I began making ethical choices from a young age, such as being vegetarian, not buying cosmetics or toiletries that had been tested on animals and such. Mostly I failed to keep it up, the demands of blending into society and fitting in with the expectations of others made it difficult.
I took a degree in Environmental Science at Plymouth University, 1999-2002. It was simultaneously the best and worst years of my life. The best in terms of the opportunity to learn about topics that fascinated me from intelligent and passionate professors and lecturers, meeting so many people who all wanted to make a difference and making some good friends. The worst was the stress involved with attempting to keep my academic and personal lives in balance.
Despite the debt and despite never having been able to use my knowledge professionally, the knowledge I gained shaped the person I wanted to be (even though I didn’t yet have the courage to be that person). I wanted to be someone with a cause, a passion and to have the courage to act to the benefit of that cause.
Taking one small step at a time, I began by becoming a member of friends of the earth, shopping ethically, and using earth friendly cleaning products. Slowly I began boycotting certain well known fast food restaurants because of their shameful mistreatment of chickens, or their indiscriminate cutting down of the rain forests for cattle farms. (The latter or which since changed much of the way they conducted their business for the better.) I wrote letters and emails to my MP urging action on important issues, all the while wishing I could do something more but believing I was not competent enough. I was afraid that I might make a mistake out of ignorance of the full facts and make a bigger mess than there already is.
This changed however as my self esteem grew, so did my desire to be proactive. Eventually I volunteered with TCV in Exeter. I spent two years there being a part of local conservation work. My love of trees and nature flourished as did the evidence that I could, even as one individual of billions on the planet, make a difference.
Since then, I have joined various causes who use facebook to advertise. I have completely changed my diet. Though I am not vegetarian, I am cutting out all processed foods that contain preservatives, chemical additives and pesticides. I am also buying ethically sourced, fairly traded food products, toiletries where possible by a slow research and assimilation process. I am increasingly savvy regarding ethical shopping and I am aiming for 100% Savvyness by the end of this year 2013.
If you want to get involved in any of my causes or you have a cause you think I’d be interested in I’d love to hear from you.