Written by Stephanie Kleanthous
Illustration by Emily Birch
Last week the Amazon rainforest was yet again set on fire, leaving São Paolo ‘in the dark’.
The center, the National Institute for Space Research, which monitors fires using satellite images, reported on Wednesday that it had detected 39,194 fires this year in the world’s largest rain forest, a 77 percent increase from the same period in 2018.The New York Times
An article posted in The Guardian blamed this on the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro and his ‘extremist environment minister’, Ricardo Salles for being too greedy and maintaining disbelief in climate change.
“Since 1978 over 750,000 square kilometers (289,000 square miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana.”Mongabay
Cattle ranching takes up 65-70% of the share of direct deforestation and the demand for soy, sugar, and palm oil also contributes.
Let’s face it, the planet’s dying, Indigenous communities are at risk and not everyone cares. The people in power are encouraging it and it may make you feel powerless. However, there are things you can do as an individual because as demand decreases, so will the supply.
If you’re reading this then I’m going to assume that you do care and are looking for some easy switches you can make in your daily life to do your part.
I’m not 100% sure we can ever truly ‘save’ the planet, but let’s at least try and push back the impending doom for as long as we can with the following changes:
- The obvious is cutting down on meat, particularly canned beef from overseas. The alternative could be switching to locally sourced meat or vegetarian/vegan meals a few times a week (or every day if possible). Linda Mccartney vegetarian sausages can be found here in Iceland for only £1.50! Iceland also have their own amazing range of ‘No Bull’ substitutes for an average of £2 which can be found here. If you enjoy cooking from scratch, there are plenty of meat-free cookbooks here.
- Recycled toilet paper – toilet paper is a single-use paper product meaning it contributes to the planet’s pollution and deforestation on a large scale. “Virgin pulp, the key ingredient in toilet paper, accounted for 23% of Canada’s forest product exports.” Amazon brand, Presto!, is available for as little as 45p per roll here. Below is also a list of brands that have been rated by NRDC.
- Try and ditch the wet wipes / make-up remover wipes – alternatives such as reusable bamboo pads which can be found here on Amazon for £9.99 (a small splurge at first but in the long run will save you money). If you’re into skincare and happy to spend a little more on a product you’d buy regularly then I’d suggest The Ordinary’s incredible Squalane Cleanser which can be bought here for £5.50. Both products mentioned are alcohol, oil and cruelty free.
- Cut out plastic water bottles – swap for a reusable BPA-free bottle. It goes without saying the drastic impact single-use plastic is having on our planet, therefore carrying around a reusable bottle would make a huge difference. These can often be found in your nearest TK-Maxx for less than £10 or here on Amazon for £7.99 and filtered bottles here for £9.99. Again, a small splurge at first but consider the future savings. If you buy mineral water daily to avoid drinking from the tap, I really would suggest installing a filter if this is financially possible for you. Drinking from plastic will have a negative impact on your health regardless.
- Cutting out or down on dairy – switching from cow’s milk to oat, almond or coconut milk will have a huge impact. I am aware these are not as cheap as dairy, so please only see this list as options to pick and choose from where financially possible.
- Sustainable clothing – here are just a few out of many brands that are environmentally friendly that you might like to try out: Nobody’s Child, H&M’s ‘conscious collection’, Sophie Antonia Scott (SAS) are making swimwear ‘fully lined with fabric made from fish nets, plastic bottles and other discarded material’ which can be found here and Weekday are consistently working towards better sustainability which can be found here. The other option is using apps such as Depop to buy what other people no longer want that you might love!
While we must still continue to demand more from those in power, hopefully you’ve found at least one simple switch you can make from this list to help out. And please, let’s stop making pointless videos like this for likes or ‘mukbang’, it really isn’t worth the harm it’s causing.