What are the steps you can take day-to-day to support moving to a more sustainable, resourceful lifestyle (in Reading and beyond)? 

Did you watch Blue Planet 2 at the end of last year?  Perhaps you were shocked by the large-scale coral bleaching of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or on hearing about the 8 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean?

Maybe it’s the litter you see floating down our rivers, the microbead plastics found in our  facewashes, toothpaste and accumulating in our natural world.

Perhaps you saw the news warning of impending recycling piles as China puts a ban on importing our low-grade recycling waste. Or maybe it’s the sheer scale of our single-use disposable culture getting you down. From the millions of water bottles consumed a minute or the mountainous 2.5 billion coffee cups the UK gets through every year, many unable to be recycled due to an inner plastic film coating …..

It may seem that the world is a bit crazy at the moment (in so many ways), Governments and Manufacturers playing catch up, and plans are great but we need action now, not in 25 years.

So its great that there are so many little ways, changes, steps and choices that we can make to try to help (as well as demand) the planet be less wasteful, combat the throwaway culture and well frankly – stop it from seeming like it’s falling apart with you on it…………..

Linear to Circular Economy

If you’re into economics you might recognise the growth, consumption driven, industrial inspired system we’re in, as the linear economy, where we Take from the earth, Make it to something to sell, Use it (sometimes for a really short period) and Throw away.

We need to move to a more Circular one where we preserve materials, resources where possible, make them considered and carefully (is it really needed, solving a problem) and think about their complete lifecycle in design, looking where we can to retain and extend material value.

Remember the mantra – Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – this still makes sense and we’ve still not really got very far in moving up hierarchy from recycle.

What actually contributes to wellbeing?

Alongside this is also considering what actually makes people happy and contribute to a healthier happier life? The New Economics Foundation have some great work on this looking at the 5 ways to Wellbeing:

  1. Connect
  2. Take notice
  3. Keep learning
  4. Be active
  5. Give

So putting this together

5 Tips For Supporting Everyday Sustainable Change

  1. Broken doesn’t have to mean GoodbyeRepair, Mend, Maintain, Sew, Knit and Reinvent it! 
  2. Get creative with what you have, learn and be inspired by others – Try making your own gifts, or perhaps give or take part in a workshop or events that support this
  3. Try eating and buying more Local, Seasonal, Veggie and homemadeGood for the environment and your tummy
  4. Always Question and Choose for Ethical and good design – Fairtrade, good materials, ethical policies, 2nd hand and support local and independent
  5. Get out, share and connect! There are loads of Community initiatives sharing Knowledge, Spaces, Connecting, creating Tech, Energy and supporting getting out into Nature

What does this mean for Reading?

After moving to Reading just over 2 years ago, its through these lenses I’ve come across organisations, businesses and community initiatives in the local area that support the move to more sustainable lifestyles and improve people’s happiness and wellbeing.

The good news is, there are loads of them!

 Stay tuned for ideas for number 1

(Reading based but similar can be applicable in many other towns and cities).

  1. Broken doesn’t have to mean Goodbye – Repair, Mend, Maintain, Sew, Knit and Reinvent it! 

    Want to join in mapping the organisations, people and campaigns doing some great things to get involved with and support then share in comments, #ecordguk or just contact me!

There will post for 1 to 5

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This blog originated from involvement with the Open Source Circular Economy days  (#OSCEdays) and an original mapping with participants during Reading Green Fest. Woon did a great write-up of the whole event here.

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