About justifying a lifestyle that is bad for the planet..

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.

2 kommentarer på “About justifying a lifestyle that is bad for the planet..

  1. I think we can also enjoy natures beauty more locally. Do we really NEED to fly around the world to have a good time?
    And if we think we have to travel why not donate some money to plant some trees. If we spend 500$ on flight ticket why not give 100$ to charity like trees.org (just a random example)
    (with 100$ you can plant around 1000 trees)

    I think the key is education.. so why not support one of the hundreds of charities that bring education to the poorest countries. Lets be honest, we already have very strict laws on fishing in europe, lets start by bringing the rest of the world to these levels, but if we dont help people who cant afford education this will be very hard to achieve.

    If people struggle to survive they will not able to protect the environment, thats why we see those really dirty beaches almost exlusively in very poor countries.

    If I sort my garbage at home those beaches in asia will not become clean.. I think educational charities are very underrated
    so lets be positive and help each other out :)

  2. Hej!

    Denna frågan är svår tycker jag. Ibland har jag tänkt; ”det bästa för klimatet/naturen/framtiden vore ändå om jag inte längre fanns, att jag dog.”
    Men vi måste kunna leva precis som du skriver. Allt påverkar mer eller mindre.

    Sen är det komplicerat med maten. Jag har läst att kött påverkar miljön mer negativt, men samtidigt har jag också läst att grönsaker kan, av olika orsaker (t.ex eftersom de innehåller mindre energi så måste man äta mer) vara sämre.
    Exempel som jag läst om i media är att mandlar (oekologiska), drar en massa vatten, energi m.m., och avokados, som är populärt nu, skövlar en massa skog, drar energi m.m. i Mexico och på andra platser.

    Eller tänk dagens moderna medicin/vård, med bl.a. antibiotika och fabriker t.ex i Indien som öser ut avfall. Eller allt avfall som kommer från sjukhusen, dvs engångsartiklar. osv. Vilket ju är mycket svårt att dra ner på eftersom det ändå är så viktigt.

    Ibland påverkar detta mig mycket och gör mig ledsen.
    Men! Människan är ju också en del av naturen, och vi är beroende utav den. Jag tror inte vi behöver döda oss själva för att allt ska bli bättre, vi behöver nog tänka om och göra annorlunda, prioritera annorlunda, överallt. Inte alltid falla för de enklaste frestelserna och pengar.
    Jag vet faktiskt inte hur vi ska lösa allt. Inte idag iallafall :-)

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