Doing Small Changes Won’t Save The Planet – But It’s a Start

In the world of environmentalism and sustainability, I come across slightly contradictive articles all the time. Most of the articles, blog posts, podcasts etc. are about how we can make changes to be more sustainable, how little or big things we can do, some even guilting us into changing our behaviour. The slightly contradictive articles are a minority but they appear regularly and they question the little changes that we are making and criticise how those won’t save the Earth. I am sure you’ve all read those articles. One of the latest ones that I read was in the Guardian where Monbiot wrote that “We Won’t Save The Earth With a Better Kind Disposable Cup”. So who is right? Is it the articles who encourage people to consider the changes they are making or is it articles who question the better you are doing and rather pushes us to challenge the power or wants all of us to change how we live?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start - byLiiL

In my opinion, both are correct. That is true if the only thing we are doing is changing to a better disposable cup, or just change worse material to a slightly better one it will not save the planet. However, not changing the bad materials at all is also not an option nor is stopping consumption altogether.

Changing the consumer behaviour doesn’t happen in an instant, it takes years if not decades and when the popular media continues to promote a certain lifestyle it gets more difficult to change that. Government legislations against harmful products to us and the environment would help, however, they do not move swiftly either and only seem to make legislations when there is a public outcry on a topic such as microplastics. However, the government seems to only put on a patch on the problem, rather than fix the underlying issue to quiet the population and to change this the population needs to be educated on the underlying issue. This all definitely needs to be done, but it sounds like a lot of work which will take a lot of time, doesn’t it?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

While we wait for it to happen if we do not make changes and innovate better materials we have not made the world any better, but have probably created a lot more waste. When I think about a disposable cup that is made out of plastic and ends up polluting our oceans I would much rather use a disposable cup that biodegrades, even if slowly, however as at the moment there are many innovations coming up to make our current system better and more environmentally friendly, we have the possibility to look into what would be the best option.

One great example of a better product is the Nespresso compatible coffee capsules by Percol. I’ve always felt any Nespresso machine represents the opposite of environmentalism because of the capsules it uses that are fairly wasteful, however, the Percol coffee capsules are compostable and the coffee is Soil Association organic. Also, although I think we should all carry a reusable cup with us, it is not always feasible and therefore The petition to change the disposable cups into better disposable cups is definitely worth signing for those moments that somebody just has to take the disposable cup, but I wish there was another petition to the government to set up waste systems to easier dispose of those biodegradable or compostable disposable cups and another that would start proper education systems to schools and to adults about the change that we need to make to save the Earth.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

Educating people rather than guilting them will help them make decisions on their own and will provide a more worthwhile movement with real change. Guilting people into changing their behaviour doesn’t help, and studies have shown that they can even harm the movement. Writing about consumers doing wrong when they want a better alternative only makes them confused if they are not already familiar with the topic and might make them give up on even trying to be more ethical or requesting change from brands or the government.

By doing small changes and noticing that it works can move people into making bigger changes and to changing attitudes. Let’s not scare them off that path and rather support them with the journey. Make the small changes, such as having a less bad material and promote education on environmental problems and challenging the power and the decision makers. That is how we are going to change the planet.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

What do you think about making small changes or challenging the power?

With love,

Lii

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What Was I Up To In March 2018

March was a very cold month with some surprising and exciting snowy days in Glasgow, which made me think about how lovely my warm home is with heating and warm and dry covers. That’s when I wrote the post about why we should feel gratitude for having a home. Homelessness should be an issue that is addressed at all times, but especially when it is cold outside!

Why You Should Feel Gratitude For Having a Home - byLiiL

I loved the interview I did with Nadja, who is the founder of MAVOLU the webshop for sustainable fashion with innovative materials. She has great insight into material innovation and what sustainable fashion is all about! I also shared a bunch of articles that are helpful to a sustainable lifestyle. And finally, I share a big collection of sustainable news from February.

March also saw International Women’s Day and I got tickets to see Priscilla the musical as a present, which I enjoyed a lot! March also saw International Water Day and Earth Hour, two very important days to remember our connection to nature. I found it funny that the beginning of March saw such cold days and also very beautiful spring days. Finally, I shared beautiful Instagram pictures.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Something Good - byLiiL

The start of April is cold again and I hope we will get warmer and sunnier days soon! Sun definitely boosts my efficiency and energy, so come on sun!

How was your March?

With love,

Lii

 

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU – Material Revolution

Nadja, the founder of MAVOLU, and I go way back to our undergraduate studies where we both showed interest in sustainable fashion. This common interest was definitely a part of what kept us as friends ever since our University studies. I am happy to have a friend with whom I can discuss my interest in sustainable fashion and who is an inspiration to me. I can always count on her support and am every day impressed by her integrity and drive for what she wants to achieve. I wanted to share the interview with Nadja as she has some great points on sustainable issues and innovation currently and she has founded a great new platform for sustainability! I hope you will enjoy this interview and let me know if you want to read more of these kinds of posts in the future!

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

Who are you? And how are you connected to sustainability?

My name is Nadja, I am from Germany and 28 years old. After completing my BA in ‘Fashion Business’ at Glasgow Caledonian University I moved to Berlin in order to study an MA course focussing on sustainability in fashion. My MA project was examining innovative and sustainable materials, in particular, peace silk, banana fibre and soy fibre. I went on a research trip to India in order to learn more about the production and sourcing processes of each fibre, and in addition to that, I designed a small capsule collection made from those materials. After finishing the MA course me and some other students decided to continue working together as re/GENERATE, focussing on collaborations and workshops that are aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  We also got the chance to show our MA projects as part of the ‘Fashion Sustain’ Conference during Berlin Fashion Week, which was very exciting! A small summary of all the projects can be found on our webpage.

What is MAVOLU?

Ever since I’ve started the MA course I’ve been somewhat obsessed with material innovation, especially because there is so much experimentation going on right now in terms of new and sustainable fibre options. But while I was doing the research for my thesis I realised that it is often quite difficult to gain access to clothing and accessories made from ground­breaking and innovative materials. While there are some designers that are already working with those materials, it is very time­consuming to actually find all of them. So I thought the easiest way to solve this problem was to create a marketplace specifically for products made from innovative materials. I, therefore, started an online platform that is currently covering eight different materials, with the intention to add more over time. In the online shop, you can find beautiful and unique products such as wallets made from banana fibre, dresses made from peace silk, and bags made from cork. In addition to that, MAVOLU wants to create a knowledge exchange in the field of sustainable textiles and fibre options, which is why I have added a material library that will show a short summary of each fibre. I have also recently started a blog where each material will be discussed in more depth and where I will introduce the different designers and brands who are behind all these beautiful products.

Where do you see the future of fashion and sustainability?

While material innovation is a big passion of mine, I am of course aware that the right material choice alone is not going to change the whole fashion industry. But I do believe that it makes a very big difference to choose a low­impact fibre or material at the very beginning of the supply chain, which will then have a positive impact on all other stages ­ for example, a material that is free from chemicals will cause less harm in terms of human toxicity for farmers, weavers, and of course also consumers. This can be as simple as choosing organic

cotton instead of conventional cotton, because its production requires a lot less water, chemicals and fertilisers.

What is the most interesting innovation in terms of materials so far?

I am a big fan of fibre production from agricultural residues, such as banana fibre and pineapple fibre. Banana fibre, for example, is derived from the pseudostem of the banana plant, which would naturally rot once the fruit has been harvested. The fibre is therefore entirely made from a by­product of the food industry and its cultivation does not require any additional resources. The same goes for pineapple fibre production: the fibres can be extracted from the leaves of the plant (again a by­product of the food industry) and can e.g. be turned into Piñatex, an innovative material created by Ananas Anam which is often used as a vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to leather.

 

What do you see as the biggest problem within material innovation?

I think for now a lot of the material innovation is still in the research stage. While fabrics made from Tencel, ramie and hemp have been around for some time now, others are not quite as developed and are therefore not used by many designers. That seems to be the main reason why it is currently still quite difficult to get your hands on items made from innovative and sustainable materials. But I also think that there is a huge interest in developing those materials further, as well as coming up with new alternative fibres. E.g. if you look at the winners of the Global Change Award in the past years then you will notice that at least one of them is focussing on some sort of ground­breaking fibre or material ­ be it from citrus waste, algae, or even cow dung. So over time, those materials will hopefully be used by more designers, and as a result, more people can gain access to it, offering them an alternative to mass­produced items made from unsustainable fibres.

And what do you see as the biggest problem within sustainable fashion?

I think that most of all, we need to start changing the current mindset in terms of value. We are too used to clothing being insanely cheap and therefore disposable. In fact, we are so used to cheap fashion that it has now become the norm, consequently making sustainable fashion appear ‘too expensive’. However, I think it is necessary that we re­value the labour that goes into each and every garment ­ starting with the fibre production, the spinning, the weaving, the sewing, the distribution. If you consider all those individual steps in the supply chain then suddenly sustainable fashion doesn’t seem quite so expensive ­ it’s just a realistic price for a realistic amount of work.

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

Do you have any tips for people who want to be more sustainable in their fashion consumption?

Start small and don’t get demotivated! To be honest I often get demotivated myself, thinking that I can’t really make a difference compared to the bigger picture. But as consumers, we all have a choice, with every single purchase we make. And even if sustainable fashion is not within your budget then there are still plenty of other options, such as buying second­hand or renting your clothes (e.g. from ‘fashion libraries’ such as Kleiderei. All those seemingly small steps are contributing a lot towards a more sustainable future in fashion.

Interview With The Founder of MAVOLU - Material Revolution - byLiiL

 

I hope that interview got you more excited about material innovation. Now go check MAVOLU out and learn even more about innovative materials. And check her beautiful Instagram account as well!
If you have any additional questions to Nadja ask them in the comment box below!
Shop the products in the post:
With love,
Lii

Sustainable New of the Month – January 2018

Bitcoin Mining Consumes More Electricity a Year Than Ireland – Many people forget that if we reduce paper it doesn’t mean we are being sustainable and there is a big need in moving to renewable energy globally!

Dell And Nikki Reed Turn Gold From Computers Into Jewellery – Finally technological companies are making some effort into sustainability and circularity. If there are precious metals that can be used again in old computers why shouldn’t it be harvested and reused for something else?

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

Avangrid Signs Deal With Nike for Texas Wind Power – It is a second agreement Nike is doing to secure more renewable energy into their production.

Clean And Green: A Moss That Removes Lead (Pb) From Water – “Lead-contaminated water is a serious environmental concern that has recently proved to be disastrous when left untreated. Compounding the problem, the typical way to remove lead or other heavy metals from water requires fossil fuels and a tremendous amount of energy. As an alternative to these typical processes, phytoremediation is a method that uses photosynthesizing organisms to clean up soil or water contamination.”

A ‘Marine Motorhome For Microbes’: Oceanic Plastic Trash Conveys Disease To Coral Reefs – Yet another finding in how plastic is dangerous to our oceans.

Human Take Up Too Much Space — And It’s Affecting How Mammals Move – It comes as no surprise that human’s take too much space in the world, not only with our living but with farming and industry practices too.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

Brewing Up Sustainable Solutions For Plastic Tea-Bags, Six-Pack Rings – Sustainable production for packaging materials is finally starting to get some kind of momentum.

Plastic Packaging Takes Backseat To Seaweed, Origami-Inspired Alternatives – Both of these ideas are great and simple enough that I have no idea why nobody has come up with them before? I am especially interested in the seaweed packaging!

5 Reasons Why The Clean Energy Future Is Unstoppable – Article explaining quite clearly that the energy is going be renewable in the future as the money is there.

These 14 Businesses Are Growing Money On Trees – Is it surprising that you can make money on doing good to the planet?

Environmental Programs Grow A Better Prison System – As prisons are harsh environments that suck money there are initiatives that can make prisons more economical and keep prisoners from making further crimes.

Designer’s Choice: Biobased Textile Innovation – There are already so many alternative fibres to polyester, which are healthier options we just need to wait until they are fully developed and adapted by designers to be used in fashion and textiles!

Amazon Takes Plants In The Office To The Next Level – Although a great idea, especially for the working force of Amazon, how often would the employees be allowed to enter the plant spheres or could they work in them, or just go after work to relax in them? Or will this become just another tourist attraction that they can charge for?

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

 

What sustainable news did you read this month I would love to hear about them!

With love,

Lii

Sustainability in 2017

2017 was a year of learning to me, as I mentioned in the Reflections and Goals post. I learned a lot about myself and about sustainability. There is still much more to learn, but I have to be proud of all that I’ve learned so far. If you missed any of those posts here is the list of sustainability posts from 2017:

5 easy sustainable fashion changes - byLiiL

Bee’s Wrap Sheets – A Sustainable Food Wrapping

4 Posts That Make You Think

Sustainable Vegetable Marking – Forget The Stickers

Dreams of a Dining Space

5 Easy Sustainable Fashion Changes

Why Change To Natural Cleaning Products?

Anek. – Sustainable and Instagrammable

Introducing Primrose and Pixie

A Mall For Repaired and Recycled Goods

Fashion Revolution Week

Introducing Mirabelle – Jewellery with Meaning

6 Piece Capsule Wardrobe by Honest Rosie - byLiiL

Introducing Boodle Boutique

Travel Sustainably

Use Your Power of ‘Choice’ When Making Buying

Straws – Eco-Friendly or Healthy?

Inspiration of the Month – The Sustainable Futures Report Podcast

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small

Introducing – 1 Dress 14 Styles by Doo.Bla.Vey

Sustainable News of the Month – July 2017

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder?

Before the Flood Documentary and Review

Uncovering The Secrets Behind Fashion Sizing - byLiiL

TED Talks About Sustainability

Understand The Sustainable Fashion Terminology

Chasing Coral

Why Do We Expect To Buy Cheap Fashion?

Sustainability Causes and How To Support Sustainability

Inspiration of the Month – Cradle to Cradle

Sustainable News of the Month – October 2017

What’s All The Fuss About Plastic?

Why I Don’t Shop on Black Friday – The Issue With The Sales Culture

Sustainable News of the Month – November 2017

Straws - Eco-Friendly or Healthy?

My plan is to make even more and better sustainability content for this year and you can help by letting me know what you would like to read about Sustainability in 2018 in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small

It took me working for small businesses and starting my own to really understand and appreciate the work that goes behind running a small business. It is not easy to motivate yourself every day, to believe in yourself and in what you are doing, in addition, to actually doing everything and working through the layers of bureaucracy.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

1. THEY ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE

It, of course, is not a given that all small businesses are sustainable, but the chances are they are more likely to be sustainable. Small businesses often source locally, use less packaging, use fewer air miles through their production cycle and produce in small batches. In addition, with the growing concern for the environment, many businesses start off with the idea of being more sustainable and helping to make the world a better place.

2. HAVE UNIQUE AND CREATIVE PRODUCTS

Small businesses are either making their own creative products/services or curating a selection for their customers from other businesses. In any case, their offering differs from the mass market that mostly looks the same. When it comes to fashion I’ve noticed that the every shop on the high street seems to be selling the same things over and over and there is no individuality. When shopping from small fashion businesses you will stand out of the crowd. Other small shops are great for individualistic gifts that nobody else might have found.

3. I KNOW WHERE MY MONEY IS GOING

Unlike that of with big brands, small brands do not have several layers of supply chains, management levels, stakeholders groups and all the other additional stuff that you do not see but are paying for with your money. When you are shopping from a small brand you can quite easily see what their values are and know that the money you are giving them will pay for their living and them keeping up the business.

4. THEY GROW THE ECONOMY

Small businesses grow their local economy. The money that you are putting into the business will either support the owner of the business or the business itself. In most cases this means the money goes back into the local community through living costs, employing local people or sourcing from local other businesses. In addition, they are a competition to the big companies and the ways they do business.

5. I’M SUPPORTING DREAMS

Running a small business or any size of a business is hard work and there aren’t many people who are prepared to do the work unless it is their dream and something they enjoy doing. So when you are spending your money on that business you are essentially helping to support the business owners dream. Later on, other young entrepreneurial spirits will look at that business owner and get the motivation to start their own business and the dream.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

6. IT DRIVES INNOVATION

Small businesses drive innovation and push the economy and the market forward. We’ve seen the rise of small tech companies that drive the innovation in apps and products. It is funny, as it is the big companies that have the funds for this.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

7. I GET BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE

Small businesses know that to get customers they have to treat every customer excellently. It is the loyal customers and their word of mouth that will support their business. Small business owners are thankful when you spend your money with them and will do their best to give you the best experience. They listen to feedback and respond and it is much easier to communicate with them.

I don’t always shop at small businesses, but I do try my best. Last Christmas I got most of the presents from small businesses and they were the best and most unique presents that I gave. And although I am spending more money when I shop at a small business, I get more joy of knowing that I supported somebody with their dream.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

Pictures are from this pinterest board.

Do you shop at small businesses?

With love,

Lii