Be For Change

mindful living

Live mindful and lessen your impact

Sustainable Future, War on WasteAna CarneiroComment

I've written it a few times in this blog and on the Be For Change website, but don't mind if I repeat it:

Being a mindful individual isn't just about practicing meditation, it's about being a well-informed, aware citizen that takes on a mindful attitude towards their life choices, big and small.

Before starting off the post its worth watching this short documentary from Vox media that explores why we might find it challenging to live and consume mindfully and the implications of such lifestyle. 

Ultimately, this short video argues that we do need the government to pass policies, however these policies aren’t successful without public support. It is through the individual change of consumption and the increase in public awareness that a cultural change occurs, one which acts as a bottom up support for large scale transformations. 

Going green does not need to be a sacrifice, either for us as individuals or for businesses, governments and the economy.

So in this post we are going to discuss how we provide and take part of this bottom up support.

We need to make big changes, and we need to make them happen as soon as possible

The previous blog post discussed the adverse effects of climate change and how much there is already at stake, revealing the urgency of taking action.

While irreversible damage has already been done, we are on time to mitigate the damages. To do this we need to become aware of just how close to home the effects of climate change are - no country or region will ever be the same again. This is where the extreme weather events of this summer can hopefully serve to make people realize the severity of the issue.

It is not only up to our governments and sovereign nations to implement better measures and change how business is done. as the video above shows it's also up to us! We definitely have a significant role to play.

There's no time for us to maintain our current consumption habits and keep living in a linear economy based on extraction, production, use and then waste. Our lifestyle choices are a great place to start.

It is vital that we move away from linear consumption and towards a circular economy, in which there is minimum need for virgin materials and products don’t have built in obsolence. In which outputs eventually become inputs too and businesses adopt production strategies such as upcycling (as Be For Change does). 

simple solutions for a complex problem...

Let's start with the big decisions: the top 3 things one can do to reduce their impact on the planet are to have one less child, to adopt a plant-based diet and to reduce one's use of any and all fossil-fueled methods of transportation (especially cars and airplanes). You might be thinking 'how's that simple?!' but the complicated part is the thinking of it - we'd argue that Not having another child, Not eating meat and Not traveling far away multiple times a year are simpler life choices than having another child, or buying and cooking meat, or planning a transatlantic trip. I call these The Big 3, because despite how clear the research is on these subjects they are highly controversial and emotional topics for many people.

'The Climate Mitigation Gap' study by Wynes and Nicholas assesses the CO2 emissions of different life-decisions and resulted in the following graphic:

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 23.15.11.png

Please note that this graphic focuses on CO2 emissions and doesn't take into consideration the other benefits of adopting a plant-based diet (such as not contributing to deforestation and the release of methane by livestock, which firmly place it among The Big 3).

So plastic straws or a better kind of single-use coffee cup won't save the world, however they do jump-start a conversation and made many people rethink their use of other plastics. So change your focus, change your consumption habits and shop less. But when you do shop, invest in sustainable and long-lasting products (such as our Bags!).

When one starts their journey into mindful living and consumption it is crucial to be patient and setting realistic targets. 

Once you take the first steps such as carrying your own coffee mug, refusing plastic bags, checking where and in what way you’re clothes were made, these small actions will help you break the cycle. 

A great and impacting first step is to try to reduce your consumption of plastics - start with single-use and then keep going... A great resource is the Guide to Go Plastic Free by Our Good Brands (https://ourgoodbrands.com/). This comprehensive guide is completely free (you just need to fill out your email) and has some great tips! 

If you are in London and want to start shopping 'zero waste', do take a look at the BFC London tabs, or simply find the shops near you in this map:

The journey of mindful consumption is a difficult one a great way to look for tips as well as share your experience/ difficulties is joining some of the Facebook groups We have made one ourselves and if t you would like to share your thoughts check it out!

We also have an event on adopting a Low Waste Lifestyle this Saturday in London, so do come and meet us and ask your questions to our experts in person ;)

One Aware mag - a journey update

OneAware MagazineAna Carneiro

Hi there!

It's been eight months since I wrote about starting a magazine - an incredible eight months of fun, struggle, and, above all, connection - and so I thought it was time to write again. As I sit to blog today, Be For Change has launched an introductory issue in Summer (grab a free copy here) (oops! We've run out of print copies!!! email me at hello@be-for-change.com to request a PDF) and our Issue 001 is going out in a couple of days (you can pre-order your copy now)!

As many a good journey, this one did not go as expected. I had plenty of ideas to start with, and I thought I had a clear vision of where I was going. But it didn't take long before I was scrambling for answers to questions I had forgotten to consider. Right at that time, my idea of what would become One Aware magazine started being shaped by the input of others - and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I struggled with that. I hadn't expected to make it all happen by myself, but I am usually a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to my work. More than that, if eight months ago you had told me how comfortable I would be today relying on others for help, I would have raised an eyebrow (maybe even two). But here I am.

Nowadays I am incredibly happy about the small family that has gathered around One Aware. These are the people who act as a sounding board for ideas in their lunch breaks, call me when I send a sad text about something that went wrong, spell check the articles when they get home after work. Not a single person who helped bring this magazine to life works in publication, or for Be For Change; nope, everyone is elsewhere employed and worked on One Aware in their spare time. They deserve a big round of applause! (oh wait, this ain't a speech... Can you give them some love in the comments?).

These are not the only relationships which have resulted in the amazing feeling of connection I mentioned earlier. It might seem weird, but I feel like I am now connected with everyone who has put work forward to this publication. I get to read each story and see all artwork submissions as they come through our inbox. Most of the time, I open the company's email only to find there is nothing new, but in some awesome days there is an email or two titled 'Submission' - and I practically jump, and get wide grin in my face. It is honestly a privilege to see what our audience submits, even if not all work makes it to print. You are such a diverse bunch, pursuing so many different things in life! I do hope that the magazine does you justice, and I hope that you feel as inspired reading it as I feel when I first open those emails. By the way, I love replying to your emails, asking further questions about what you do and getting more details to edit into your texts. It is my absolute favourite thing when our contributors react to finding out that their work is going into One Aware! (Maybe for the next issue I'll ask to share a few of those emails, because you guys/girls have had some pretty awesome things to say!) (This is yet another reason why we'll keep working with artists and writers who are still establishing their names :)

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As I wrote before, there have been plenty of struggles too. And the worst part is that it's usually me who inadvertently created whatever difficult situations. From failing to communicate what I needed and getting frustrated when people delivered the 'wrong' things, to failing in time management and getting stressed as deadlines fail again and again.

There's truly less than a handful of people bringing One Aware to life, and most of the time it's really just two people: Sam (the graphic designer who does more than fits his job description) and me. We ideate, execute and push each other through all the big tasks and menial ones too. With an increasing amount of work for each issue, it feels increasingly hard not being able to pay my One Aware fam for all that they contribute. It is our hope that we've proved the value of this independent publication with this issue, that sales will follow and we'll be able to secure a few sponsors for the Spring issue. I would be living in a dream if by then the magazine was financially viable, with enough money to pay contributors and for a small space where we can all work together without being in the way of our flatmates.

Other challenges anyone in our generation might face, namely the struggle to print sustainably and at a decent price. It is honestly ridiculous that sustainable printing and paper aren't the norm yet - but once again, we have the power to cast a vote with our money. And so we did, even though it means spending more money and the magazine being more expensive (fact: we'll need to sell a lot just to break even, so if you can contribute and purchase with purpose, that would be hugely appreciated!) A couple of years back I would have turned in a different direction; but not now. I am learning with my mistakes and doing my best to get One Aware off the ground, because I really believe in the importance of putting in print the thoughts and experiences of our generation.

It is true that for the most part Millennials are a digital generation, but we also value print. We treat our books and magazines with respect, and proudly scatter them around the house. In a world gone largely digital, we still choose to pay more for words and images on paper. We trust in pages we can hold and smell to keep the messages that matter to us, close to us. With print we can borrow and lend and pass onto other people - with a nice handwritten message on the inside cover.

 

Zero Waste Living, by Kate Arnell

War on WasteAna CarneiroComment

A zero waste lifestyle. What does that mean, exactly? It’s a tricky one to explain as the name itself can be quite misleading. I still produce waste. I still buy (some) items in packaging.

Essentially, Zero Waste is the goal - the elusive carrot that dangles just out of reach. It means I take a considered approach to my life. I live in alignment with my values and at the same time, I have dramatically reduced the amount of waste I send to landfill.