Sustainability, ethical living, conservation of environment and reducing one’s carbon footprint is at the heart of Fair Earth Foundation. One of our favourite quotes says: ‘We cannot do everything, but we can all do something… If everybody does something, everything gets done!’
This particular quote resonates with me every day. And it covers a lot…
We can all reduce our waste, right? We can all reconsider our choices as a consumer when it comes to buying clothes, food or other necessities like toiletries, can’t we? We can all lessen our water and electricity usage, can’t we? We can use bikes or walk instead of driving to the shop that’s just around the corner… The list of the small changes that we can all make in our lives is almost endless!
Would you agree with me?
I won’t be able to touch on every topic within this post and yes, there is so much to cover about what an individual could do to reduce his/her own impact… And I could also start a discussion about who is really responsible for our current environmental crisis… Is it individual? Is it big corporations? (There has been a study stating that the top 100 corporations are responsible for 71% of global emissions) But aren’t these corporations formed by individuals?!
Anyway, what I can definitely say is that we are facing a lot of challenges as a society right now. One thing we should stop doing is referring to climate change when speaking about these issues. We have to call it a CRISIS. And the crisis is nowhere near the end. What's more, many studies indicate that this crisis might be soon irreversible. What do we do about this, hmm?
Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word ‘success.’ – David Wann
Efforts of our volunteers at the base in Tenerife
I must say that everybody that comes to volunteer with us is conscious about the environment and is taking some kind of effort for a greener tomorrow. It’s so satisfying and inspirational to see so many young people in one place with one common goal! As this is an introductory post to our Sustainable living area, I will cover our actions - actions of every individual that comes to our base in Tenerife.
Did you know that organic waste makes up 30-50% of the total household waste that you produce?
Imagine if you could divert 50% of the waste that you produce?! Such a small step that makes a huge difference! On top of that, you’ll also provide nutrients for soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!
The group size that we have in Tenerife varies from 15-40 people and waste could be a big problem for us. But it simply isn’t! We have a big container where we throw all organic waste and take it to a farm that we collaborate with! I found an article that states the following: ‘If everybody in the US would compost their food waste, the impact would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from roads.’
Fruit and vegetables are a big part of our diet and make up roughly 70% of what we buy. Can you possibly imagine how much plastic we would use if we would shop for 15-40 people in a supermarket? Scary!
Instead, we go hunting for local markets and buy vegetables and fruit from Tenerife farmers. Below you can see our weekly worth of shopping!
A year ago, the food cooked for dinner for volunteers would be meat based. Mama Canaria (Theresa - a local woman who has helped run this project for over 15 years now) would normally cook typical canarian food every night. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, she rarely visits the base now because of the risk of having so many people in the same place. Since then, a couple of volunteers cook each night for the rest of the team! And I have to admit, it is more fun!!!
What has also changed is the type of food we cook! We try to be as inclusive as possible and we make sure nobody is left out! It’s a group decision and we ask every Sunday how many times people want to cook meat that week and to my surprise we cook mostly vegan food. So far so good! 50% of meat eaters are leaving us as vegetarians or vegans and 100% of people are more conscious about their diet.
Does this really matter?
Well, I am not the one to state what is good or bad, but the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation highlighted that meat and dairy account for 14,5% global greenhouse gas emissions. What I can say is that I am one of those volunteers who changed their diet and I am trying to explore this world of vegetarianism and veganism.
Unfortunately, not every product can be replaced as easily and we still need pasta, rice, legumes, oats and many other essential ingredients. What we can’t refuse or reduce, we try to reuse and recycle.
But we try to reduce what we recycle as well! We use glass jars from chickpeas as drinking cups for water, and are partnered with Let’s Recycle Tenerife - a company that collects all aluminum waste, sorts it out and sells it. We turn our coffee waste into body scrubs or just put it in our garden. All our paper and cardboard we use when we set up a fire in the evening.
What else could we do? Do you have any suggestions?
We are lucky to live in a climate where crops can be grown all year round! Our garden is small but provides us with an endless supply of rocket, lettuce, mint, parsley, basil and rosemary…
We also grow bananas (but they take long to grow), radish, cabbage, cauliflower, have a bunch of fruit trees (lime, clementine, lemon, avocado, orange and others), strawberries, chilli peppers, aubergine and carrots for now!
But we have some BIG PROJECTS coming up very soon, and are very excited about getting more into growing different kinds of crops, taking care of animals, alternative technology and farm business development.
What do you do every day to reduce your impact on the environment? We are keen to hear your suggestions and best tips!
Post by: Matúš Herc
We encourage all of our volunteers to submit a blog post, on any topic, whilst they are with us.