I was always a bit of a homemaker since I was a little girl. I quietly watched my gran sewing and started taking an interest in crafts from an early age. I started baking bread and biscuits at 12, much to the relief of my mother who was a reluctant domestic goddess.
Rural life gave me a great deal of freedom. Summers were spent exploring the countryside out on my bike, falling out of trees due to rubbish coordination and constantly falling into my neighbour’s fishponds. I just wanted to get a closer look at the pretty fish and at one point was banned as my poor friend’s parents got fed up of hauling me out of the pond covered in slime and weeds! I would cycle to the local farm and watch piglets being born and I even got to hold them as I was such a frequent visitor. I made rose water and witch hazel toner in my teens and dabbled with homemade hair rinses made of beer. My hair was really shiny but I probably smelt like an old brewery which isn’t what I was trying to achieve at the tender age of 15.
My working-class parents were from the post-war generation of make do and mend and I still hold these values close to my heart. My Mum was a socialist who fought hard for better pay and work conditions as a trade union reprehensive. Because of her influence, I have always believed that working together can have a positive effect on the world. I love the idea of sharing skills, creating change through direct personal action.
Everything changed for my partner and I after watching Cowspiracy. I didn’t realise how the West’s voracious appetite for meat was damaging the planet and how farming practices had changed since I started dabbling with vegetarianism in my early twenties.
I was shocked to see animals bred on mass in cramped spaces, never seeing a blade of grass or feeling the warmth of the sun on their skin. Chickens, fed copious amounts of antibiotics to keep these birds from dying in such unnatural conditions.
My partner who was an enthusiastic carnivore decided after watching the documentary that he wanted to go vegan. I was skeptical, to say the least of Steve’s ability to give up meat. Having been vegetarian for lengthy amounts of time, I found the transition easy, for Steve not so much! He does struggle with veganism but is also determined to stick with it. Partly, because of the abhorrent practices of factory farming, but also because of the damage to our fragile ecosystem. Personally, I have always been keen on animal welfare and I was mortified and slightly ashamed that I didn’t realise how farming practices had changed over the years.
At the same time, I started looking at the zero waste ‘lifestyle’. To be honest, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to the disposal of plastic. I wanted to make changes to my life at this point as my eyes were wide open to the destruction that humans were doing to the planet and my contribution to that damage.
My being vegan is part of the low/zero waste journey, but that’s my personal decision and there are plenty of other ways to make a huge difference. It’s not about being perfect, you just need to start being conscious of the choices you make and the greater impact that they have on the world.
The aim of my blog is to increase awareness and understanding for myself and hopefully enlighten others. As a species, we are nothing without the environment that we inhabit. We are here for such a short time, so make it count.
Starting on the zero waste journey can be overwhelming as there is so much to adjust to. In sharing this, I hope that parts of my journey will be useful to others.