May Challenge: ‘The True Cost’

#1- ‘The True Cost’

Day 1, Month 1, Challenge 1

Documentary: The True Cost

 

Admittedly, when I declared I was going to do this challenge and try to find a take-away nugget to improve my life from the hours of mindlessly consumed Netflix content I was devouring, it seemed like a win win.

My life will get better and I’ll still get to watch Netflix, Win Win, right?

Fast forward two weeks (I could write a novel about what I think about the ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘GirlBoss’ that I’ve watched in those two weeks!) and I’ve opened Netflix and am browsing the documentary section.

Browsing, browsing, so many docos. I didn’t remember there being so many.

Let’s start small I say to myself, let’s not start with something too drastic, like changing your diet, throwing out all your stuff, or quitting your job to volunteer in Africa or to save the coral reef. Small.

Thing is, there is no small. Who spends millions of dollars and hours on a “small” issue! You idiot.

So I just picked one I hadn’t watched before, ‘The True Cost’.

‘The True Cost” is a documentary that focuses on the idea of fast fashion and how the fashion industry has evolved, how garments are made and the social and political impacts of the fast moving fashion industry. It touches on sweat shops, the environmental impacts of the fabrics and the production of the fabrics, to GMO’s and the people who are trying to change the money making machine.

Like director Andrew Morgan, I had never really thought twice about the clothes that I buy. With the exception of running clothes (chafe is no ones friend), my general clothing philosophy has always been the blacker and the cheaper the better. Hello teenage emo. It’s true, my “taste” in fashion hasn’t changed much since highschool. T-shirts, skinny jeans and Converse sneakers are pretty much the staples with a few random and not at all co-ordinated jewellery items scattered about.

I wear a Garmin running watch with bands that don’t match, my earrings often aren’t the same in each ear and there is a high probability that I will have yesterdays coffee on my shirt.

Don’t get me wrong, I could rock the latest ‘Fitspo’ outfit like the next Insta girl if I wanted to. My workout clothes, which I get substantial wear out of, comprise more than half of my wardrobe. But hey, unless I’m on a plane or have a marathon that week, I’m not wearing compression tights to the café or the shops. (I truly believe you get a free pass to wear compression the week before a marathon, every little bit helps folks!)

I’m the first to admit that I judge women who love fashion. Not the unique ‘I have my own style that I’m rockin’ women but the ones who buy the magazines and care about what the current style is. I judge the ones I’m sure are judging me for lack of fashion style.

So, what were my first thoughts as I watched ‘The True Cost’?

  1. Thank god I don’t buy a shit load of that fast fashion
  2. Where does the clothes I do buy come from?
  3. What are the options?
  4. What changes can I make in my own life to make this better for other people, for the environment and how will these changes effect my hip pocket and clothing needs (like no chafe!)?

This month’s goal: re-evaluate the things you buy, where you buy them from and what is the impact of purchasing that item.

This is not a ‘don’t buy anything’ for the month type of challenge.

It’s a ‘be a better global citizen’ challenge. Get educated and vote with your dollar, always.

Stay tuned, this might get interesting.Not only am I an avid consumer of sports wear but I’m also planning a wedding.

The plan:

  1. Wardrobe audit. What are you buying?
  2. Research and evaluation. What could you be buying? What are the options?
  3. Moving forward, what have I learned?

Think a little,

Mel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Vegan” progression, The RRP & Cowspiracy

I’d love to be one of those people who say “I went fully vegan when I was 12 because I saw what they were doing to the animals…. I even threw out all my clothes and my couch and my car!”.

But I’m not.

It’s funny, when you tell someone you are vegan you immediately provoke a response. Usually a defensive one, sometimes a piss taking one (but this wouldn’t be Australia without that) but no matter the nature of the response one thing is true.

All of a sudden, everything that you are, how smart you are, how hard you work, how fit you are, how good at your job you are, how funny you are, all gets thrown out with window because now you’re “the vegan”.

I hate to admit it but that’s one of the main reasons it’s taken me 16 years of being a vegetarian to take the next step towards veganism.

My journey has been a slow progression.

Initially there were two main reasons why I went vegetarian.

  1. I thought it would make me skinny
  2. Every day on the way to school our school bus would pass sheep trucks crammed with animals with their little faces squished out the sides.

I don’t say I’m vegan because of the animals but I guess is some ways I am.

As with most things as a teenager, my vegetarianism was a bit of an experiment. At the time my parents were classic meat and three veg people so I just took out the meat. My dinners would be the potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower and the peas/corn/carrot combination.

Every once in a while I would “go back” and have a steak for dinner or try some fish. My family still give me shit about that but again, this is Australia.

At uni, my move away from animal products continued.

Don’t tell anyone, but I desperately wanted to be that cool hippie chick in fisherman’s pants who was Buddhist and meditated.

I chose the long skirts instead and made the switch to soy milk.

It would take another 12 or so years before going vegan would re-enter my life.

A keen runner, last year I started listening to audio books while I ran. Turns out the first few I listened to were ‘Born to Run’, ‘Finding Ultra’ and ‘Eat and Run’.

Replace “cool hippie chick in fisherman’s pants” with “vegan ultra endurance runner”.

I got onto the Rich Roll Podcast. I devoured it (oh my poor phone bill!). I was literally listening to multiple episodes per day. While running (1 hr +), while driving (2.5 hours) and every other time I was in the car, Rich Roll was coming through my speakers.

And the problem with the Rich Roll Podcast, every week there is another person to obsess over and his bloody show notes mean I’m using more data listening to a shit load more podcasts that I’d never heard of.

Enter Netflix.

I have a problem with Netflix also.

The same problem that I have with Facebook knowing what I searched on my phone and putting ads in my feed!

Once you watch one thing, hello Cowspiracy, they “recommend” another five!

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (1 & 2), Forks over Knives, Food Matters, Food Choices, Supersize Me, Food Inc.

And there’s still more!

All of a sudden I’m in a vegan centric wind tunnel and there’s no way out. Podcast, Netflix, Podcast, Netflix. It’s amazing I got anything else done.

So in September I decided to do a vegan challenge, just one month vegan, and I haven’t really looked back.

Like my vegetarianism, I went up and down. I’d have the occasional dairy ice cream, feel sick and swear never to do it again.

On January 1 2017, I decided to be vegan. I don’t call it that. In fact I don’t really call it anything. People just think I’m a bit of a health nut and if it comes up I just say that I don’t eat animal stuff for health reasons and leave it at that.

I figure I’m better off leading by example than shoving it down someone’s throat.

I honestly thought it would be harder to make the switch. I was one of those people who said “I could never give up cheese”. Well I did and it wasn’t that bad.

Eating out is the hardest part. I’m not super picky. I usually just order off the menu and ask to remove the animal part. Could it have a seasoning or salt substitute that’s derived from an animal, yeah, am I fussed about that, not really.

Maybe one day I will be, but for now I’m just taking it one step at a time, one podcast at a time, one documentary at a time.

 

The beginning… one doco at a time

How often do you read that technology is ruining humanity?

Seriously, from kids not being social to technology making us fat the list of ailments you can blame technology on if you want to is endless.

Just type in “technology makes us… “ into Google and see what comes up.

If you’d asked me yesterday about my relationship with technology I probably would have said “oh I’m not that bad” as another notification from Telstra comes through informing me of another “1GB of data for $10 for your enjoyment”.

Not that bad because I don’t consider myself a Facebook oversharer or an obnoxious tweeter or anything like that. I don’t use most of the trendy Apps like Tinder or Snapchat and I only really watch two TV shows per week.

Do I play with my phone instead of having conversations with people? Yep.

Do I pull out my phone in queues when the wait is only a minute? Yep.

Do I insta-stalk celebrities? Yep.

But with all that being said, my little pocket super computer has also had some pretty profound and life changing impacts on me.

Enter Strava, the multi sport app for cyclists, runners and swimmers keen to log every second of every activity and hopefully take away a crown for their favourite segment. Can you be “addicted”? Well the memes didn’t create themselves.

I’ve also developed a healthy love of the Podcast. I don’t see it as a negative to listen to interviews with fascinating people and learning from them during my daily commute.

And then there is Netflix.

Like I said, I don’t watch a lot of TV but I am guilty of the occasional binge watch ie watching more than five episodes of a show in a single sitting and like any other binge I tend to feel immense guilt and sadness and general patheticness afterwards.

But if I’m being truthful and not at all trendy, my real Netflix Achilles heel is the documentaries.

For the love of all things #vegan #savetheplanet #minimalism #I’mgoingtoruinyourconsumerlife

As if I don’t feel enough guilt in my life!

Since October’s perfect storm of discovering the Rich Roll Podcast and Netflix documentaries at the same time, I have gone vegan, dabbled in meditation, sold heaps of unwanted items on Ebay and still managed to maintain a full time job, train for a run a 102km ultramarathon and have a relatively healthy home life (or have I?).

I must admit , I watch a documentary, say Minimalism and I’ll ruminate about it for a couple of hours, do a quick clean out of my closet or tidy up (without throwing anything out) and “feel better” about my insane consumerist lifestyle.

So here’s my pledge, it’s currently April 2017 and for the rest of 2017, each month I’m going to watch a new documentary and actually put it into practice. I’ll document it here for all your voyeuristic pleasure.