It's World Environment Day, which is a good chance to put our own environmental deeds under the microscope. We at RESET asked ourselves two questions. The first was what do we do every day that's good for the environment, the second was what could we do better. Check out our answers below – perhaps you also have a few tips for us!
World Environment Day is a day of action that lands on 5 June each year. It was introduced in 1972 by the United Nations Environment Programme at the first UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.
Even though we here at RESET are knee-deep in topics relating to the environment and climate protection, we are also confronted on a daily basis with the question as to how we could live more eco-consciously. So, we're using World Environment Day as an opportunity to share with you what we do well and what we could improve upon. The results of our mini team survey show that there are key areas where we all shine (cycling and separating rubbish) and a few where we still need to do some work (air travel and clothing). But surely we're not alone here...
Hanadi (writes for RESET Germany):
1. My good deed for the environment is that I reuse paper bags I get from the baker eg. as lunch bags for my midday break.
2. The area that needs more work for me is cosmetics. I would really like to be more aware of what my moisturisers are made out of (such as palm oil, toxic materials etc). But it is almost impossible. Sometimes I resolve to only buy cosmetics that contain ingredients that I can picture in my head but that takes a lot of time and they aren't usually so easy to find...tips?
Ajay (writes for RESET International):
1. I pretty much never use plastic bags when I go shopping.
2. I love to go shopping for clothes. My solution: if I notice that there are certain items of clothing that I am not wearing, I try to redesign them so that they're wearable.
Laura (writes for RESET Germany):
1. I usually buy my clothes secondhand, my food from good sources and wrap presents in newspaper.
2. I love to travel – particularly via plane.
Stephanie (Intern at RESET):
1. As a consumer, I would say that I try my best to be careful in terms what I buy in all aspects from clothes to groceries. For instance, I would say 90 percent of my clothes are second hand and I would choose my local social enterprise collective or the weekly market for my groceries if money permits rather than a supermarket. I recently decided to stop drinking coffee, as I do not want to support the coffee bean trade regardless of fair trade or not, industries such as the cocoa and coffee industry have trapped their growers and producers and I do not think enough is being done to free them.
2. That being said, although better than driving, I have mostly taken public transport whilst my bike lies unfixed and has been so for months. I use the U-bahn perhaps four times per day, and I could be reducing my personal emissions considerably by simply fixing and using my bicycle instead. I am also a frequent flyer, which is also something I could absolutely change, if I planned my time better and utilised others modes of transports such as buses and trains, and of course car sharing.
Lisa (Intern at RESET):
1. I prefer to eat vegetarian with a few trips here and there into vegan territory.
2. Even though I know what goes into making cocoa and the value that chocolate has, I can't seem to go without chocolate. I usually buy organic chocolate that has been produced under fair trade conditions however I do catch myself here and there putting chocolate or other sweets not made from sustainable cocoa beans in my shopping cart.
Henriette (Intern at RESET):
1. I mainly get around Berlin by bike or public transport. Whenever I need to go to another city, I always carshare. That way, I meet nice people, help the planet and pay a lot less than if I used the German rail system.
2. Even though I try to focus on buying clothes from small, local and, where possible, fair designers, I do love shoes and garments from brands that aren't as fair and sustainable. I still don't have a proper solution so instead, I use swap platforms such as the German portal Kleiderkreisel. Here, I bought three pairs of used brand shoes at much cheaper prices from people who either bought the wrong thing or didn't want the shoes anymore. This way, I can wear what I like and avoid having to buy direct from the source.
Louisa (writes for RESET International, currently in Laos):
1. I ride my bicycle from home to my office every day at a distance of 5 km each way. I am quite proud of sticking to this 'climate-smart' transportation while my other colleagues drive big pick-up trucks or motorbikes to work. People have noticed that air pollution is getting more serious nowadays in the capital of Laos.
2. I feel guilty about consuming too many plastic packaging sometimes, which is not easy to avoid given street vendors and restaurants in Laos tend to pack take-away food in plastic bags. For example, if you order one bowl of noodles in soup, you will be taking away all together 10 small plastic bags for the soup, the herbs, the noddles, the meat, and other side dishes that go along with the noodles.
Adam (writes for RESET Germany):
1. I buy regional produce when grocery shopping and prefer to ride the train or bus instead of driving or flying within Germany.
2. I need to pay more attention to where my clothes come from. Unfortunately, this doesn't always fit with my budget so, therefore, I am no shopping junkie. I wish there were more transparent consumer information for a corresponding trend towards a greater awareness of fairly-produced clothing.
Hendrik (Programmer for RESET):
1. I work for RESET, am vegetarian, have no car and consume modestly.
2. I could engage more people in this topic.
Marcel (Programmer for RESET):
1. I drive a car as rarely as possible and instead ride my bike even to go grocery shopping.
2. I am too lazy to separate rubbish (I live on the fifth floor). I don't have a solution but sometimes I do at least separate paper.
Indra (leads the German editorial team):
1. I only buy fruit and vegetables that are not packaged and bring extra canvas bags when shopping so that I don't need any extra bags. And of course: I always cycle! The best would be to have three bicycles: one fast and comfortable everyday bike with a little bit of storage space; a folding bike that I could take with me on trains and transport for long distances and that then allows me to be mobile at my destination; and a cargo bike that I can use to cart around groceries, my child, furniture etc...
2. Clothing! Even though there are so many eco-clothing designers and producers, I am nevertheless into not-so-sustainable clothing and shoes. My solution: fleamarkets – whatever doesn't fit so well lands under my sewing machine.
Anna (leads the international editorial team):
1. I always wash my clothes in cold water to help save energy.
2. I am terrible at unplugging appliances when I am not using them.
Uta (Managing Director of RESET):
1. Nespresso and Co. get overlooked – only fair trade coffee lands in my cup.
2. Unfortunately, I can't get around taking some of the plane trips that I need to. My solution: I set up my own mile account that I cannot exceed and pay fees to climate protection projects.
Do our answers sound familiar? Do you have any tips on how we can turn our sins against the planet into good deeds or would you like to share your experiences and questions with us? Post them here in the comments section – we're very curious!