Joyful environmentalism on a wet evening

In November author, Isobel Losada, came to our meeting to talk us through her “Thinking globally and acting joyfully” philosophy and tips. Isobel encouraged us to think about how to take action to live more sustainably but also do it in a way that is fun.
We were trying out a new venue at Mint Street Community Centre and we were really grateful to all the Belles who braved the torrential rain to come in person. It was lovely to be together and able to have a cuppa and a real-life raffle!

It was an action-packed evening with a huge amount of tips shared across the topics of money, fashion, plastic reduction, gifting, energy, and gardening. Here are some of the tips shared:
*Ethical consumer magazine is a good first stop to assess companies and brands who you are thinking of purchasing from.
*For ethical banking consider looking at Triodos Bank who score the highest on ethical consumer. Other banks who also score well are Nationwide building society, Monzo and The Co-operative Bank.
* When you go for a walk in the park, always take a litter picker!
*Consider not buying any new clothes for a year and turn your coathangers all the same way. When you then wear it turn it the other way to help you get a feel for what clothes you wear and what you don’t. Have a swish or clothes swap with friends with things you don’t wear.
*Buy secondhand cashmere jumpers if you see them in charity shop (particularly men’s oversized ones) as these are super warm.
*For energy consumption, Isobel urged us to become experts on where it is coming in and out of your home to find places to put a draft excluder or curtains (e.g. in front of doors). We also talked about different ways to insulate your flat e.g. strips down the sides of doors, and radiator reflector foil (especially good on any radiators on outside walls).
*Good Energy or Ecotricity are worth exploring as ethical providers. Isobel interviews the CEO of Good Energy in her book, The Joyful Environmentalist, and talked about how good it was to understand their business model more.
*In your quest to reduce energy usage consider using hot water bottles and slow cookers; only boil the water for the cup of tea you are making in your kettle.
*Cold showers are addictive as well as having a lot of health benefits (!)
*Plant berry-bearing trees and shrubs in any green space you have to help support bird life, have a water butt and make your own compost.
*For food, try to reduce meat and dairy in your diet. Experiment with meat-free Mondays or a meal a day. Consider growing any food you can and try to “shake the hands that feed you” whether that is buying from markets, or using a veg box scheme like Riverford.
*Also try to reduce number of items you have in your email/photos etc to help reduce the need for vast clouds which need a lot of energy to be sustained. This last one blew my mind as I hadn’t considered this area at all!
*”Be a little bit activist” whether that is joining a samba band to go on protests, writing letters to your MP, go tree planting or supporting organisations like Trees for Life to do great conservation work to rewild and preserve trees. Activism takes many forms and we can all do something to help contribute towards reducing our impact on climate change.

Thanks for coming and inspiring us Isobel! You gave us lots to think about out and lots of us are enjoying reading your book. For more tips, our blogpost from September shares a range of different ideas about how to be more frugal and sustainable!

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