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People Who Changed Habits For The Planet

'Saving Environment' - Image Credits: Flickr Under Creative Common Licence
Avoid the consumption of plastics, join the flygskam (shame of flying because of its polluting effect) or simplify the closet leaving behind compulsive buying and choosing responsible garments.

The climate crisis can be fought at the citizen level from different fronts. The UN has marked the 2030 calendar as a key date to revoke climate change. News like the ones July has left, becoming the month with the warmest temperatures recorded in history, evidence the crisis and blow up the alerts. This flood of information that paints a pessimistic future if it is not put into action generates what is already known as eco-anxiety (chronic fear of environmental destruction).

We have seen it in fiction with the case of Amabella Klein (Ivy George) in the second season of Big Little Lies and there are no real examples: activist Greta Thunberg has made public the depression for this reason that caused her and her family the decision of change life drastically, taking measures such as stopping to catch airplanes or get an electric car.

The major responsibility lies with governments and companies, but there are many consumers who, like the Thunberg, choose to adopt certain habits and ways of life that contribute, each in their own way, to saving the planet by making them feel better.

Do not buy anything that comes packed in plastic, do not eat animals or use products of animal origin, stop buying clothing compulsively and opt for responsible clothing and minimalist cabinets. Or, directly, stop consuming.

Attending to everything is complex and the reality is that lack of time and money can be an obstacle. How to start then? We collect the testimonies of those who have already made these change a way of life and who serve as inspiration.

1. Evelina Utterdahl

What does? He is a climate activist and has joined the flygskam movement, initiated in Sweden, which translates as "shame to fly" because of the high carbon dioxide emissions they generate.

How it started? I decided to stop catching planes in January 2018, the same day I really knew how high their emissions are. Then I began to reflect on how we fly continuously without addressing the issue. I also realized that society, politicians and the media do not bother to reflect the reality of how terrible the climate crisis is. Now I mainly use trains, when there are electrical options. If not, buses, which can be better from an environmental point of view compared to coal trains.

2. Patricia Reina and Fernando Gómez, 'Living without plastic'

What do they do? They have taken the plastics out of their life. They do not eat or consume anything that comes packed in them thus reducing the amount of waste they generate. Ambassadors of plastic free life in Spain, have published a book telling their story, Living without plastic (Zenith), and share their day to day through an Instagram account of the same name.

How did they start? We knew the zero waste movement through the internet. We had always been concerned about the environment and we recycled, but in August 2015 we decided to start with the consumption without plastics because we saw that we generated more garbage than we would like and the recycling bag filled faster and faster.

More expensive or cheaper? When you start it seems that it is. Bulk stores are more expensive than if you buy white label. But when you take a long time you realize the amount of things you stop buying and you see that it comes out cheaper because you use less products. Now we use solid gel and shampoo, oils instead of creams… Realizing that you don't need so much is a kind of release.

3. Marie Broberg, capsule cabinet

What does? His way of dressing and consuming clothes responds to the capsule wardrobe format. It has 30-35 garments that are combinable with each other, including shoes and bags. Since it began, it only buys second-hand pieces and promptly invests in new garments, always from brands responsible for the environment.

How it started?  In January 2018 I decided that this would be my annual goal. I wanted a minimalist closet because I felt like I had too many clothes and this took me too long to get dressed in the morning. I used YouTube videos and Marie Kondo's method to get it.

The first thing was to define my style and ask myself what kind of clothes, colors and materials would fit with me and my lifestyle. The next thing was to get rid of everything I wouldn't use under these terms: I donated it or sold it making sure someone gave a second life to those garments. Since I started now I have reduced the amount of garments from 50 to 30-35, which I modify every three months.

4.  Carys Egan-Wyer, non-consumer

What does? She is a consumer culture researcher and has not consumed products for 18 months. Instead of buying new things, exchange, repair and recycle. He tells it on Instagram (@buy_less_be_more)

How it started? A couple of years ago I moved from a flat with two bedrooms to a house. I was surprised how quickly we started to fill it with things. My husband and I spent our precious weekends cleaning and organizing things. Shopping, buying online,   returning products ... Tasks that did not bring us anything new and that consumed our free time.

So I set the purpose of the New Year to consume less and then I realized it in not buying anything new for a year. Try to learn to enjoy the things you already had, repair instead of throwing away and if you need something, try to get it second-hand.

I hoped with that to reduce the amount of natural resources I consumed, the amount of waste I produced, the number of slaves that were working so that I could have certain things, improve my skills learning to repair and recycle, gain time doing things instead of spend money on buying them and have more time to simply be with my family and friends.

Cheaper or more expensive?  I think I spend less now, especially on clothes, but usually being 'non-consumer' is more expensive than if you buy new things. For example, when the cushions of our garden sofa needed new covers, the cheapest thing was to throw them out and buy new ones instead of custom-made ones.

It was a complicated decision to finally buy fabrics from sustainable suppliers that destined our money to a local and ethical sewing cooperative. The true cost of a product (waste, pollution and ethical cost) is not usually reflected in the price and must also be taken into account.


We live in a consumerist culture; our relationships with other people are often grounded through consumption. We mark the special occasions (birthdays, weddings, births ...) giving us gifts. What I have tried, whenever possible, has been to give experiences instead of physical gifts.

When it is us who have received gifts, it has been more complicated, especially with my son because people love and are used to showing love to children with things. I always ask them to give him imagination before buying anything.


People have supported us very surprisingly. Many begin to understand that our levels of consumption are being extremely problematic for the environment and tell me that they are inspired by our case. When I finished my one-year commitment without consuming I didn't want to go back to shopping, so I followed.

It is not easy to elucidate which is the most ethical and sustainable option always because there is a lot of green washing (the ecological claim is used to sell products that are not really), which makes it even more complex. That is why I think it is easier to be 'non-consumer' than a 'good consumer’.

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