Recent events have forced us to be more mindful about how we live, and our collective impact on the world. Whatever your motivation, here are some resources to help start your journey in sustainability.
Everybody’s journey in sustainability is unique – it’s why we love our Life As I Know It series, because no two people’s stories or incentives for living more mindfully are ever the same. You might take inspiration from a second-hand style icon, or steer your professional pursuits towards the path of a changemaker who’s caught your attention. For many, finding your ‘why’ is the spark that kickstarts a much longer process, one that we at Eco-Age always remind ourselves is striving towards progress, not perfection.
Where to begin? Well, you’re here, so that’s a great start! Once you’ve found out where to source relevant news and joined our monthly book club, you might want to find out more about a specific aspect of sustainability that particularly interests you. Is it your household’s food waste or your shopping addiction that’s made you stop and think about living a little more sustainably? Whatever your ‘why’, we compiled a few resources to help you along in the next stage of your journey in sustainability.
As you read through, keep in mind the distinction between both the human and the environmental impact, or the ‘handprint’ and ‘footprint’, of your consumer choices. For instance, the fact that a t-shirt is made from organic cotton doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been manufactured in a factory that pays its workers a living wage. Understanding the complex relationships between these two aspects of the equation is a necessary part of making more informed decisions about how to make your purchases, habits and lifestyle more sustainable.
Fashion and Shopping
First up, watching The True Cost documentary is a must for grasping a global perspective of the fashion supply chain from end to end. Follow this with Udita, a film that follows the lives of women working in Bangladesh’s sweatshops over the course of five years as they fight for their rights. “Udita is inspiring on a global level,” says journalist Tansy Hoskins. “The stories these women share with us are life lessons about why the world needs to change, and how it is to be done.”
For those after some wider reading, Fashionoplis by Dana Thomas is a “tangible exposé on the inner workings of an ever-growing, profit-driven industry,” while Lauren Bravo’s How to Break Up With Fast Fashion is a helpful guide for transitioning to slower shopping habits. Lucy Siegle’s ‘To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?’ is also a must!
The back catalogue of Clare Press’s Wardrobe Crisis podcasts is perfect for diving into specific topics with industry experts – the most recent episode with Aja Barber is a great starting point. Venetia Falconer’s interview with Swatee Deepak on whether fashion is a feminist issue is an insightful episode of her Talking Tastebuds podcast too; while Livia Firth and Lucy Siegle’s newly-launched Fashion Critical is a timely option.
It might help to check out our guides on where to start on dressing ethically, and where to shop second-hand online. Once you’re ready to convince your friendship group on everything you’ve learned so far, consult our guide on how to talk to your friends about quitting fast fashion.
Food, Inc. and Cowspiracy are often cited as seminal in changing peoples attitudes towards they way they think about food and their own diets. If that’s a little much for a starting point, then cast your eyes over this article on the meat debate before tuning into The Chickpeeps podcast for more insights and conversations around mindful eating. Elliot Knight’s interviews on dating as a vegan makes particularly good listening…
Taking Max La Manna’s Seven Day Zero Waste challenge is a great way to think about the way you shop, cook, and how you can creatively approach your cupboards. Melissa Hemsley’s Eat Green encourages an open approach to your diet, with a focus on local and seasonal produce with recipes that can be adapted for even the flexiest-flexitarian. Tom Hunt’s The Natural Cook is also a great option.
Deliciously Ella’s journey of transitioning to a plant-based diet in order to alleviate severe health problems is particularly inspiring, if you need a reason to try it out yourself. In an interview with Elizabeth Day, she reflects on the highs and lows of becoming a leading figure of the plant-based movement amidst negative press and speculation. Her app provides fantastic recipes too.
If your interest is more likely piqued by finding out about carbon footprints and rising sea levels, then you’ve probably already raced through David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is another must-watch, while Before The Flood is a grippingly-focused exploration of possible solutions to climate change. Our list of inspiring animal documentaries might interest you too.
For some reading to dip into, David Foster Wallace’s The Uninhabitable Earth and Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction are great resources. You could also dip into Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, or pick up our Sustainability Book Club read for April: The Future We Choose. Considered the book that ‘ignited the enviornmental movement,’ Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring should also be on your list.
Whether it’s the contents of your make-up bag, the chemicals in your cleaning products, or rethinking the way you get around, starting with small changes throughout different aspects of your day to day lifestyle can have great impacts.
For more general tips on reducing the environmental and ethical impacts of the way you live, watch Minimalism as a starting point, and follow Madeleine Olivia for inspiration on simplifying your home and surroundings. Her latest title ‘Minimal: How to Simplify Your Life and Live Sustainably’ is an inspiring resource as well. Meanwhile, our list of podcasts for active citizens will help you find the perfect listening material for advice and motivation from experts across the sustainability conversation.
And, last but not least, come to us! From food to beauty, business to travel, we have resources on all aspects of living more sustainably. If there’s something you think we should be talking about, let us know.