April is Earth Month! We talked to Sadie at The Sustainable Fox, a company specializing in advising and consulting on sustainability plans and habits, and asked her some questions about what sustainability looks like and how to have a more sustainable lifestyle. She had some great advice and suggestions for where to start and how to look at sustainable living in Victoria.

Questions about Sustainability

 

The Sustainable Fox offers workshops and consultations for both individuals and businesses that want to assess, improve, and implement more sustainable plans and habits. In preparation for Earth Month, we talked to Sadie at The Sustainable Fox and asked her some questions about sustainability. Here is what we found out.

 

Sadie at SKAMpede 2019

 

What can sustainable living look like?

Sustainable living can look like many different things depending on your circumstances and geography. It isn’t a specific way of existing that looks a certain way. We all live on the spectrum of sustainable living, with some living more or less sustainably than others.

Sustainable living comes from being curious about where you are on the spectrum and becoming aware of having more lifestyle choices than you might have supposed. Everyone’s version of it will be different. For example, if you live downtown and have easy access to zero waste stores, like the Zero Waste Emporium or West Coast Refill, that is a great and wonderful resource to use and be more sustainable. However, if you live farther away, it might not be as sustainable to commute all the way downtown to use those services. You need to find a place of balance.

In short, sustainable living is exactly what you are doing now, but with more consciousness about the options and effects we can have.

 

 

What are some easy ways to live more sustainably?

The best way to live more sustainably, whatever your version of that is, is to engage in more awareness and consciousness about when, where, and how you shop.

  1. Buy more local – When you shop local, you are supporting our local economy and investing in the growth of our own resources here on Vancouver Island. With a strong local network of trade and resources, we don’t need to rely on others elsewhere for what we need to live.
  2. Buy less new – When we buy secondhand, recycled, or upcycled things, we are contributing to the use of pre-existing resources and can save still viable and usable items from ending up in the landfill. Just because an item is used, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used again or that it has no more value. Some great places to buy fewer new items are Flavour Upstairs, Upcycle Clothing Collective, WIN Resale Store, Bastion Books, and Russell Books.
  3. Buy less packaging – Plastic packaging tends to be one use and often ends up in the landfill. A great way to live more sustainably is to reuse packaging and to choose non-plastic options for packaging. There are many wonderful options for reducing your use of packaging in the downtown core, including Zero Waste Emporium and West Coast Refill in the realms of home and grocery.
  4. Buy less meat – This is one of the most tangible ways to lower your personal carbon footprint. The meat industry has large environmental impacts from deforestation to high greenhouse gas emissions. This doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or a vegan. It is about lowering the demand for meat products. Another great thing to do is to buy your meat from a whole animal butcher like Farm + Field Butchers, which means nothing gets wasted. Some great vegetarian restaurants are Be Love, Green Cuisine, Rebar Modern Food, and so many more!
  5. Buy less fuel – This is another of the biggest and most tangible ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself! Buying and using less fuel helps cut down on your carbon footprint and helps reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your car, but try using it less often. Plan out and intentional about your car trips. Try different modes of transportation. Biking to work, walking more, and using public transit are all good alternatives. If you’re looking for a new bike, check out Broad Street Cycles, Giant Victoria, Bishop’s Family Cycles, and all the other great bike shops!

 

 

Where can people find assistance or resources to help them work towards a more sustainable lifestyle?

The very best resource is the people around you, whether that is family, friends, coworkers, or local store owners. A resource can be a neighbour who grows and shares their vegetables. It can be a local business or a low waste service. It can be found in our community and all around us.

There are also services and businesses that can help guide you towards a more sustainable lifestyle or business model, such as Synergy Enterprises or Green City Solutions.

Just remember that it’s more sustainable to go to the local downtown drugstore than to buy the exact same thing at Shopper’s Drug Mart or online.

 

 

Where can people engage in community sustainability efforts?

COVID has made this difficult. There are communities online, of course, where you can share ideas, hashtags, and assistance. Your community, whatever it may be, is the best place to engage with others, teach each other, and learn. It doesn’t have to be a community group specifically about sustainability. Everyone is different; everyone will have different ideas and will bring different skills and perspectives to what they do. Through this type of community connection, sustainability efforts can grow and evolve. Sustainability is a way of being, so if you’re curious about it, learn about it and be the person to tell others! Be an activist wherever you are and lead by example.

When searching online, take the hashtag #sustainable and add whatever you’re interested in, like #sustainablefashion, #sustainablefarming, #sustainableyyj, and on and on! If you want to connect with the #slowmovement (or #slowfoodmovement) side of sustainability, a great place to start is attending or even volunteering at your local farmer’s market!

 

 

What would you, The Sustainable Fox, like to see downtown with regards to a sustainable future plan?

Sadie would like to see more green space, better waste management infrastructure, and fewer vehicle access roads. She believes that, with more opportunities for small local business to occur, downtown Victoria has the potential to become more of a market and meeting place. It would encourage a more connected community locally, so that we wouldn’t have as much reliance on off-island or global connections for economy, food security, and other resources. We can create space for trade between ourselves.

 

You can find The Sustainable Fox online on their website and on Instagram!

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