It’s been a weird year. And if that isn’t the biggest understatement to be ever be uttered, I really don’t know what is. Seriously, think about it: we’ve gone from being glued to a pseudo-doco about crazed gun touting tiger tamers, making our own sour-dough (here’s our recipe), and now, just like a prolonged hangover we’re coming to terms with what’s happened over the last few months. I’m sure we’ve all thought it can’t get any wilder. Knock on wood.
One of the more notable memes to come from the Covid-sphere is the all too familiar “nature is healing” meme which spanned for a good few weeks, and with that came some all too hilarious adaptations to the formula. All jokes aside, and without dipping into the waters of eco-fascism, some parts of the world did have a bit of a temporary respite; a much-deserved breather for mother nature. Yet we were all too busy trying to keep ourselves safe from the looming threat of the virus that being conscious of the environment became secondary to our main goal, which was peace of mind and security.
We can’t be too hard on ourselves, and it’s perfectly understandable that many of our favorite businesses are trying to take extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of their clients and customers. Hence this is our time to really take control of the situation and use this opportunity to try out new things and reflect on the small steps we can take to be more eco-friendly. After all, La La Lista is a culture magazine, and this is as much a part of culture as anything else.
In addition to these handy tips we should also pay tribute to the lovely fellas belonging to the top 20 fossil fuel companies that contribute to 1/3 of all green house gas emissions (aren’t they doing a stellar job of sitting of on their hands?). Moreover let’s give a big round of applause to companies like BP who have continued to fund PR campaigns and introduced the world to the term “carbon footprint.” I sincerely hope you meet everyone’s favorite fallen angel because he’s been sharpening his pitchfork waiting for your arrival.
Although everyone should be doing their bit to help the environment we shouldn’t take ownership of the big picture problem, companies profiting off their refusal to make change. What will really heal the world is a systemic overhaul. Local governments have been announcing eco-friendly initiatives for a post-pandemic world. In the meantime, we can do our small part. Here are some humble suggestions.
Do you remember the first few days of lockdown when toilet paper was a more valuable commodity than gold, chillers in the supermarket were barren wastelands, and the only evidence that you were in fact in a supermarket was a sad vegetarian milanesa buried at the bottom of the freezer? I sure do.
Let’s be real and consider the fact that this panic buying once and for all gave the general public the proof it needed that this is a stupid method of sustaining your pantry. Overstocking your own supplies with food that will quite possibly expire by the time you get to consuming it is easily one of the most wasteful things you can do.
Instead try and keep a steady supply of non-perishables in your cupboards and don’t resort to bulk-buying things which you may ultimately never get around to using. Because my partner and I are boring adults, we try to make spreadsheets and plan out our meals during the week to ensure we aren’t over shopping and in the process we’re saving a huge amount of money.
EATING IN OVER EATING OUT
Admittedly, this is a hard one, and I’ll be the first to admit that my Covid bod is looking proper plump for this exact reason because I’ve probably had a fair few takeouts during lockdown. But it’s something I’ve been reining in, and for good reason.
Due to the lockdown we need to consider many factors when ordering our food and how this impacts the environment. What sort of packaging will be used to deliver my food? How is my food being delivered? In terms of ingredients, are they locally sourced and sustainable? We can’t always be perfect but we can certainly be aware and try to make more informed choices with our humble takeaways.
Also I use this as a good excuse to get a healthy dose of empanadas every week because my local shop only puts theirs in a cardboard container. No plastic waste is always a bonus. However if you are going to make the order and you’ve been left with a ridiculous amount of plastic cutlery, containers, and everything in between, you should try your best and re-use what you can and then recycle the rest.
Speaking of eco-friendly food, pizza almost always comes in a nice recyclable cardboard carrier of cheesy goodness so you can have guilt-free gorgonzola without hurting the planet.
EAT LESS MEAT
Easily one of the most sure-fire ways to be immediately more eco-friendly is to cut down on your consumption of meat. I know that having an asado is an almost sacred religious experience to the majority of Argentines, but even just cutting down your consumption minimally will make a world of difference to the environment.
Also even the type of meat you’re choosing to consume can make a hell of a lot of difference to making your meal substantially more sustainable. Interestingly, opting to eat more chicken compared to pork and beef will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint because of the manpower, feed and upkeep required to transport those pigs and cows onto your plate. Become a flexitarian instead of a ravenous meat eater by simply just cutting back on a steak or two a week.
USE IT ALL
One of the biggest things I’ve gotten into during this lockdown is using what I can when I can. It’s been something I’ve actively been trying to adhere and now it’s become a bit of a routine. I used to be pretty wasteful, throwing out a huge amount of vegetable and meat scraps without even a second thought, because in the past I had a garden so I could compost.
Instead I now find myself making stocks, broths and soups which not only use some of those previously discarded items. They taste so much better especially if you can get a variety of root vegetable scraps to use. I’ve also had a lot of my clothing rip, wear, and tear during the lockdown, but the great thing is I’ve now acquired some new cleaning rags and material to make homemade masks. The best thing is there really is no limit to your creativity so why not see how you can reduce, reuse and recycle goods around your home.
Also even opting for more sustainable hygiene products such as bamboo toothbrushes or reusable menstrual products can be hugely beneficial because you’re limiting your contribution to our already overloaded landfills.
Seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s harder to comprehend the impact, especially since some of our favorite stores are closing and platforms like Mercado Libre are making it very easy to just click and collect products. We have to try and make active efforts to buy local when possible.
Not only is this a good way to ensure the products you’re buying aren’t coming from halfway across the world into your hot little hands, but especially during these times we should be trying to spend our money within the local economy rather than handing our money to greedy conglomerates who only care about their bottom line.
It should be something we all strive to do: buy local products, support local business, and keep money within the local economy. The best thing is you can start small like buying some new fashionable face wear to rock in the streets.
Just remember, friends: to truly save the world, we need massive and systemic change. In the meantime, small steps can make a big difference.