For a while now, I have been thinking that most of us want to live a good life. That is, a life that is good for the planet and the people we share our planet with.
None of us wants our fellow travellers to be living in poverty, for our oceans to be full of plastic or for our air to be full of grime. We want to live in a world that has beautiful trees and open spaces with animals and plants that give us joy and inspire wonder.
We want music and colour and laughter. We want a world where we can all enjoy and celebrate life, without destroying the planet or making our or other peoples’ lives worse.
But for some reason, it seems not as easy as it should be for us to do this. Even though, we know at a basic level what we need to do.
So, I have decided I want to do something about that. We need to make it easy to do All of the Good Things, to live a life that is good for people and the planet.
What does that mean?
First: Do No Harm
My philosophy is simple. First and foremost, aim to do no harm to people or the planet.
Let’s start with people. First and foremost, we want to know that the people making the things we buy are not being harmed. That means ensuring our supply chain has:
- People paid fairly
- No forced labour
- No child labour
There is a lot of information out there today on how we can best protect and nurture our planet. I find the below approach to be the best and simplest:
The simple ideas to keep in mind are:
- Buy Quality
- Buy Practical
Start by buying quality items that we can love and cherish. We want the resources used to produce our ‘things’ to have been worth it. If we add to that buying practical gifts, gifts that people actually want and will use, we minimise the tat that ends up in landfill.
2. Natural Sustainably Sourced Materials
When our things eventually do come to the end of their life, ideally we would want them to break down back into their natural components. This causes the least amount of harm to the planet. This means buying things that are made from natural biodegradable materials.
For clothing, this means natural materials such as wool, cotton or bamboo.
In general, this includes avoiding plastic packaging where you can and finding products that use compostable or biodegradable packaging. It also means reading the labels of cleaning products and other things we buy, to avoid adding harmful chemicals to our waterways.
We also want to ensure the materials used in our purchases come from a good place. For example, cardboard is a good option because it biodegrades. But if trees are being cut down to make it, not so good. Cardboard made from 100% recycled material is better.
3. Recycle and Upcycle
Recycling and upcycling are a key part of the mix to ensuring we are doing all of the good things. Ideally, the materials we are recycling should also be natural and biodegradable, like glass, aluminium and cardboard. By recycling material already in circulation, we reduce the need to take raw materials from our wild places.
There is of course already a large amount of non-natural material in our ecosystem, mostly plastics. Although reducing the use of plastic overall is the best approach, it is going to take us a long time to fully remove plastic from our ecosystem. While we work on this, recycling plastic to ensure that it is re-used and not added to landfill, is a good option.
Upcycling, that is re-working an existing item to make it into something new, is another great option. Particularly for the large amount of non-natural items in our ecosystem, if we can extend their use to ensure they do not end up in landfill it is a win.
Then: Positive Impact
So, if we are doing all of the above, we are ticking all of the boxes, right? Well, we are certainly minimising the harm we are doing.
But we can do more. We can choose to have a positive impact on people and the planet, by actively working to improve things. This may include working with disadvantaged communities to give them access to markets, to help them find a way out of poverty. It may include working with organisations that are re-vitalising land through regenerative farming or tree planting.
In my experience, it’s when we have a positive impact, that we get the really good feels. It’s when we know we are nudging the dial towards a world full of optimism, joy and fun for everyone.
So how do we do it then?
Simple right? Well – it should be.
I am getting started with gifts that have All of the Good Things. The gifts are beautiful and practical, making it easy for people to update their homes to do no harm and have a positive impact on the world. They make it easy to start good habits by coming with a subscription for monthly refreshes and refills.
It's just the beginning - so let me know what you think! I'd love to hear your ideas on how else we can make it easy for you to do all of the good things, and live the good life.