Last month the world celebrated Earth Day, an annual day to speak about the planet, to demonstrate support for protecting the environment, and to focus our attention on climate action. It is a day where we come together to speak about and recognise what really matters: the Earth that we live on and the climate crisis.
Yet while Earth Day takes up one day, it is the actions that we do everyday that help us to create an impact. It is the little things we all do, regularly and routinely, to put the planet and its people first that make a difference.
There is a quote by the zero waste chef, Anne Marie Bonneau, that we at Terra Neutra particularly believe and resonate with:
‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’
Being sustainable does not have to mean completely changing our life. It does not mean that we must live a completely zero waste life, never buy new, and go vegan. If we can do these things then that is amazing. But often, we just simply aren’t able to do everything.
The thing that is important is that we all make an effort. That we make an active choice to learn more. Sometimes we think of sustainability, of being carbon positive, and it feels like we need to make big changes in our life, a feeling that can leave us overwhelmed. But when we take steps of learning more about what we can do, of the small changes we can make in our day to day such as buying second hand or eating seasonally -- we can start to make a difference. It’s about the journey of learning more, being mindful of our impact, and gradually bringing sustainability into our lives with a few lifestyle changes. It isn’t about practising sustainability perfectly, it’s about making decisions with the planet in mind.
At Terra Neutra we have taken steps to try and be more conscious and sustainable in the way that we both live and work. Here we share with you how we practise sustainability imperfectly — the things that we do, the things that we don’t do, and how each day we try our best to be conscious, vulnerable, and sustainable.
All of us at Terra Neutra work from home, and therefore our carbon footprint is much lower. Not only do we not have to commute, we can also lower our waste by eating at home. We also all use a renewable energy supplier to keep our carbon footprint low. Using Bulb for our home energy helps us to limit our environmental impact by 3.2 tonnes of CO2 a year.
There are also other ways we reduce our carbon footprint. Charlotte, for example, has shared her journey of buying no new clothes for a year which you can read here. By reducing the amount of fast fashion we consume, we can really make an impact and be more sustainable. We have found working from home has also helped to reduce the amount of new clothes being bought.
Working with us in our supply chain is Conscious Creatives, a sustainability agency who have helped us with our mission statement and marketing. In choosing to work with Conscious Creatives we focused on being both mindful and sustainable. They are a small team based in Cornwall that also have a low carbon footprint and put sustainability first. Working with another ethical and conscious team based in the UK is one way that we have followed our values when employing.
Here are some ways that we are trying to be more sustainable, but doing so imperfectly. These are things we know we could be doing better, but we are also not not doing anything at all. The more things we can do imperfectly as a collective, the more we try to do better, rather than doing nothing for fear of not doing enough, we are making a small difference.
Some of these include:
We still eat meat, but we reduce the amount of meat we eat and make sure to have a diet that is very plant-based too, helped by veg boxes. The meat we eat is mostly organic or grass fed meaning that the land the animals live on sequesters carbon at the same time as providing our food, overly mechanised farms have little or no grassland so the methane the cows emit has a doubly bad effect on the environment. Veg boxes encourage us to eat both locally and organically, helping local farmers and also allowing us to eat more healthily too. Veg boxes have little or no packaging so they are low waste plus they are seasonal so they have reduced air miles and a lower carbon footprint as a result.
We have significantly reduced the amount that we travel, helped by working from home, and often use public transport when we can. Despite this, Charlotte does have a seven seater diesel family car which is not the most sustainable option and which will have to go when the new ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone)charges come in in October 2021. The question is there an EV that’s right for us and can we afford it? We also try our best not to fly, yet would not be completely against the idea of flying too. It is important to note that even if we still fly, reducing the amount we fly when we can still has a significant effect on our personal carbon footprint. We of course offset any flights we do take and Luke is working to offset all the flights he has ever taken on BA. A whopping 312,792 miles due to his previous job’s requirement to travel frequently.
As a small team of three it means that we are not diversely employed yet and still have a way to go. As we grow we can encourage and welcome diversity in all forms. This is a key policy going forward as we have learnt that climate change is so interlinked with issues of inequality. We hope to employ our next employee with someone through the kickstart scheme who is currently on universal credit. It would be great to help train up a new person to help save the planet.
We are all on our own journey towards sustainability. This is ours, where we are now, the things that can be improved, and why we do not have to be perfect to be sustainable. As long as we are trying to do more. We always say that everyone has to make changes to address climate change, from individuals, to businesses to governments. Charlotte is an environmental champion for her local Council in London and regularly lobbies her MP on any related issues.
One way we can do this is through offsetting.
Offsetting is not the number one most sustainable way of being carbon positive. Only significant change in our lives can be that. But offsetting is a way that we can help to bring balance, to give something back to the planet when we do take that flight, or eat plenty of meat at Christmas. It is an extra thing we can do to give back in times when we are unable to be sustainable. Our mantra is ‘awareness, reduction and then offsetting’. If you have learnt about what makes up your carbon footprint and reduced your consumption as much as you can then offsetting will help you contribute to a carbon positive world and that’s what we all need to be doing.To read more about offsetting, and offset your carbon emissions, then click here.