Going green with Mariska Nell: How to start your sustainable journey in the UAE

Columnist Mariska explains how you can do your bit for the environment
Thursday , 12 December 2019
Going green with Mariska Nell: How to start your sustainable journey in the UAE

Amazingly, the world is starting to focus on the environmental issues that are facing our planet.

School children around the world are taking to the streets to protest inaction on climate change, and famous influencers are taking a stand against plastic. This awareness is helping to drive action, and while many companies are starting to offer sustainable alternatives, there are still many environmentally problematic things in our day-to-day lives.   

Over the last few years, I have been actively trying to reduce the waste that our household produces. It was not always easy, but I am happy to say that we no longer have a rubbish bin and there is very little that leaves our house to go to the landfill. So little, that I haven’t seen our building garbage chute in the last two months.

So now you might say, “Well that is great, but in my situation, it is not possible”, and you may be right, but even if you can’t achieve zero waste, there are definitely things you can do to reduce your waste and the negative impact we are having on the planet. Luckily, I have already gone through this journey, and there are a lot of tips that I can give you.

First, start with the things you can easily give up. If you start with the hard stuff, you may find yourself giving up before you have even tried. Once you have given up one or two things and created a new reduced waste habit, you can improve on your record by giving up more items. If you are not sure about the items you use most of and what impact it has on your waste, do a quick bin audit to find out. Make a list of everything you throw in the trash for a week and there you have it.

Next, there are three easy swaps you can start with today.

STRAWS are easy to avoid. You can either sip your drink directly from the glass or cup or use a reusable straw. There are many different reusable options available like glass, metal, silicon and many more. They are easy to clean and can be reused. Next time you order a drink, make sure to ask for it to be served without a straw. The turtles in the ocean will thank you.

Stop using single-use PLASTIC BAGS, instead carry a reusable bag with you. If you forget your bag, ask for a box. On some occasions, my handbag has also doubled as a shopping bag.

Get a reusable coffee cup and avoid the disposable COFFEE CUPS. You will save trees, reduce waste and possibly even save money. Some cafes in the UAE have started offering a discount when using your reusable cup. If you forget your reusable cup, take a few minutes, sit down and enjoy your coffee in a ceramic mug. Life is too busy anyway, and you deserve a break.

Every step you take towards a sustainable life is a step forward. Do what you can and feel comfortablke with. Living a more sustainable life is a journey and not a race.

Who is Mariska?

Artist, environmentalist and host of the Mama Earth Talk podcast, Mariska’s  sustainable artwork features in the collections of Adrian Grenier, Trevor Noah, DJ Black Coffee, Gary Vaynerchuck and Costa Coffee. She tries to live a zero-waste life and is passionate about educating others on the topic of waste and the environment. If you want to start your sustainable journey, be sure to follow her on social media (@designbymariska), and listen to her podcast (Mama Earth Talk) for extra tips and advice.

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