Oct 7, 2020

Admittedly, I’m a newbie to the sustainability movement. I’ve always deeply cared about the environment, but that usually never translated to my habits. Sure, I turn the faucet off while I’m sudsing my hands and I try to turn the lights off when I’m not using them, but that’s just about it. 

When I try to form good habits, I usually look for people whose footsteps I can follow. You know, monkey see, monkey do. So on my quest to more eco-friendly living, I’ve turned to Instagram to make sure I see and I end up doing. 

If you’re starting out on your journey towards sustainability (or just in need of some inspiration to keep going), here are a few Instagram accounts I’d recommend. Keep in mind though, this is not at all a comprehensive list. I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of key people and organizations, but these accounts have inspired me to do more than the bare minimum: 

 

People

Hindy Weber (@hindyweber)

To be completely honest, I want to be Hindy Weber when I grow up. She’s a business owner, mom, designer AND a farmer. I always dreamt of moving to the countryside to plant my own crops and she’s living my dream. I love seeing the farming photos she posts and the cute photos of her family. Hindy Weber, if you’re reading this, please teach me your ways!

 

Angel Mata (@lowimpactfilipina)

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It's International Coffee Day!⁠ ⁠ But, instead of talking about how this early-morning pick-me-up beverage is food for your health, we will be talking about how climate change is killing coffee. ⁠ ⁠ Yes, you read that right. Coffee, a crop under threat from climate change, will become more difficult and expensive to obtain in the near future. An extensive study published in January found that 60% of wild coffee species — or 75 of 124 plants — are at risk of extinction. ☹️⁠ ⁠ Global warming, deforestation, disease and pests are contributing to the decline, and scientists warn that without conservation, monitoring and seed preservation measures, one of the world’s most popular drinks could become a thing of the past. ⁠ ⁠ Worry not, somesmall-scale farmers to big producers, those involved in the coffee supply chain are already taking steps to save the coffee plantation. You can do your part too by supporting your local farmers. My favorite? It's @mamengkape local coffee sourced in San Pablo City, but they also ship to Manila. ⁠ ⁠ So, how do you want your coffee? Extinct? I guess not.

A post shared by Angel Mata (@lowimpactfilipina) on

Angel Mata is another one of my sustainability goals. In 2018, she only accumulated 1.8 kgs. of garbage. That’s a little more than two days worth of an average Filipino’s daily trash total. She also has a blog (which I go through whenever I have the time) that goes more into detail about living sustainably.

 

Food

Food is a really big part of living sustainably. According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, going on a more plant-based diet can help reduce your carbon footprint. Although I’m not really in the market to give up red meat (hello steak eaters!), eating more vegetables is good for the environment and my health. 

 

Monique Obligacion and Rocco Mapua (@druidthings)

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We spent the weekend making an assortment of plant and fungi-based based maki/rolls! (This is but a tiny fraction of the huge batch we made.) We used Japanese rice cooked with kombu, and seasoned with rice vinegar, raw sugar, and sea salt. Some of the things we stuffed into the rolls were mangoes, beets, cucumbers, carrots, homegrown mustard greens, pears, green apples, sweet peppers, and very finely minced homegrown ginger. I forgot to make gari (pickled ginger) in advance. The main ingredient and real star of this dish though are the lion's mane mushroom strips I pan-fried in garlic, ginger, and sweet soy. (These are our favourite mushrooms and this is my favourite way of cooking them. We only started eating them this year.) See that bed of mushroom meat in the middle of the platter with the ball of wasabi? That's the stuff. Ugggh. These rolls aren't 100% zero waste though, because some of the ingredients like the nori sheets and the wasabi powder came in plastic packaging. *sad sigh* We feel guilty about it, but we've really been craving this stuff for almost a year now. We do our best, but we aren't perfect. We fail, too. We'll just have to ecobrick the seaweed packaging, and reuse the little container the wasabi came in (to store seeds) so they don't wind up in a landfill or in the belly of an animal. Do you know that a large percentage of landfill waste actually winds up in the ocean? These may not be made with completely package-free ingredients, but the carbon and water footprints of these meals are still waaay smaller than those of meals made with meat or dairy. Eating plants and mushrooms means we eat lower on the food chain, and less resources (time, water, land, energy, food, etc.) are required to produce our food. Plus, we aren't supporting the corporations that empty the seas of marine life with our money. Do you know what's killing the ocean faster than plastic and chemical/agricultural waste? Human consumption. #sushi #rolls #sushiroll #sushirolls #plantbased #plantandfungibased #plantbasedfood #plantandfungibasedfood #eatloweronthefoodchain #loweryourcarbonfootprint #loweryourwaterfootprint #lowimpact #lowimpactliving #zerowasteliving

A post shared by Druid Things (@druidthings) on

For general zero-waste living and cooking, I constantly look at Druid Things on Instagram for inspiration. They post photos that come with detailed recipes and a lot of information on sustainability, carbon neutrality and being zero-waste. Also, they have cat pictures

 

The Healthy Pinay (@thehealthypinay)

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Another day, another glazed tofu dish because TOFU IS LIFE. Anyone that says tofu doesn’t taste like anything just doesn’t know how to serve it.    I don’t know about you guys, but I’d actually choose tofu over those vegan “meats” or “meat alternatives” just because I love it so darn much. I’m pretty sure I eat tofu at least once a day. So I guess that means we’re in a pretty committed relationship. What can I say, Tofu just… gets me, you feel? 😂    ⚡️ Glazed Tofu    Serves 5 people    🍃 Ingredients:    4 medium purple onion    1/4 cup muscovado    1/4 cup Soy sauce (I used @7grainspantry skinny seasoning)    1/4 cup vinegar (optional, can be subbed for 1/4 cup of my favorite spicy vinegar from @quezonsbestcoco)   2 Tbs Corn starch    1/4 cup Water    Black pepper to taste    Spring onion (garnish)    2 blocks of tofu (cut to cubes, fried baked, or air fried)    🍃 Instructions:    1. Saute the purple onion on a pan, until slightly translucent. Oil is optional, it work with or without some oil.    2. Add in the soy sauce, muscovado and vinegar.    3. Toss in the tofu and let is absorb some of the sauce.    4. Mix the water and cornstarch h then add to the pan.    5. Stir until you have a thick glaze.    6. Serve over some rice or carbohydrate of your choice as well as some veggies.    7. Enjoy!

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The Healthy Pinay also has great vegan recipes. She makes a ton of vegan and plant-based dishes that I can easily adapt to suit my omnivore palate. Her tofu recipes are seriously delicious and easy to make (especially since I’m more of a baker, not a chef).

I do most of my grocery shopping online these days, so I try my best to buy local produce to help our farmers. 

[READ: 9 online markets where you can get produce straight from the farmers]

 

Session Groceries (@sessiongroceries)

Session Groceries is my suki when it comes to buying fresh fruits and vegetables because their app is really convenient and they have a large selection of produce. They also partnered up with local farms and cooperatives, which is an added bonus.

Make sure you take note of the weight of the produce you buy, though. The first time I ordered, I was under the impression that it was on the pricier side, but I ended up with two large boxes of fruits and vegetables—half of which I gifted to my very happy tita.

 

Home and Kitchen Goods

At first, looking for eco-friendly products was a bit of a personal challenge. I was (and still am, to be honest) a huge fan of stores like Daiso, Japan Home Centre and Miniso for my household needs. These places are great for variety and bang for buck, but not so much for the environment. 

[READ: Swap out your disposable, everyday products with these eco-friendly alternatives]

Places like Loop Store and Lieu have more environmentally friendly alternatives to everyday essentials like toothbrushes, toothpastes, soaps and other products. 

 

 

They also have a selection of home and kitchen necessities including detergents, cutlery and a whole lot more. My favorite thing about them is that they’re reasonably priced and won’t burn a hole through my wallet. 

 

 

Education

Another really important gap that I need to bridge as a newbie is how much I know about sustainability. After doing some research and asking for help from my friends, they pointed me to organizations like Muni and Ethical Consumer Magazine to help me learn more about what sustainability actually means. 

Muni (@muni_ph)

 

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Today is the UN’s commemoration of the international day of democracy. With this, we hope to remind you of our privilege, right, and responsibility to vote — and to uphold the freedoms that come with a democratic society. To advocate for a fairer, more mindful, more livable world is to demand (and vote!) for leaders who value the well-being of people and the environment, and create policies and practices that align with the interest of the many, rather than the few. Participate in a discussion on a more empowered and informed youth in the coming elections in 2022 via /WeTheYouthVote live on Facebook tonight at 8PM with @macoydubs, @doracrybaby, @yanihatesu, @mirusssp of @youthadvocateph and Niniay Mohammad. Learn more about voter’s registration via @votepilipinas and @wetheyouthvote. 🇵🇭 #voteourfutureph #wetheyouth #40mstrong

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Muni is a local collective that advocates for a “fairer, more mindful and more liveable world.” They post a lot of helpful information on their Instagram that shed light on issues related to the environment and the country. I honestly didn’t think much about a lot of the issues they talked about, so I’m glad that I gave them a follow. 

 

Ethical Consumer Magazine (@ethical_consumer_magazine)

Ethical Consumer Magazine has a more global lens on similar issues. They advocate for responsible and informed shopping, like which brands to support and which brands to avoid. 

At the end of the day, being a conscious consumer is one of the main points of educating myself when it comes to sustainability. There are a lot of brands out there that I used to support that do a lot of harm to the environment, so I’m glad I know a little bit better now. 

 

The Eco Friendly Guide (@theecofriendlyguide)

Unless it’s something I’m gaga about, I don’t have the attention span to read long articles or essays. These days, easily digestible bits of information laid out aesthetically is my preferred manner of learning. The Eco Friendly Guide does just that. Their Instagram is filled with tastefully filtered photos and well crafted posters that illustrate sustainability tips and tricks. I’m such a sucker for cute art, so it was an easy follow. 

 

Header photo by Svitlana on Unsplash

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TAGS: eco-friendly living eco-friendly tips nolisoliph sustainability sustainable living