The Moment I Realised Just How Important the Planet Is To Me

The Moment I Realised Just How Important the Planet Is To Me

The moment I realised how important our planet is to me

When Graeme first picked up a paintbrush back in 2017 and upcycled that 99p TV unit he found on Ebay, we had absolutely no idea that we would still be painting furniture six and a half years later, never mind growing a business based on it.

We also had no clue as to the scale of how much furniture is thrown away each year, and to be honest, hadn’t really thought about it either. And until then, almost certainly contributed to the problem without realising. Also, full disclosure, this blog took a totally different direction to what I’d planned, so be aware, I’ll talk about the impact of furniture waste in another blog post very soon.

We were/are living in a throw away culture, always chasing the latest trend, the newest thing and when we were fortunate enough to have a substantial disposable income, we could very easily replace a damaged item with little thought. Dare I say it, we would simply say, “ah ney bother, we can just get another off A****n”. Although neither of us have ever been big trend followers, Graeme did used to be a sucker for the latest phone and liked nice cars, and I’d be an absolute fiend in a clothing sale.

But that all changed a few months after our son was born, when Graeme had already found a love for painting furniture and its therapeutic benefits. I remember the exact moment my mindset completely shifted. We were visiting my mom for dinner back when she still lived in Birmingham, and my youngest brother was still in school. In an unusually civilised manner, we were having a discussion about the environment and climate (which makes a change from the usual bickering, fights over Yorkshire puddings and mom jokes). My brother was deliberating whether he was going to participate in the #FridaysForFuture school strikes and brought up the fact that research had suggested we had just 12 years to reverse the damage we’d caused. I’ve always been conscious of the environment, and cautious about not wasting energy, but this, this really struck a cord and scared me to be quite frank.

I don’t remember if I was already pregnant with our daughter, but I was faced with a vision, which I’ve talked about before over on our social media pages, a life where our children have to fight for survival. Imagine the Hunger Games, but without the entertainment factor and the killing one another. That fight for survival, whether they were in the games, or living in their divisions and scrambling for food. That’s the vision I cannot get out of my head.

Anyway, I’ve digressed. That moment put a fire in my belly, and a great deal of eco-anxiety too. How can we make a difference? How can we change our lifestyle to reduce our impact? How can we use our business to reduce our impact, and encourage others too? So many thoughts and questions running around my battered old brain. I found myself lying awake at night for a while after that thinking about what we needed to change, what we needed to improve and stop doing in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. And it was completely overwhelming. You can’t transform your life over night, it’s just not realistic. So once I’d realised this, and focused on just making one swap or change, it got so much easier.

As a family, we are absolutely still far perfect. We still use supermarkets more than we do zero waste shops, we still order take aways, and we don’t buy absolutely everything second hand. But we do try, and we do make sustainable swaps and changes were we can. And over the years, the amount of changes we’ve implemented in our lifestyle has increased enormously. It’s quite nice writing this actually, because even though I think (know) we need to do more, it reminds me that we are making a difference. A lot of the swaps, such as taking packed lunches on days out, and remembering the coffee, are just about planning ahead a little bit, and making it part of your routine. Once it becomes habit, it’s not so inconvenient, or quite as much of a chore.

The first really easy swap, was switching from 2 litre plastic bottles of water, that I would reuse over and over again until they practically gave up on me, to a stainless steel water bottle. At first, I thought it was expensive, but when you add up the cost of those plastic bottles, even if you do use them to death, investing in a stainless steel one was easily a more cost effective plan. AND it keeps your water SO cold its ace. It’s bottom has actually just fell off after been dropped a few times recently, but this is after several years use, and its still fully functional. Turns out bottles don’t need a bottom.

So if you find yourself feeling a similar way to myself all those years ago, please be reassured that you don’t need to turn your life upside down in order to make a difference. In fact, it actually helps to do nothing initially. When I say do nothing, I mean more like take a step back and reflect as you go about your day to day life. What is it that stands out to you as something you really want to change? Is there something you can see that can easily be swapped without costing you lots of money, or requiring you to invest in something new? Without the reflection, it’s going to be difficult to get started in a way that works for you and your family. Then when you feel ready, just make one swap. Ideally by using what you’ve already got, because there is nothing more sustainable than making use of what you already have.

Easy places to start thinking about this are the bathroom and kitchen. Places where there are so many things that get used for a short life span and end up in the recycling or general waste. Could you take an empty single use bottle along to the Coxhoe Market and refill your washing up liquid with us? Or perhaps, try out a shampoo bar instead of bottles of liquid shampoo? We’ve got a lovely selection of plastic free products on our website that are absolutely brilliant starting points that I am really confident will become firm favourites in your household as you break way from single use, and unnecessary packaging.

You’ll find your momentum, and gradually you’ll reflect and realise that you have comfortably made some really positive changes within your lifestyle that reduce your impact on the environment, and hopefully save you money in the process too.

I’ve written this, as the words fell out of my brain, it is not intended to sound like I’m telling you to suck eggs, it’s written from the memory of how I felt when I first began to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the environment. It’s easy to forget that not everybody is in the same place, and not everybody has reached a point where the environment is a serious concern in their lives, but I hope that one day, it will be, and this can help reassure people that it’s okay to start small and changes can be made at any point. After all, it’s better to start today, than never at all.