I have always had deep empathy for the planet, the animals living on it and the environment itself. I understood from a young age about how terrible deforestation, battery farming and plastics in the ocean were for the world and wanted to make a change anyway I could. Growing up, my mum was the only one earning and we didn’t have much. Even so, we always ate organic food wherever possible, including free range eggs and meat. My mum also grew her own herbs in the garden, as well as some rhubarb and strawberries when they were in season. This then developed into my parents discovering a local community farm where they joined and helped work on the fields in return for a huge variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs to take home. Once they started working there, that was our main source for the majority of our vegetables. And as I got older and began to like vegetables more, we also had more vegetarian meals throughout the week to cut down meat consumption.
My personal journey however, didn’t start until the end of 2020, as I wanted to lower my footprint in any way I could. I started small by swapping some plastic products and unethical products for more sustainable ones. I had been through an awful lot in my personal life leading up to then, including losing contact with all my friends and family, leaving a toxic and volatile relationship, reconnecting with my loved ones afterwards, my father dying suddenly, and then finding out I was pregnant midway through the second trimester. So within 2 years, my life was flipped upside-down. My journey was a way of regaining control on what I could do to help leave the world a better place for my daughter’s generation and develop the skills and knowledge needed to continue reversing the effects of climate change in more ways.
I began with my bathroom mainly, getting a bamboo toothbrush, swapping to shampoo and conditioner bars and using natural toothpaste in recyclable packaging. I had found a great shop, local to the UK, selling amazing eco-friendly, naturally sourced and sustainable products. Their products ranged in anything from kitchen ware and bathroom products to make up and skin care. I really loved what they had to offer and decided to become an affiliate for them. I created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing my journey and I offer discounts on the products I use from My Little Eco Shop. I was so surprised to discover such an incredible community of like-minded people, all dedicated to reducing their impact on the world in their own way. Each of them were sharing their own journeys, products and tips for how to live more sustainably. I became hugely inspired by other people’s accounts and the ideas they were posting. And I in turn, started to incorporate a lot more into my life from those recommendations, including how I wash my clothes using an eco-egg, on low temperature and air drying them. I also switched to a more plant-based diet and avoid fast fashion impulse buys. When I need something, I only shop on second hand stores or charity shops.
Over the course of a couple of months, I was amazed to see how quickly my page was growing. And I was so grateful for the platform which enabled me to chat and connect to so many people, no matter where in the world they were. It was a blessing, as my only job became working as an English teacher for foreign students since I was a stay-at-home mum. I found I enjoyed promoting the products I had been swapping out to, especially the skincare and eco-friendly make up.
I also decided to jump onboard with The Body Shop and work as an independent consultant. I have loved their products for so many years. After looking more into the company, I was so happy to discover their products to be vegan and cruelty free. They use ethically sourced products that have a lot of Fairtrade connections. They are a certified B corporation, they run campaigns for human, animal and environmental rights, as well as connecting with a lot of charities to donate percentages of their profits from new ranges of products to. They have also teamed up with Terracycle. So you can bring back empty packaging of your products to their stores and they can reuse or recycle them too.
I am so happy that there are now so many ways for people to build their own business online through these companies, with such a great support system and great rewards for hard work. it’s such a positive contrast to come out of lockdown with so many people losing their jobs and forms of income. It makes me so proud to not only promote the products for those looking for more ethical alternatives, but to also promote the opportunity for those who wish to work for themselves in this way too. They can spend a short amount of time promoting products they love at times that suit them, leaving enough free time to be spent with family and friends.
To follow on from promoting products and trying to change my lifestyle habits, I have also loved taking part in The Home Detox Clinic to go deeper into making my home more eco-friendly. It includes looking at aspects of your life you may not have thought of much, like energy providers, banking, and food waste, as well as going deeper into cleaning products, your kitchen and your bathroom. It really helped me to go further into my sustainable journey by doing an audit of the products I have in my home already. I discovered some cleaning products that are ethical that I hadn’t realized before and took note of what I could replace once other products ran out. I am improving and adapting my lifestyle each day, whilst learning more and more about the different impacts humans have on the world and how we can improve our individual lives to change that. Although it may seem hard in the beginning, I have found this transition easier and easier each time I find a new swap and I am so excited to keep building on it.
No one is perfectly sustainable or zero waste, so everyone should be proud of what they can do to make a change. It may seem difficult at first, but starting small with things you know would be easy is better than nothing.
I’m going to continue sharing my knowledge, products, swaps and tips to inspire a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle habits, so feel free to join me and follow along, and maybe make some of these changes for yourself too.
My name is Natasha Ford and this is my Sustainable Journey.