I wasn’t aware of my environmental impact up until I started looking into veganism in 2014. I had absolutely no idea that I was contributing to ocean pollution, cutting down the Amazon rainforest, climate change, animal suffering, or pretty much anything.
I lived in a bubble where the people who were responsible for those issues were the big oil industry and our governments. Obviously, I wasn’t doing anything bad whenever I brought home a plastic bag with two teeny-tiny tomatoes in them or whenever I ate a big steak with grilled cheese on the side.
It was so much easier back then. Ignorance really is bliss.
Just a few facts about how we are destroying our mother nature:
- A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. *
- Climate change could triple the number of asylum seekers to the EU by the year 2100. *
- There are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. *
- Over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement and ingestion. *
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. *
- Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. *
These are just a few facts that are known to us. These are just a few facts that might look different 50 years from today if we start taking action and stop exploiting nature and animals.
Today is the day for all of us to become a Green Goddess.
- I wrote a post on what we can do today to be more eco-friendly.
- I wrote a post on how to fight climate change in 10 steps.
I am taking action every single day. By not consuming animals, reducing the use of plastic, walking or using public transportation, and not buying things that I do not need, I am helping the planet.
If I would have to rate myself on how green I am, from 1 to 10, I would give myself a solid 6.
There is still so much I can do! There is always so much I can do.
But the point is not in being a perfectionist and striving for a zero-waste lifestyle in the next 6 months, it’s about progress.
Progress, progress, progress.
Whether we are talking about plastic, eating animals, saving water, going solar… It doesn’t matter. We should be always striving for progress and achieving that by taking small steps towards living a green lifestyle and becoming a real Green Goddess.
I have met so many people who come up with so many excuses:
- But, like, even if I start using a cotton bag instead of the plastic one and I stop buying bottled water every day, I will still buy food that is in a plastic packaging. I can’t just stop using plastic, Tanja!
- But, like, just because I stop eating animals and go, like, vegan, there will still be billions of others who are eating animals, so, like, I am not doing enough. I am saving such a tiny amount of animals compared to how many of them will be slaughtered.
- But, like, I need my car to drive my kids to school and I could only use public transportation or –gasp- walk to my work, twice a week.
I have heard it all before, guys. Seriously.
And what I want you to remember is that I am not asking you to go vegan in a day, sell your car and buy an electric one, or go zero waste in a week.
I am telling you that:
- You can replace some animal products with plant-based alternatives (way, way, way fewer crops and less water is used in making a plant-based burger than in making one from an animal) and add more veggies and legumes on your plate every day.
- You can use your car when you need it, but whenever possible, you can go about your business with a bike, a train, a bus, walk, or even share a ride.
- You can start with reusable bags, wooden straws and glass water bottles.
I am telling you that you can start reducing and making progress. I am not telling you to completely change your life from today to tomorrow, that would be, a) probably impossible and b) too hard for anyone to achieve.
It took me 11 months to go from vegetarian to vegan. It didn’t happen in a day. I was reducing animal products from my diet day by day, every month I ate less dairy. Every day I dedicated time to learn more so that when I went vegan, I knew. It took some preparation and it took dedication to making progress. Until one day, I just woke up and said: you know what; I am officially vegan from today on.
And the thing is, even today, three years after that deciding moment, I am STILL making progress. I am still reducing animal products (not food, but cleaning products) from my life. I will always be making progress.
Same with plastic. I am reducing every day more and I am making progress with each purchase I make that doesn’t contain plastic. But it will take some time for me to be comfortable with the amount of plastic I am ready to let go completely. It will take more preparation, more thinking and planning ahead, it will take more dedication.
That’s why I am telling you – it’s all about progress. Maybe some of you can switch in one day and become a Green Goddes right away, but many of you cannot. And that’s okay.
Let me know in the comment section what are you trying to make progress in right now, and how are you finding the inspiration to keep reducing whatever you are reducing? Are you close to becoming a Green Goddess?
And if you have a minute, please follow me on Twitter.