Sustainability: How we strive to help
Sustainability and Green Living has become the hot topic in Denmark (?perhaps globally??). All platforms available to us: Social media, TV and TV commercials, the Internet and even news papers have a focus on the following:
- Global warming
- Eating meat (or going vegan/vegetarian)
- Limiting plastic usage
- Recycling/upcycling/buying second hand
- Electrical vehicles substituting gas/diesel vehicles
… which are all incredibly important subjects. Our planet is changing and our resources are strained in a way we may not have foreseen. I would be lying if I said I don’t think about it at all, but I would also be lying if I said I was about to go 100% vegan or stop traveling by car or plane. I don’t know about you, and I have the utmost respect for people who do make those choices to change their life radically, but I believe that small steps (changes) in every household can make a huge difference long term.
Organic: But is that sustainable?
I am no professional on this topic, and I just love sticking my nose into papers and articles regarding these things so – when looking purely on organic foods with a sustainability focus – is it better? I guess my conclusion and what I believe is it depends. A good read-up is this Danish article (of course not the one and only truth), but like I said I am a curious mind. Also, I love buying organic!(!), but as the site points out: “The climate-friendly steak does not exist.” Only not eating it would make it so.
So, at the end of the day… to buy organic or to not buy organic. I will continue buying it, because the for and against in relation to sustainability does not outweigh (what I believe are) the health benefits and quality of eating organically.
Sustainability in our home
We are no saints in our household. There. I said it. Okay, you probably knew this already. Nevertheless here are my few tips and tricks (changes you could say), to how we are living greenified. Yes I made that word up.
- Minimising usage of plastic bags: Grocery shopping. The plastic bags are right there at checkout, easy no? !Wrong! BYOB – bring your own bag – not made of plastic preferably. We have 3-4 bags in various sizes we bring when going to get groceries. Some can even be washed! Boom, easy peasy (and cheaper than buying a bag every time). Also, in Nicolai’s lunch box we try to use Tupperware packaging rather than ‘bagging’ it up. He is also a stud as he uses one plastic bag pr. week to transport his morning smoothie in his re-useable smoothie-cup of course… duh.
- Train, bike, walk: Nicolai takes the bike and the train every morning to work. We have a car but even if it rains he is on that bike. When not on maternity-leave I do the same. The car is for when we need it (and I would not not have it oh gosh), but if the weather is good why not walk to the doctor? The bakery? To get groceries? We aim to get exercise and thus by default it is the ‘green’ choice.
- Meat: Okay I admit this one is tricky. We love protein. That being said we have made changes, subconsciously even. Every week we have at least one meat-free day, which came about because we are massive fans of falafels. Seriously, they taste so good! So why not include them in a salad or in pita? Yumm… Other than that we eat mostly chicken. That may sound boring but chicken goes well in 1) Italian 2) Mexican 3) Asian 4) Danish 5) Indian 6) EVERYTHING. Once you crack the code to making chicken TASTE good, you’re good. We also enjoy fish once or twice every week. We still eat pork or steak, just not as often. I love a good steak, medium-rare preferably, but I’d rather have it once in a while (law of diminishing returns). Additionally, the amount of meat we have in regular meals has decreased. We have between 200-260g meat in total when meat is included and we just ramp up on vegetables!
- Milk: Another tricky one. In Denmark we drink cows milk a lot. Kids drink it in school and in general we are advised to drink 500 ml every day for all of our lives. I will keep drinking my milk, just because I think it tastes good AND because it gives me the calcium I need. Now, I do two things to greenify still – I buy the cartons that are produced with less Co2 (minimising the Co2 footprint) AND I buy oat or almond-milk to use for porridge or morning coffee. I like my organic cows milk for lunch. I really enjoy the alternatives in oatmeal or coffee. ?Sorry not sorry?? Also, the oat-milk I buy has a rebate-system in Denmark. It is slightly more expensive (still organic) and comes in a plastic bottle, which we then return to the supermarket for 1.5 DKK – we get the money – they can recycle the bottle.
- Trash sorting: This is something I had to learn to do, and to enjoy. Now it actually gives me some level of satisfaction. Solrød does not promote sorting biodegradable items (Copenhagen did), which stinks! We still sort it though, and also metal, cardboard, paper and “regular trash”. I hope plastic and bio will be introduced in our compound soon!
- Second hand buying: This is not my strongest suit, and there is room for improvement. With a baby coming we have used second hand shopping quite a bit both for clothes and furniture, and I will admit you can get some really nice things. This is an area I like to explore and look into, hence writing it on the list. I try to buy consciously. An example is H&M, who does a lot in sustainability and usage of e.g. Organic Cotton. Their brand ‘conscious’ is very much in focus, which I like to support.
A little here and a little there goes a long way
As you can tell we are far from perfect. Also, why am I writing all of this? Too much time on my hands for one, and because I would like to shout out loud: “A little CAN make a difference – if we all do it!”
How do you guys feel about sustainability? Do you have any tips & tricks to throw my way? Please do so as I would like to hear from you!