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How Everyday Australians Are Helping The Planet – One Step At A Time

Because small changes can make a big difference

Protecting our environment may seem like an overwhelming, almost impossible task, but small changes can make a huge diference. Alley Pascoe asked eight Australians to reveal their easy, everyday hacks for conscious living.


Bree, 35, and Avery, Three Months

“Since becoming a mum, I’m even more environmentally conscious. Thinking about the world we’re leaving [for] the next generation is disappointing. So it’s up to us to make a difference. I’m doing that by cutting back on my laundry – we currently do four or five washes a week. I always make sure I do a full wash, and if something isn’t covered in bodily fluids, we’ll air it out and wear it again to save on water, power and plastic pollution from the microfibres in our clothes.”


Kate, 55

“I’ve always loved fashion. I work as a visual merchandiser for Myer and have an Etsy fashion store called Wyldesyde Vintage. When I found out the fashion industry produces 92 million tonnes of waste each year, I committed to recycling all of my clothes. It’s so easy to do: you can donate pieces to charity shops, drop them o at the recycling bins at H&M and Uniqlo, or – my favourite – host a clothes swapping party with your friends over a glass of wine.”


Lewis, Six

“When my teacher at school told me about the Adani coal mine, I felt scared. At home I asked Daddy what we could do to help, and donated my pocket money [to the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s #StopAdani fundraiser]. I had $35 from doing chores around the house (like cleaning my bedroom, making my bed and dusting the piano). I want to donate even more money! My brother [Richie, three] calls it the A-dumbie coal mine.


Sanam, 33 and Ruben, British Bulldog, 16 Months

When I got Ruben over a year ago, I was conscious about not increasing my environmental footprint. Since then, I’ve made some permanent changes in my lifestyle to be more eco-friendly. Before I got Ruben, I would drive to the cafe or pub, now we walk. I only use biodegradable waste bags and he is on the BARF diet, which is bones and raw food. Not only is there less packaging and processing with his food [and ultimately less energy and impact on the environment], he is also very healthy – as you can see.”


Karen, 48

The meat industry is one of the worst for contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. I only eat chicken about once a week, and I can’t remember the last time I ate bacon. I eat a lot of tofu, vegie sausages and falafels [instead]. My dream is to live in a commune with vegie patches, composting, recycling and meditation classes. If we have a sense of compassion for each other, animals and the Earth, we will be a more sustainable community.”


Amos, 21

“I find it really fun shopping for second- hand clothes and, personally, I think they are more fashionable. Case in point: I got this shirt from The Salvos. I think it’s better to re-use somebody else’s clothes rather than them going [in the] trash.”


Carli, 33

“As a beauty editor, I see a fortune of waste in the industry, from packaging and products to elaborate press kits. When re-usable microfibre face [wipes] came out, I was a sceptic. I didn’t believe they would work as well as disposable make-up wipes. I was wrong! I’ve now replaced all my single-use wipes and cotton pads with re-usable [wipes] and I love them – especially knowing seven fewer wipes will end up in landfill every week.”


Sophie, 25

“I’ve worked in the food industry for eight years now and I’ve seen a huge amount of food waste. I read that five million tonnes of food ends up in landfill every year – that’s 9000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It’s terrifying and frustrating. At work, we’ve started composting and donating leftover goods to the charity OzHarvest. At home, I always plan my recipes ahead and only buy the ingredients I know I will use. Then, at the end of every week I make a stew to use up all the food in our fridge. My housemates love it.”

Do It Yourself

How to help the planet – from your couch.

Follow @GreenWashWatch on Instagram, calling out eco BS and fighting for genuine change.

Download the Bring Me Home app, to buy cheap excess food that would otherwise be binned.

Read Every Woman’s Guide To Saving the Planet by Natalie Isaacs for inspiration and practical advice.

Listen to the Low Tox Life podcast, where Alexx Stuart interviews experts about conscious living.

Photography by Joshua Morris. Hair and Makeup by Vic Anderson/Reload Agency.

This story originally appeared in in the November issue of marie claire.

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