The average person spends around 50 minutes on social media every day, over six per cent of any twelve-hour period, whether it is keeping up with friends on Facebook, scrolling through Instagram, or tweeting into the void.
Amidst such a flurry of information, it is becoming increasingly common for people to cultivate the blogs and personalities they follow in order to reflect their own values, and to use social media as an educational and inspirational tool, instead of just wasting minutes.
Much of the talk about resources and sustainability centres around elevated policy conversations, but getting ordinary people to change their everyday behaviour is crucial to making the wholesale changes across society needed to achieve resource efficiency and sustainability, and a number of sustainable and green living blogs or social media accounts have popped up in recent years to provide that impetus.
We’ve put together a list of our top picks of bloggers or social media accounts to follow, all advocating a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, to help you be a little greener.
The Foraged Life
Rachel Lees was brought up in the English countryside, and had an awareness and passion for nature instilled in her from a young age. Since then she has worked for environmental magazines and international NGOs that campaign against climate change.
Rachel told Resource: “Experiences like those, plus being surrounded by nature lovers and activists, has meant that living in a more eco-friendly manner has been an unavoidable pursuit for me!”
On her blog and Instagram she shares a plethora of tips about living with nature, as opposed to incidentally destroying it. She’s written eco-friendly guides to places she’s visited and on how to reduce gift-giving waste, to name but a few.
Despite the tendency for social media to forego nuance, Rachel acknowledges that it is harder than it seems to be green, especially in a society so focused on consumerism and immediate consumption.
“It’s not easy – until it’s habitual. You have to consciously make decisions that are often against the grain or against what adverts or your peers are telling you, which can of course be challenging.
“But as soon as you take the step, one action at a time, the goodness that comes from a simplified and more sustainable lifestyle will far outweigh that inner voice that tells you you’re not keeping up with the Joneses.”
Zero Waste Guy
Californian Jonathon Levy is the man behind the Zero Waste Guy blog and Instagram, which document the daily trials encountered when striving to live a zero waste lifestyle. He summarises his goal on his website: ‘I do my best to live a rich and fulfilling life while consuming as little as possible.’
After majoring in Supply Chain Management at university, Levy became perplexed at the linear nature of most of today’s supply chains, as opposed to circular, resource-efficient chains.
Jonathon’s Instagram gives a real life insight into what is like to live with the environment in mind while providing inspiration and practical advice to others, such as a workplace reusable container to-go programme, and using worm castings as a soil fertiliser.
On his blog, Levy writes candidly about environmental issues, touching on topics like zero waste travel and conscious consumerism, interspersed with more comical posts, such as “Why did you throw away my fork?”
One Pleasant Day
Carrie Fry runs One Pleasant Day, a blog and Instagram, which documents the beauty inherent in the quotidian and the simple pleasures of everyday life. Carrie has written about her efforts to reduce waste in the kitchen and waste associated with drinking coffee, as well as regular photography posts about things that make her smile.
Carrie uses a minimalistic wardrobe, inspired by the ‘capsule wardrobe’ idea that comes from a term originally coined in the ‘70s by London boutique owner Susie Faux, representing a wardrobe reduced to around 30 items. Instead of feeling constricted by her limited wardrobe, Carrie enjoys knowing that she loves every piece of clothing she owns, wearing them in a myriad of different combinations, because she has to.
Forbes reported that while in 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits, today the figure is closer to 30, reflecting shifts in attitudes towards avoiding outfit repetition and staying on-trend. This increase in outfits is partially responsible for the large amount of waste created from buying fast fashion items that are barely worn – a particularly disconcerting trend when you consider the ethical issues behind many mass-manufactured clothing brands.
The Picture of Mary
Gittemary Johansen runs a blog and makes regular YouTube videos about her waste reduction journey. For the last two years, she has worked delivering talks, lectures and workshops about zero waste awareness.
She cherishes the community of over 10,000 followers she has built up online: “I have so much daily motivation in my social media platforms; hearing about my followers’ progress and how my zero waste life influences them is something that always keep me going.”
For Gittemary, food is important; she often posts zero waste recipes and tries to minimise the amount of packaging entering her fridge. Food waste is a huge problem, with pre-packaged supermarket food ubiquitous and fuelling the throwaway culture infiltrating our kitchens because of the ease associated with it and the distance of consumers to the whole food production process. “I think one of the biggest ways to impact the planet, both positively and negatively, is related to food and what we put in our bodies,” she told Resource.
“Supermarkets have distanced consumers from the whole process of the food we buy. The production of food has become a very foreign process for some, and I think the lack of respect and appreciation for the food plays a part in the global issue of food waste.”
My Green Closet
My Green Closet is a YouTube channel, blog and online community of almost 50,000 subscribers, created and run by social media personality Verena, documenting ethical slow fashion and green beauty products. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Technology, and learning about the harmful aspects of fashion, Verena knew she had to work towards more sustainable practices in an industry that produces so much waste and has come under fire for unethical practices within the value chain.
Reflecting on her reasons for pursuing an environmentally friendly lifestyle, Verena told Resource: “I don’t see any other choice. Our planet is in a critical state and if we want to protect it we have to make changes. I decided I no longer wanted my actions and purchases to be harmful to people or the environment.”
“Fast fashion is incredibly destructive,” she says. “Producing so many clothes so quickly and cheaply comes at a cost to workers and the environment. To truly address a lot of the sustainability issues with fashion, things need to slow down and that’s why I’m such an advocate of breaking fast-fashion shopping habits and promoting second hand shopping.”
Going Zero Waste
Kathryn Kellogg lives in California working as a professional actor. She enjoys brunch and thrift shopping, when she isn’t posting packaging-free farmers market hauls and photos of her litter-collecting escapades.
She started her journey to zero waste for health reasons after finding benign tumours at 20 years old: “The whole experience got me thinking about what I put in and on my body. I started by trying to avoid endocrine disruptors, which can be found in beauty products, fire retardants in furniture, in plastic, and the list goes on.
“As I started phasing plastic out of my life, I realised it isn’t just a problem for our health, it’s also a problem for nature. Every piece of plastic ever created still exists. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means it gets smaller and smaller until it’s microscopic. It’s a huge threat to marine life, a problem that I decided I didn’t want to be a part of. I wanted to be a part of the solution.”
As well as her blog, Kathryn runs a Facebook group with daily threads to build up a community of accountability. Her advice to people who aren’t sure how to begin the daunting task of reducing their waste: “Just start with one thing and start small!”