100% solar power. If you can’t afford solar panels, make sure to get in touch with a green electricity provider and make the switch. Learn more about making the switch here.
– Divest from fossil fuels and other ‘unethical’ industries such as gambling, tobacco, intensive farming, live exports etc. Make sure your savings, personal finances and super/retirement is invested ethically and in line with your sustainability principles (If you’re wondering, I personally bank with Bank Australia as their green and ethical values reflect my own and my super is with Australian Ethical Super).
– Fly less. I may run a media business but even I don’t succumb to feeling like I have to be everywhere, attend every event, show my face lol. Being discerning about your travel footprint is important because jetsetting is a huge privilege and since it’s often people in the wealthy, developed world who are zig-zagging the continent (while it’s those in the developing world that pay the price for our carbon emissions) being mindful of travel footprint is important. If you decide you must travel, make sure to carbon offset.
– Buy less; invest in quality if you must. This is self-explanatory. It’s consumer demand that has businesses on this cycle of overproduction, discounting, dumping/incinerating perfectly good resources/materials, mining, polluting. We need to move beyond consumerism as the vehicle that drives our economies to a sustainable approach where we live within our planetary means. If you’re new year’s resolution is to buy nothing new, read this post I wrote four years ago where I successfully accomplished this and overhauled my shopping habits. This article on how to fall back in love with what’s already in your closet is another great read. Also, if your fave brands aren’t already on the sustainable bandwagon, why not send them a message and ask what they’re doing about it?
– Eat more plants. Locally-grown, chemical-free and organic is the aim. You don’t need to become veggo or vegan if you don’t want to, but I encourage you to at least understand the impact of animal agriculture. This post sets out some eye-opening statistics to get you motivated to put a plant on your fork, instead of that pork. You can also read about my vegetarianism-to-veganism journey here. Another good one to read is our post, ‘Going Plant-Based in 2020: Everything You Need to Know‘.
Now it wouldn’t be Australian of me if I didn’t acknowledge what is happening with the bushfires ravaging this country I love so dearly. I have teared up over countless images and videos, have raged against politicians and individuals for their inaction and spreading false information about climate change and links to bushfires; have been overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of people the world over and felt a sense of pride at how Aussies have come together in this time of crisis to support and shine the light for one another. Thank you to all of you who have given so generously your time, money and consumables to Australian Bushfire Relief. If you haven’t given yet and would like to, check out this post for a comprehensive list of organisations and charities you can give to.
On behalf the EWP team, I would like to thank you all for your support, kindness, encouragement and belief in us throughout 2019. And even though it’s been pretty impossible to get back to everyone, we appreciate every comment, share, critique, email, and direct message. Thank you for being so engaged and so committed to being a part of our mission. Now let’s make 2020 the biggest one yet in terms of climate action and the environmental and social justice movements!
Peace, love and all that jazz,
- 6 Sustainable Fashion Trends to Watch Out for in 2020
- For Widespread Adoption of Sustainable Solutions, Eco Folk Must Get Beyond the Echo Chamber
- How To Be A Political, Social Equality and Environmental Activist In Your Own Way
- 30 Things You Can Do If You’re Feeling Helpless About Climate Change
- How to Have Better Arguments About the Environment (or Anything Else)
- Voting Green: How to Encourage People to Vote for Politicians That Support Climate Action
Title image by cottonbro.