new years resolutions
I haven’t really practiced the art of new years resolutions for a long long time. I was actually a bit allergic to them. I felt, in general, they were often too self-involved and in many cases laden with the message of ‘i’m not good enough and need to better myself’. Think weight loss, fitness goals and career related and financial sucesses. The thing is, i’m not very interested in those sorts of topics. Above anything else I believe in the power of contentment. Of course dreams, ideas, focus and determination is necessary to accomplish that which you crave and set out to do. But I do not think it should come from a place of displeasement with who you are and where you stand. I do not believe life is about self improvement. I believe it is about knowing you, honoring you, as a means to saluting your purpose and putting your talents to good use. I believe life is about the now, and i believe contentment is the answer to most of our grief. That said, if we have a future, and I figure we do, we better make it a beautiful one, filled with respect for ourselves, our fellow creatures and our earth. There’s something so potent about scribbling down your desires and making them come to life by daring to be specific. This is why, this year, I decided on picking up the art of new years resolutions again. Here are the two I commit to for 2018. What’s your hearts desire for the year that has just started?
Much love, Kyra.
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NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
1. ’GREEN’ BANKING.
Most banks exist with the sole purpose of making money. Or perhaps even worse, have no clue what their TRUE purpose is. They, with the help of what’s in your bank- and savings account, invest in industries like oil, (nuclear) weapons and mining. They lend, and lend out, infinite amounts from, and to, dubious causes. I’ve been with one of Hollands main traditional banks since childhood but I’ve felt an erie ‘itch’ these past few years, with all of the information that has become available about the insane ins and out of our modern banking system.
So I have decided this is the year for change. I will switch banks: first my business account, then my personal and savings account. My new bank of choice is an absolute pioneer and frontrunner in the field of sustainable banking. What this means? Triodos, they bank I’ve decided on, uses money to bring about positive and lasting change; placing value on people and planet, as well as profit. They do that by financing companies, institutions and projects that add cultural value and benefit people and the environment, with the support of savers and investors who want to help make the world a better place – as well as a good return on their money. Triodos is 100% climate neutral and advocates 100% transparency about how our money is used. They publish a complete list of the people they lend money to and invest in online. I will therefore know exactly where my money goes, and which beautiful fair causes it will aid. I will put my trust in a bank that doesn’t rely on its dept and speculation. I basically want my honestly earned money to aid others and the planet, not help ruin it.
Switching banks may seem daunting. There’s the practical side of all the things that need to happen to open a new account and close the old. (I immediately thought of the long long list of institutions I need to write to to get them to change my bank information) And there’s the doubt and struggle of choosing a new, fairly ‘alternative’, bank that you trust enough to ‘give’ your money to. That’s why I started early with our daughter Lou. She’s 3 years old and has one bank account: a sustainable savings. In time we will open a personal bank account for her too, with the same sustainable bank I mentioned before. This way she will never have the difficulty of having to have to switch, because she has been there from the get go. I’m casting out any doubts this year and have started the process of switching over already. Now is the time. Money really is energy materialized and I want my money and energy to represent something fair, something of a positive change. I will vote for a social and sustainable world by banking green. (Many countries offer their version of a ‘green’ bank. Some call their bank social, some call it sustainable, some call it ethical, some call it green. I suggest you research your national options, explore them all and make a considered decision.)
2. LOW WASTE, REALLY.
Somewhere around the turn of the year my husband and I saw Blue Planet II. We were mesmerized, goosebumped and shocked at the same time. Although I know a lot about the impact us humans have on our environment, I was still terrified by the images and information shared during this visually stunning and powerful series. To see with my own eyes the beauty that is our blue planet, the magnificence of its inhabitants and the magic of its excistence. To then view what plastic, waste, society and our daily lifestyle choices do to sea creatures, coral reefs, whole eco systems and the planet at large. It worked as a reminder and hit home hard. Every cell in my body was saddened and I took a vow to waste less, FOR REAL. There were already many ways in which I, and we as a family, have tried to reduce waste but this year, for the sake of my children’s future and this ridiculously magical globe we get to live on, I am going to try harder. I’m not even just trying, I am DOING harder. No compromises. How? Here’s a few examples.
-I am not using ANY paper or plastic produce bags at the organic store I shop at. I use my own reusable organic cotton ones. If I forget them I have to ride my bike back home to grab them OR place all the produce in the cart as they are. (Yes, this has already happened, multiple times.) There will be no plastic bags entering my home. Not even the compostable ones. No there won’t. No compromise. And I’m pushing my husband to do the same, reminding him of the beauty and horrors we observed and the things WE can do about it. I will nag if neccesary, because this cause is worth it and sometimes one just needs that extra push. We can’t keep looking the other way, be lenient or expect others to do the work for us. We are not insignificant. Our personal choices and actions, however small they may appear, matter.
-Unfortunately our town does not have an organic no waste store like this amazing one in the UK. But I am choosing where to buy which foods depending on whether they come pre-packaged or not. Our local farmshop for example sells dried beans in bulk, so I will bring my own reusable container to carry and store them in. The store my brother works at has a large selection of bulk groceries like beans, nuts and grains. They are a little more expensive than the ones that come in plastic (why???) but from this year onward I will start choosing waste-free over saving a few futile euros. Because when it comes to life and care and our planet there should be no compromise, really. I was also gifted a divine looking grain mill for my birthday. This mill turns grains into flour. And as it is really difficult to buy flour unpackaged I will vow to make all my flours by hand, by buying unpackaged bulk grains and milling them into floury goodness. Also, I am praying for an organic waste-free supermarket to open in Utrecht this year. I believe every town should have one. And make it a goodlooking one too, while we are at it!
-If I’m thinking about grabbing a coffee-to-go to take along to the playground, or on a little stroll, I will have to bring my reusable one to the coffee shop, otherwise no coffee. No compromise. For this purpose I bought myself a smart, reusable and sustainable coffee mug. My husband was already gifted (a different) one by my brother in law and his wife for Christmas. So this also will be family fun and team effort.
-If little enters the home, little will have to leave it too. Leave as trash that is. I have therefore vowed to be even more conscious about the things (and packagings that come with those things!) that we allow into our house. Buying second-hand items though pick-up is great, because these things don’t come packaged anyways. I have stopped buying my own clothes second-hand though, as I found they did not last that long, were spur of the moment buys so not that considered nor loved, and thus ended up in the ‘give or throw away’ basket very soon. Not my idea of sustainable. I rather spend a bit more money on a handmade quality piece that I intentionally picked, thought over, absolutely adore and will wear in good fashion for many many maaaaaany years. On the other hand, I find (vintage) furniture and design objects, (organic, natural fibred) kids clothes and (wooden) toys to be extremely well suited for second-hand buying.
Things we already do:
Since we are expecting our second child we have opted, again, for cloth diapers and reusable wipes as we did with our first child Lou. This time we chose a cloth diaper that air-dries quicker so we’ll have to use the dryer as little as possible.
We do and will continue to use biodegradable, sustainable, toxinfree and preloved materials in our home decor. Think wooden furniture, natural (non synthetic) fabrics, non-toxic paint, fully biodegradable washing detergents and cleaning products, biodegradable toothbrushes, toys made from natural (non plastic, non synthetic) materials and sustainable bedding. Heck, Lou even owns a biodegradable potty from which flowers will blossom once we plant it.
Because so many of our clothes are made from delicate natural fibres we airdry A LOT and use a wooden clothes rack to dry them on.
Both Lou and my clothes are 100% sustainable, meaning made solely from natural organic and biodegradable fibres. Her closet (and that of her yet to be born sister) is filled with 95% second-hand (100%organic and natural fibred) clothing. Kids grow so fast, and there’s so much beautiful pre-loved stuff already out there, why buy everything new really?
In the kitchen we use (recycled) glass jars to store our dried goods, such as beans, nuts, grains, flours, dried fruits etc, in. We use reusable beeswrap and linen cloth instead of foil. We use RVS containers and mason jars for leftovers. We use reusable and biodegradable lunchboxes to pack our meals in, for school and on to go.
I mend clothing instead of throwing it out. Yup, like a granny, even our wool socks!
We do not own a car and have legs and bicycles as our main form of transportation.
And so on, and so on.
Much to celebrate, much to contribute still.
Copyright (Kyra de Vreeze at Kyra’s Kitchen) on all text and images.