Unknowingly, my ethical journey started when I decided to turn vegetarian at the age of 12. Growing up in a household which supported the then unusual movement was liberating, and I felt as if I could make a real difference- one chicken at a time. However, even in 2004, we as consumers didn’t fully understand the damage we were doing to the environment, climate or oceans and what we could do to help. Consumers are now more conscious than ever, but as always there is still work to be done to combat climate change and within that; support a circular economy.
After 18 years in education, I have had to educate myself in plastic waste and climate change, and have actually woken up to the fact that I am often using something indestructible for a temporary purpose. Whether that be in the supermarket, at home or work. My posts for EBD will take you on my ethical journey and introduce you to many ground-breaking movements in sustainability and inspirations I find along the way.
The person in my household which drove our family of five’s waste reduction, and inspired my ethical eating habits, was of-course my Mum. And it’s not uncommon that throughout the world, females are driving the climate change revolution and trying to solve a very man-made issue with feminist solutions.
There are a handful of amazing women I have been inspired by so far, and I would like to celebrate them with you.
For years, ethically minded female inventions have been sitting on the sidelines, either seen as taboo or for whatever reason; an unessential investment. But in recent years, finally, some pioneering inventions geared toward improving the lives of ethically conscious females are soaring in popularity.
Image Credit: www.shethinx.com
One such invention comes from the company ‘THINX’ founded by social entrepreneur Miki Agrawal. A fully absorbent and re-usable pant which not only reduces sanitary waste but is an intelligent alternative in the market, allowing women more comfort, freedom and flexibility whilst on their period. As an American company, the shipping costs for the UK are high, but it now has UK stockists and other adaptations following suit to make them more affordable. I would strongly recommend looking at their cheeky adverts in New York which turned a few heads and started to change the conversation around personal products.
Image Credit: www.shethinx.com
The need for this type of re-usable item is essential, as 65% of European wide rubbish (largely consisting of sanitary waste) that was being sent to China is now being sent to Vietnam, India and Poland. Seriously!? We as a western society need to be responsible for the waste we generate, and it’s amazing that new inventions are leading the way to make this easy for us. Let’s be honest, if this type of invention had been pursued decades ago, the idea wouldn’t be as taboo as it is now.
More good news.. The social entrepreneur has just launched her newest project ‘Tush’, creating smarter ways to clean your bum by breaking the cycle of using toilet paper. Something we have simply been throwing away since 1820. Watch this space for her solution to be introduced to the masses.
Women Challenging The Status Quo
I have struggled to come to terms with the fact that of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste in the world today, only 9% of it has ever been recycled. So many people I know will think that they have ‘done their bit’ just by recycling, but we all need to wake up to the fact that even when recycled, one plastic bottle will never become another plastic bottle.
Powerful women who have inspired me over the last few years to tackle unacceptable plastic norms include Judi Wakhungu, former environment secretary of Nairobi. It took her almost 4 years in office to ban the use, manufacture and importation of single-use plastic bags in 2017, by placing heavy fines ranging from 15,000- 38,000 USD. The strength, intelligence and determination it took her to not only ban single-use bags but begin to nurture alternative plastic bag industries is so empowering and means that in many ways, Kenya is ahead of the developed world in plastic waste policy.
I cannot forget to celebrate the wide range of work which Mary Robinson has achieved. She is the former president of Ireland and a UN high commissioner. Her charity, The Mary Robinson Foundation, provides a space for facilitating action on climate change to empower the poorest people and countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.
Image Credit: www.mothersofinvention.online
Mauve Robinson and Mary have just created a new podcast, Mothers of Invention, to highlight the importance of climate justice. I would highly recommend a listen if you have enjoyed the content in this post.
These women’s intuitions within male-dominated government bodies have enabled them to push through pioneering (and occasionally unpopular) legislation, which have long been left on the sidelines. If I could take just a pinch of their determination and patience to inspire my ethical revolution, maybe I’ll be able to go plastic-free for one month!
Women Facing The Biggest Challenge
As western societies begin to wake up to the damage we have done to the environment over the last century, there is a real struggle that the poorest families in the global south are facing, of which women make up a large percentage. Being faced with droughts, rising sea levels and disease, it is actually more essential than ever for these women to take the reins on climate action.
Within farming communities, for example, a new UN report claims that thousands of women can make headway in climate action by making changes to their daily lives. These changes include finding alternative cooking methods and adaptation technology in agriculture. A statement which highlights the key which women in the global south hold to climate solutions come from UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, “For the Paris Agreement to succeed, women and girls must be fully involved in climate policy. When we include women in climate solutions, we see enhanced economic growth and the outcomes are more sustainable.”
More more more!
Celebrating all the great work we as conscious consumers are doing to combat climate change and keep the planet safe is impossible in 500 words. I want to hear what you as readers have been inspired by this month. Send me some suggestions to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Evie is going through the ethical fashion evolution and has decided to share her diary and experience with us as she evolves and learns more.
Every month she will update us on new and exciting discoveries – and give us a sneak peak into her every day life.