How do you justify a lifestyle that is bad for the planet? Maybe that question goes for most lifestyles nowadays. Simply being alive means we’ll have a more or less bad effect on the climate as soon as we eat, buy stuff and move around. We’d have to live very differently to not make our planet worse. For someone who loves both travelling and nature this is a dilemma.
There’s a new word for a feeling of ‘climate-anxiety’. We’re bombarded with variations of news of a upcoming natural disaster. Those news might come on top of a demanding and stressful life with too many ‘should’s’. A unhappy and stressed person couldn’t care less about the climate. That is why personal sustainability is important. One needs to find a balance in taking care of oneself to be able to care for the planet. Or do a little of both at the same time.
I think it’s better to have a motivation for living more sustainably with ‘love-for-nature’ and meaningfulness rather than, ‘if-you-dont-we’ll-all-die’.
The more people who love nature, the more we’ll want to save our nature. It’s better if many does something small to help, rather than a few bending over backwards. I think sustainability can be done without judgment and pressure. Threats and shame is simply not the best motivation. Awareness is a better one.
Awareness on the climate changes will tell you that travelling and fossil fuel is one of the heaviest loads on the planet. For someone who loves travelling and have built a adventurous career with travelling and guiding (far away), this is a tough dilemma. I believe travelling is good in the way it gives you energy and motivation to keep doing good. I don’t think we need to stop travelling. I have met many who grew a interest for the ocean environment after having snorkelled abroad with both fish and plastic. Increasing awareness and thinking about how we travel is a good start. Since last year I have thought of how I can change my travel habits, and this is what I came up with;
– I can travel less, and not always so far.
– When I’m away I stay longer.
– I can buy compensation rights and chose bio-fuel.
– I can do all short travels by train/bicycle.
– I’m not doing long trips for just a meeting I can do over skype.
– I can choose the theme of my trips.
I am proud of my last trip to Maldives which went to a local island who ran a environmentally aware hotel and dive center. Ecotourism emphasises conservation, education, traveler responsibility and is a way to explore our world without stressing its resources. If you need to fly you can use something called ‘carbon offsetting’, it is used to balance out these emissions by helping to pay for emission savings in other parts of the world. I bought a so called ‘climate compensation’ for flying to Maldives via Tricorona (CDM projects). I ran a freediving course which is one of my jobs. Freediving leaves next to no footprint (if you wear coral-reef friendly sunscreen). We ran beach-clean ups and worked with a whaleshark conservation research programme. The secret plan with freediving is to help more people fall in love with the ocean so that they also want to help saving it :-)
I try to balance my travelling by having a more sustainable life while at home. Here are some of my habits and ideas:
FOOD – Being a vegetarian/vegan reduces a lot of pressure on the climate. I love animals and hate the way the meat-business is run. Also, agriculture has a lot of run-off into the ocean. Being a vegetarian I don’t eat fish. There’s not enough fish in the sea because of overfishing. Are you willing to try a few days a week without meat? ‘According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the livestock sector is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The FAO estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 per cent. – https://www.meatfreemondays.com/about/
CARRY ON – Don’t buy plastic bottles. I always carry a klean kanteen with tap water.
TRAVEL – I don’t have a car or even a drivers licence. I travel mostly by bicycle, my electric bike, bus or train.
APPERANCE – I don’t buy fashion and avoid to wash polyester clothing more than necessary. (They loose microfibers/plastic that go into the ocean/lakes at some point). When I wash clothes I do a full machine with eco-wash detergent. I try to mostly use sustainable fashion. The clothing brands I work with have a strong engagement in sustainable development (Bergans, Devold). Karun sunglasses are great! I buy beauty products that are not tested on animals and doesn’t have microplastics in them.
ACCOMODATION – My houseboat runs mostly on solar cells while in the sea. After this summer I hope it will be self-sustainable with power from more solar cells. I use alkylatbensin for the engine until I have turned it into a electrical engine. Am getting rid of most plastic items and replacing them with sustainable materials such as bamboo. All cleaning liquids, soaps and so on are biodegradable. Fav toothbrush link.
HOBBIES – I don’t buy stuff unless necessary. Avoiding consumerism. No fancy machines or furnitures. Almost all my hobbies are outdoor-sports or reading-books related.
ENVIRONMENT – I engange in beach clean ups, both organised and spontaneous.
WORK – I try to use my speaking assignments and social channels to inspire to a more sustainable life and love-for-nature :-) I support and work with WWF, The Perfect World Foundation and Håll Sverige Rent. I sometimes teach freediving with I am Water foundation, and I support Naturskyddsföreningen
DREAMS – I put my helicopter-pilot dream on ice for now.
Here is a great list and blog (in Swedish) of small everyday things you can do to live a more sustainable life.