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Small Steps Create Big Impacts

Statistics can be boring, but we’ve got one to brighten your day: 82% of Australians are concerned about the environment. That’s from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – we didn’t just pluck it from Google. When was the last time 82% of us agreed on anything?! And it’s across all demographics: female, male, young, old, employed, unemployed. Increasingly, we’re all becoming more and more environmentally aware.

It’s changed our behaviour. The days of convenience over effort are disappearing. Microwave meals and cake mixes have vanished from the shopping list. Gardens are back – even in Fitzroy or Marrickville! We’ve rediscovered the beauty of creating something from scratch. We’ve woken up – and about time. We were rushed, but are slowing down and realising the cost of our actions. And this has inspired us to think: “what can we, as individuals, do? Are my small actions really going to have such an impact? Is there really any point?”

Yep. There is. Let us explain.

We read so much about plastic. How damaging it is to the environment, and us – our health. A variety of common plastics contain what are called ‘xenoestrogens’. Their effect on our bodies is as nasty as their name. Scientists now believe they could be disrupting our endocrine system – our hormones. We know the prevalence of reproductive conditions such as endometriosis – up to 10% of women will suffer from it. Polycystic ovarian syndrome – between 8 and 20% of women will suffer from it. Infertility – 1 in 6 couples will experience it. The cause of these conditions are varied.  But if there is a risk that plastics could play a harmful role – as some scientists now believe – is it worth the risk? We both know the answer.

That’s the effect on the body. Let’s look at the effect on the environment. And forgive us if we get a bit preachy. Australians are the second biggest producers of waste, per person, in the world. Each of us sends around 690 kilograms of rubbish to the tip each year – 30% of that is plastic. English translation: each of us uses around 200 kilograms of plastic a year. And it’s finding its way to the coast. One study found that 75% of all coastal waste was plastic. Grrrrr. Although it’s not all bad! We all have the funny coloured bins for recycling. And our recycling rates around 50%. But we can do better.

So: first point of call? Reduce the amount of plastic in our homes. How? Simple. Start small. Heading to the shops? Great, take a reusable bag. Politely decline the offer of a plastic bag. Luckily, a lot of states are starting the ban on plastic bags. But until this is the national rule let’s all make it our personal rule. From little things big things grow.

You know those glass jars you accumulate through pasta sauces, gherkins or mayonnaise? Vegemite? Get creative. Hang on to them. Strategise different ways you can use them. Here’s a hint: they make excellent alternatives to Tupperware containers for leftovers.  That tin of half-full coconut milk in the fridge? You get the drift.

Being more environmentally aware not only benefits the environment but, by happy accident, benefits you. You become a healthier version of yourself. How? By choosing to have less waste in your pantry you are choosing to consume more real food. You are creating a base for creating nutrient-dense meals. This is the magic formula in improving your health and wellbeing –and increasing longevity.

It’s the new Golden Rule. If it’s better for you, it’s better for the environment.

Our journey to live more consciously has been slowly building and evolving into a beautiful community, who are all committed to making small changes. This is the pulse that runs through Ulu Hye. It’s why we’re proud of our values. It’s why we’re proud of the little things we’re doing, like producing individual jars which reduce at least 10 cartons from landfill. It’s why we’re proud of using produce that gives you nature at its best. We’re proud of all the little things we do – because we know they will turn into big things.

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