06 May Easing your Eco-Anxiety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Before COVID-19 came along and ruined our ‘new decade, new me #2020vision’ self-promises, a different kind of apocalyptic discourse dominated the Twittersphere. Climate change.
Towards the end of 2019, the climate change activist movement had gained real momentum, and there appeared to be a rise in the number of people who were making lifestyle changes in the name of sustainability. But, as a result of the current pandemic, we now live in a world where hygiene is paramount, and unfortunately this has caused our single-use plastic consumption to skyrocket. As single-use gloves and masks appear to be the most effective form of PPE, the immediate safety of ourselves and our household undoubtedly takes priority over our desire to reduce our plastic consumption. That being said, it is easy to feel disheartened as our reusable coffee cups gather dust in a cupboard and our bins overflow with PPE and plastic delivery bags. To ease your eco-anxiety, we’ve come up with a few simple ways you can be sustainable without risking the safety of yourself and your household.
Minimise your food waste
Did you know that food waste cannot biodegrade once it reaches landfill? With approximately 9.5 million tonnes of food waste entering U.K. landfill sites each year, minimising your food waste is one of the most simple and cost-effective ways you can protect the planet right now. In order to prevent food waste, try to take inventory of your fridge and cupboards, and plan your meals in accordance with the used-by date of your fresh produce. Chop up and portion your fruit, veg and meat, and freeze anything that you aren’t planning to eat immediately. Make a soup or stock out of your leftovers and get inventive with your vegetable scraps!
(LUYA top tip… Instead of throwing away your cauliflower leaves, pop them on a baking tray, add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for fifteen minutes. Trust us, it’s delicious!)
Reconsider your next ASOS haul
It’s easy to kill a few hours scrolling through ASOS and PLT in search of the perfect outfit for the impending #freedom Instagram post when quarantine is finally lifted. Unfortunately, all of this additional online shopping comes at a cost, as the World Economic Forum estimates that online deliveries have caused CO2 emissions to rise by nearly one-third. But there are plenty of guilt-free ways you can refresh your wardrobe during lockdown. Pour yourself a large glass of wine and spend an evening trying on new outfit combinations or watch a YouTube video for some upcycling inspiration. And if the online shopping temptation is too great, try to reduce your carbon footprint by shopping from local businesses, or set a ‘U.K. shipping only’ filter before you start scrolling.
Invest in reusable and recyclable products
Another great way to act sustainably, if you have the means, is to invest in reusable and recyclable products. Wearth London is a fantastic website that stocks a range of eco-friendly products, from reusable makeup wipes and recyclable electric toothbrush heads to zero-waste, plastic-free cleaning products and refillable shampoo bottles. Now is the time to invest that ‘going out’ money on sustainable products that will last you a lifetime!
Although we may have to accept that our single-use plastic consumption has temporarily increased, we must remember that with fewer aeroplanes in the sky and cars on the streets, CO2 emissions have ultimately declined. As a result of lockdown, city smog has all but disappeared, and researchers have estimated this improvement in air quality has saved approximately 1,700 lives in the U.K. alone. We are living in challenging times so think positive, be kind to yourself, others and the planet, and we will get through this.
Image credit: @lornarobey