Bego started her sustainable journey many years ago with just a few small actions such as using reusable bags at the grocery store and driving a hybrid car, but over the years has increased her knowledge. With Earth Overshoot Day behind us, she reflected on more changes she has implemented into her life to further her journey to a greener and everlasting Earth. Read her blog below on her experiences and the impact we can all have on our home, Earth.
As I write this article, we should have been kicked out of the planet. We ran out of our supply of natural resources for this year, a few months ago; about two months earlier than we did 20 years ago. This day is known as Earth Overshoot Day, the time when every year, we consume all the resources that the planet can renew in the whole year.
We like to call this “Our Planet”, when it is not. If the planet was an apartment rented through Airbnb or any other platform, we would have been blocked by the app and not allowed to rent any other property at all. Who wants to have a guest who cannot respect the place and leaves a wrecked apartment with rubbish everywhere, unusable appliances, ruined furniture, and cracked decorations?
Sometimes I think about crazy things like, we should have a very restrictive contract to live on this wonderful planet. A contract similar to the one that Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory TV show) makes his flat-mate, Leonard Hofstadter sign. This is because we are reaching a point where it is critical to act. Only with real actions, can we revert this alarming situation and ensure our own survival as a species (hopefully also the survival of all the others).
We can all make an impact
I always thought and maybe you do too, that this is something us as ordinary people cannot make enough of an impact on, so then why bother with this overwhelming issue? Perhaps you (and I) think this problem is so big that only governments, big companies, and large institutions like the United Nations can handle or solve. We could be right. We all know they can make a huge impact and do a lot of things. Unfortunately, they are not doing everything they can, despite some of them, like Schneider Electric, the company I’m proud to work for, are fully committed to sustainability and are actively working towards it.
The good news is that every single person on Earth can do quite a few things to live in a more sustainable manner. We have the power to #movethedate of the Earth Overshoot Day and postpone it. Moreover, as ordinary people in this extraordinary home, and being the “smarter” species in the world, I want to encourage everyone to act. We owe that to this home we all share. Otherwise, how could we defend ourselves from our exceptional host, Mother Earth when she reviews our contract in the near future? Will we have answers to her arguments for moving us away from the planet?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to scold you or make you feel guilty at all. I only wanted to share with you how I started to make some little adjustments in my life to contribute to a cleaner, greener and everlasting planet. Maybe you can be inspired and set your own way to be part of the change as well.
Any change can help
I have been aware of the need to take care of the planet for a long time. I bought a hybrid car almost four years ago and use public transportation as much as I can. I have been taking reusable bags when going grocery shopping for years, use a reusable bottle for water. And that was it. Until my lovely teenager daughter encouraged me, my husband and her sister to take a step forward.
Early June there was a Spanish initiative called boycott to plastic, #boicotalplástico, from Zero Waste España organization, supported by organizations like Greenpeace. The campaign had a simple proposal: one week with no plastic, and an attractive slogan: a viral challenge to save the planet. My daughter and all her friends wanted to follow it. All the parents were in, including me, despite my initial apprehension.
I have to say it was not easy, but, beyond all the difficulties we faced, I learned a lot from this experience.
7 things I learned in my sustainable journey
- The use of plastic is extremely abusive and it is not possible to get rid of it completely. But we can reduce a lot!
- Small shops rather than big food chains (except for Carrefour, at least here in Madrid) were willing to serve the fresh products (meat, fish, fruits, vegetables) using my own reusable containers. This new way of shopping only requires time to organize your weekly menu and the shopping list, and maybe some more time to visit the small shops in your neighborhood (if you are lucky as me and you have them).
- We decided to bring back the fantastic experience of using a traditional Italian coffee maker with coffee that is ground at home every morning.
- My refrigerator is now full of healthier, fresh food, and if packaged, always with reusable materials like crystal or carton.
- I replaced liquid soaps with ecological solid ones, including shampoo. In the beginning it’s weird, but soon you get used to it, and you feel much happier because you realize you’re saving money and cutting down waste at the same time. One solid soap can last 3 times longer than the liquid soap in plastic bottles.
- I started incorporating fabric napkins to avoid plastic and paper waste. Water is needed to wash the napkins, but it is not significant since I find the space for them in the washing machine when I wash my clothes
- Wrapping gifts using fabric scarves is something very cool and fun, and you do not need to struggle with sticky tape anymore!
I cannot calculate the exact reduction of waste at home since I started putting all the above into practice. I also cannot calculate the impact I am making on the planet. It will be interesting to see the comparison between before and after. I should try the footprint calculator to discover.
I encourage all of you to try at least one of the seven points mentioned. There is a lot more we can do, and I will probably add more actions into my life. But it is much better to start step by step. Who knows if someday I (or you!) will be as Bea Johnson (precursor of the zero waste lifestyle movement) and I am (you are) able to generate no waste at all?
“Our” planet is worth the effort.
About the author
Bego Araez is a Campaign Creation Manager at Schneider Electric. She is an expert in Digital Marketing and User Experience with a large experience in Communications. She is passionate about working and living with a purpose, contributing to the change she would like to see in the world.
Outside Schneider Electric, Bego loves writing novels and poems, travelling with her family (husband and two daughters), and walking in the countryside.