Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day 1



Making life a little kinder for our planet and all those who live here.

Welcome to Sustainable September 2017. This year I decided that I wanted to go back and look at a whole range of environmental or ‘Eco’ Kindnesses.

This blog is all about being kind to each other, kind to strangers (regardless of our differences), kind to ourselves and kind to our planet.

This one month a year I focus on how to be Kind to the planet. I have such a love for making a difference to the amazing planet that we live in and on. I want to inspire people and show them how simple Eco Kindness is.

Little changes make the world of difference. It can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. It can be the level of participation you want it to be too. You could choose to just do Sustainable September every year, or even Plastic Free July to see if a short change works for you. It could be as simple as changing your single use water bottle for a reusable one, alternatively, you could change your whole life and choose a zero waste lifestyle. Whatever you decide to do for the environment I hope you make a few simple changes and be kinder to the planet for all of us and for all future generations.

The next three days of Sustainable September are about the three ‘traditional’ ideas of managing waste. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Sustainable September Day One is Reduce. Reducing the amount of environmentally unhealthy things you bring into your lives and homes. I’m talking about Refusing Stuff, Waste, Plastics, Chemicals.

REFUSE: Last year, I wrote about the “Zero Waste Home” a book by Bea Johnson. In this book she talks about there being another level of stuff before ‘reduce’ called ‘Refuse’ (You can see this graph better in the video below). This is simply about refusing things that come into your home that you will have to thrown away in the future.

This is about refusing freebies like pamphlets, hotel shampoos, samples etc. For example: Pamphlets, if you take them then you have to get rid of them. Some are able to be recycled but not all of them. Shampoo or soaps at a Hotel/motel/Bed & Breakfast are great for an emergency, however when you take them with you unused, the likely hood of you actually using them also deminishes. they are more likely to end up in landfill unused. It seems crazy but having a stockpile of little plastic wrapped bits wont necessarily help you or the planet. If you leave them there and go prepared to a hotel (most times we know well in advance when we go to for a holiday) you help prevent sending plastic to landfill. Usually the freebie is a large amount of waste for the amount of products you receive. And even though a free pen or a free sample of perfume is lovely to receive, usually they are made out of plastics that will inevitably be sent to landfill.

Reducing the amount of things heading to landfill is what todays Sustainable September Kindness is all about.

WASTE: This section (although long) talks about the extreme lifestyle changes that some people have made to reduce the amount of Waste they produce or participate in producing.

There are two lifestyles that I have noticed work well within the “Reduce” banner of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

One is Zero Waste and the other is Minimalism. These can go hand in hand. The thing is that you don’t HAVE to be either Zero Waste or a Minimalist to make a difference to this planet or live an intentional life. I, personally, find them inspiring. And whilst they are the extremes when it comes to Environmentally Friendly* lives,  we can learn a lot from them. (*Minimalism is not necessarily Environmentally Friendly, but it is about pairing your life to just the necessities that tend to be quality and do not deteriorate as fast).

I’ve talked about the Bea Johnson Book “Zero Waste Home” already. And slowly I am learning how to work with this framework. I still have a lot to learn and to implement when it comes to this lifestyle. But slowly I am implementing many of the actions in this amazing book. I have shared blog posts from Previous Sustainable Septembers on Zero Waste and those amazing people who are brave and crazy enough to give it a go.

Bea Johnson seems to be the most popular Zero Waster. And you can find a whole plethora of short and long videos about her on YouTube Channel. I love watching these. She is a North American so a lot of the specific Zero Waste products she talks about are not always available here in Australia but the ideas themselves are universal. You can Check out this amazing talk she gave recently to TEDxFoggyBottom called “Two Adults, Two Kids, Zero Waste”.

Bea Johnson is not the only one though, YouTube will give you more and more inspirational videos about people taking on the challenge and living Zero Waste Lives. Or even reducing what they were doing with some of the Zero Waste Principals.

Lauren Singer is another of the amazing Zero Wasters that has a heap of helpful videos on how to live a life with less waste. She does a whole heap of Q & A vlogs on YouTube if you want to check it out any further. Her channel is called TrashIsForTossers and you can check out her TEDxTeen Talk here.

I watched this video from a Vegan Vlogger “Joey’s Plate” and found it really interesting because although she is not going 100% Zero waste she has been building on what she is already doing. Reducing waste and considering thoughtfully, her impact on the environment.

Before on this blog I have talked about Minimalism. Minimalism also falls under the “reduce” section of our environmental kindnesses. Reducing what we let into our lives and living lives of intention is far more important that owning all the stuff. I have been following the two guys called “The Minimalists" for a while now. I listen to their Podcast regularly (I’m still working through their back catalogue) and I enjoy the message they have to share. They even have a documentary out at the moment on Netflix called “Minimalism: A documentary about the important things.” I watched this about 9 months ago and it cemented a whole lot of things for me.

If you don’t have netflix or you want to know more about the Minimalists check out this short video interview with the Minimalists Joshua Fields-Milburne and Ryan Nicodemus. The guys at The Minimalists talk below in their transition to minimalist and in the TedTalk they finish up talking about Waste.

These guys are not the be all and end all on Minimalism. I do love how they talk about the fact that they have one recipe of life that is working for them and they want to share it, but they also know that you can change the ingredients of the recipe to suit you own life.

Joshua Becker, another popular blogger and Minimalst gave an hour long talk called “Becoming Minimalist” about the benefits of minimalism in the talk he gave in Sweden in 2015. Joshua Becker describes Minimalism as “the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of anything that distracts us from that.” And says that “Minimalism forces us to define what we really value in Life.” For a shorter video from Joshua Becker check out a shorter one here.

Some of the Benefits of minimalism are: Less Cleaning. More time. More money. More Freedom. Less Decisions (Less decision Fatigue). More Space. Less Stress. Better Environmental Impact. Higher Quality Goods. More opportunity for gratitude. Less Comparison. Contentment. Greater ability for Generosity.

In terms of Environmental Kindness. Minimalism can help us overcome consumerism by being more deliberate with the purchases we make. It is not about giving up shopping or purchasing things all together… it is about making wise and intentional choices. For example: buying things that will last longer so that we are not continually replacing & throwing away items. Instead of buying the latest “it” things we can choose a carefully curated life where we buy what we need and love.

If we can see what Minimalism can bring to our lives, the benefits and the possibilities, we can focus on more of the things we really want for our lives right now. Including adding value to others lives. This can include saving money to do extravagant Kindnesses (in my case) or to support a worthwhile charity or group who are making a difference in the world. This can also mean that we have enough time to do it.

PLASTIC: Did you know…
Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century the world economy produced more plastic than the entire 1900's!” (Plastic Free July).

When it comes to reducing Plastics, it can be as simple as reducing the amount of plastic single use items that come into our lives. Making smarter or wiser choices about items we buy and things we purchase. For example, choosing a glass jar of pickles instead of a plastic jar of pickles. It can be making sure the body wash you buy doesn’t have plastic micro beads. Or choosing to buy whole potatoes to prepare instead of buying a prepackaged bag of frozen chips. It can be the difference between buying a bag of rice in a fabric bag rather than a plastic one. Choosing to go without a plastic bag at a shop for just one item. You could go extreme like the zero wasters or the Plastic Free July team and give up all plastic in almost every area in life. Making the choice to reduce that amount can make a massive difference to our planet.

CHEMICALS: A lot of Chemicals can have harmful reactions to us, as humans, as well as to many other living beings and also to the earth itself. Making choices to reduce the types of Chemicals we use on our bodies, in our homes, offices, gardens and transportations (Cars, Motorcycles, Mopeds, Buses, etc). This can make a huge impact on our general wellbeing.

Personally, I don’t feel very well after being exposed to some beauty products and a lot of ‘regular-store-bought’ cleaning products. That is not including a lot of chemicals that are used in gardens, offices and on some of the public transport that I use. My reactions can be as simple as feeling nauseous and as extreme as face or body swelling (if directly exposed), eyes watering, nose running, headaches and migraines, vomiting and fatigue. It is one of the reasons that our house has reduced the amount of chemicals it uses. If this is what these chemicals do to me on a small scare, I wonder what they are doing in large quantities to our planet.

FINALLY: In the coming month I will look at some substitutes both in cleaning and beauty products. I will even be talking about how to make these supplies simply and easily and with minimum waste.

I will also be including "Activity" ideas for you to have a hands on approach to changing your lifestype to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly one. This could be an art, craft, action or game. 

ACTIVITY 1: Take a bushwalk, a walk on the beach and admire the world that you are wanting to help protect.

Last year I included an idea of how you could do a Random Act of Kindness or a simple act of kindness that vaguely related to the Sustainable September idea for the day. For those that are looking for Kindness ideas around these Sustainable September ideas... well I wanted to throw that to you. I want you to suggest as many Kindness ideas as you can think of for Sustainable September, and you can do this here or on the 365Days-Of-Kindness facebook page

I hope you enjoy this months Sustainable September information and Blog. I have opened up a Page on my Blog (a tab at the top) that will let you access any resources from this year and previous years. So feel free to check that out too. Please note that it is a continual work in progress and an act of love. So i will be continually adding information and resources.

Hope this all helps with your Eco-Kindnesses.
Sending love,
Daena Guest x


  1. Great start Daena. I like the idea of being kind to the earth and look forward to the whole month!

    1. Thanks Eira. Hopefully you enjoy the whole month. Not sufe there will be much you don't already know, but i hope you can find somethimg useful in it! Love Daena x