We’ve all seen the photographs. A seahorse, with its tail wrapped gently around a plastic cotton bud. A whale, washed ashore with a belly full of plastic bags. A waste-strewn beach, just minutes away from popular tourist destinations. However, it’s sometimes hard to imagine the impact that small swaps in our everyday life can make to the world we live in. The stories we hear about climate change often feel, ironically, like a whole other world compared to the decisions we make on a daily basis, and switching to a reusable water bottle or coffee cup can feel like a drop in the ever-rising ocean.
Yet as model and environmental activist Kistie Brittain stands ready to shoot our SS18 editorial, sporting a Bower swimming costume made from recycled fishing nets and pair of Carla Colour sustainable Zyl acetate sunglasses, she is the perfect embodiment of how the simple choices we make on a daily basis can influence the condition of the world we live in. ‘I think I’ve always had a sense of duty/desire to protect what’s around us,’ she explains, ‘but last year the topic of climate change motivated me more than anything else.’
In a moment of quiet between outfit changes and endless photographs, we found a moment to grill Kirstie for some of the simple swaps that we can make to be more sustainable every day. ‘Start small,’ she advises. ‘You can begin by cutting your plastic use, taking the train over the car, or simply not leaving the shower running for ten minutes before you get in. Try to switch out all of the things that you use regularly – I never leave the house without a reusable coffee cup, a water bottle and a tote bag, so that I can always say no to single use plastics. It’s enough simply to be conscious and aware.’ Yet don't feel guilty if you find yourself caught out - everyone forgets things occasionally. If you do find yourself having to buy drinks or food on the go, keep your eyes open for plant-based, biodegradable plastics such as Vegware.
While individually we can make a bit difference, it’s all about working collectively and sharing new discoveries - be they sustainable places to shop, or ways to make products at home. ‘Plastic Freedom is a plastic-free online store which I love,’ shares Kirstie. ‘I also make my own cleaning materials. Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda. Sorted! I do find it hard to always find totally plastic free beauty products, but so far I love Lush. Everything from their shampoo bars to their makeup. Zao is a great makeup brand too.’
Whether it’s one less plastic bottle that washes up on our beaches, or one more signature on a petition, the ripples from our everyday actions reach far wider than we could imagine. By using the voice that platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have given us to share our tips for living more sustainably and promote positive change, what seems like a little can go a long way. ‘Some of my favourite accounts to follow are @natgeo, @sustainable_stephanie, and @sustainably_vegan,’ shares Kirstie. ‘Ever since social media has given visibility to so many people doing mega-cool work in this field, fear has changed to momentum and a desire to act and here we are today!'
Written by Beatrice Murray-Nag for Antibad
Image: Cleo Glover