2021: The Year for Sustainability
Is sustainability something you look for in a business when or product when shopping? Is it a word that you hear thrown about but are never really sure what it means?
The word 'sustainability' is thrown about a lot these days, yet a lot of people don't actually know what it means.
Sustainability is defined as 'the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.'
Throught the various restrictions and lockdowns across the globe last year, nature began to thrive once again. Our previous blog posts have highlighted some of the growth in wildlife over the past year. So in 2021, let's not regress back to how things were before, let's make 2021 the year that we make an active change and effort to take care of the earth, to minimise our use of natural resources and to continue to let nature thrive.
2020 saw a huge increase in the amount of online shopping and impulse buying. After all, what else was there to do during lockdown? But 2021 needs to be different, it needs to be the year we switch to a more sustainable way of life. It may seem like a daunting challenge to become more sustainable but there are small easy steps that you can take to begin a more sustainable way of living. This year, let's aim to reduce the amount of waste we produce, reuse what we already have, repair things that are broken rather than replacing them, and recycle what can't be reused or repaired in order to create something new. This can be the first step in minimising the amount of natural resources we continue to take from the earth and start to make better use of the resources we already have.
Here are just a few ideas of how we can reduce, reuse and recycle in everyday life:
- Why not keep any leftover food and have the following day, whether that's to reheat or to use in a new dish (Get creative! We're in lockdown after all!)
- Compost any leftovers that can't be reheated
- Reduce the amount of single use plastics you use (check out the reusing ideas below for ways to cut down on single use plastics)
- Take a keepcup out with you for your morning coffee (some coffee shops are also offering money off as an incentive to bring your own cup!)
- Take a water bottle out with you on rather than buying a plastic bottle from the shops
- Instead of buying a 20p plastic bag each time you visit the shop, why not keep some bag in your car to reuse each time
- For any clothes that can't be restitched or repaired, why not get creative and see how else you can use the material?
- We like to get creative with our old wetsuits and use them to pad out the seating in our changing rooms
- Why not learn to sew and stitch up any holes in clothing to give them a new lease of life?
- If you can't reuse or repair something then make sure you recycle it
- For a list of what can and can't be recycled, click here
- Try to steer away from single use plastics that can't be recycle
- Not all plastics can be recycled, so check before you buy whether the packaging can be recycled
- For a list of plastics that can and can't be recycled, click here
In the summer we spend most waking hours in the sea paddleboarding, coasteering and generally exploring the North Devon coast. Caring for our oceans and ocean sustainability are crucial in maintaining ecological balance. The UN estimates that over 3 billion people rely on the world's oceans for their livelihood, whether that is through fishing, marine biology and conservation, or through the leisure and tourism industry like us. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we keep a sustainable attitude to our lives as our actions impact more than we realise.
There are many charities, companies and groups that are tackling ocean sustainability:
Plastic Free North Devon is an environmental charity aiming to reduce the effect of plastic pollution on the environment in North Devon and beyond. Working with local communities, businesses and organisation to raise awareness of the environmental impact of plastic pollution. They organise litter picks, to clear our beaches, waterways, countrysides and urban areas, of waste plastic.
This is not something that should be confined to North Devon. Wherever you may be based, why not take a bag out with you on your next daily lockdown walk and pick up the litter you may come across to dispose of properly?
#2minutebeachclean is another charity that is devoted to cleaning up our planet. The idea being that you only have to spend 2 minutes, or longer if you want, to make a difference. If everyone were to do a 2 minute clean, these simple and achieveable acts can and will add up to make a difference. This is definitely something achieveable that can be started now, today, on your daily exercise. Whether its a 2 minute beach clean or a quick walk around your local park. 2 minutes can make a difference.
Surfers Against Sewage tackle issues such as plastic pollution; oceans and climate change; and ocean conservation through means of beach cleans, education and campaigning. Over the past year they have been runnning the education limb of the charity virtually, with Digital Ocean School. Teaching kids (and adults) all about the ocean, from the bed and its creatures that live there to ocean sustainability and plastic pollution. They have also set various challenges that would be great to implement in daily lives to build a more sustainable way of living. Their 'plastic investigator' challenge involves noting down all the plastic we use in a day along with their purpose and their necessity. This outlook may help us to decrease our plastic usage and help us to step into a more sustainable 2021.
Another great milestone towards a more sustainable 2021 is one of our local North Devon beaches (Westward Ho!) has issued a ban on polystyrene bodyboards in 2021. Meaning every business in the village will no longer be able to sell the plastic bodyboards but will switch to more sustainable wooden ones. Polystyrene boards are frequently by tourists when down on holiday, used for 10 minutes and then thrown in the bin. While the wooden boards may have a greater initial expense, they are far more durable, slimline and are guaranteed to last longer than their plastic counterparts!
These are all small steps that, when combined, can begin to make 2021 a more sustainable year. Let's try to reduce the amount of things we buy new this year and work to reuse and repair what we already have. Let's make 2021 the year for sustainability. The year to avoid using up more of the earth natural resources. We all want to enjoy the stunning creation around us, so let's make sure we can.