LET’S TALK ABOUT: SUSTAINABILITY

I was lucky enough to meet Farihah when she volunteered at the charity shop that I work at – you may have seen her brilliant social media takeovers on our Instagram stories if you follow us (which you absolutely should)! She’s so lovely and although she’s back in Southampton for work, I’ve managed to rope her into chatting all things sustainable with me!

Sustainability means being able to meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

As a Public Health Nutritionist with a really helpful Instagram page on sustainability (@easypeasysustainability), she’s got lots of great tips and information to share with you…

Hi Farihah, welcome to the blog! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Farihah, 23, I’m a first-generation British Bangladeshi gal. I’m a Public Health Nutritionist. I was born in London and grew up in Southampton, currently in Southampton.

I love your Instagram page (@easypeasysustainability) – is sustainability something that you’ve always been interested in? Why/why not? 

Thank you! I think it was my first degree that ignited the sustainability flame – I think I’ve always been a bit of a tree hugger in various ways – I love nature and animals and fairness (e.g. as a child if I saw someone littering I used to think it was unfair/rude of them to do that!). I did a Biology degree so when I learned about climate change in detail, I thought, we really need to do something about this… and so started my page in my third year whilst procrastinating.

What would be your top 5 tips for someone who wants to make small changes into living more sustainably? 

1) Buy less stuff

2) Eat less meat and animal products

3) Find out how and where your clothes are made

4) Read up about the links between racism and climate change

5) Use what you have (I promise you don’t need a separate cutlery set for travelling)

Those are great tips, thank you! You discuss so many aspects of sustainability – have you found any areas more difficult than others to be sustainable in?

Yeah food! As a massive foodie and as a nutritionist who is very much all about eating everything and having a healthy relationship with food, it is a hard truth to swallow to give up meat, dairy and fish cold turkey (don’t mind my pun). But realistically I understand the damage to the planet has been grave and it is so important to cut out animal products as much as we can, whilst still enjoying our food and eating what we love. It can be a difficult balance to strike especially if you have cultural traditions where meat is eaten or if you’ve grown up eating and loving meat.

Since we met in a charity shop and I know you’re also a big fan, what were your favourite places to go charity shopping in London? Do you have any favourite charity shops? 

My favourite place to go charity shopping is Dalston, they have a really good range. Clapham/Tooting, Lewisham and Hackney, and Walthamstow are treasure troves too. My favourite charity shops are Shop From Crisis and TRAID!

I’m a big fan of Shop From Crisis too – their shops are so cool! Besides charity shops, where else would you recommend for shopping sustainably for clothes? 

Secondhand selling apps like Vinted, Depop and eBay.

I’d love to know what your favourite second-hand purchases are!

Ooh so many things. Still shocked that I found an & Other Stories dress worth £95 for £7 in Lewisham Scope. Also, I think my woollen Lacoste fleece was an excellent find – British Heart Foundation in Southampton. 

You’ve got a big list of sustainable UK independent shops on your blog – what are your 5 favourite online shops, for anything from art prints, stationery, jewellery to candles and everything in between?

I see you cook lots of vegan dishes – what are the top 5 dishes that you would you recommend? Do you have any tips for anyone who would like to try vegan cooking? 

1) Bangers and mash with Linda McCartney sausages and all the trimmings.

2) Jollof rice with plantain.

3) Daal, fried aubergine and rice.

4) Pho with lots of mushrooms, pak choi, spring onions etc.

5) Pasta cooked in a tomato and mushroom sauce.

Tips: try to limit the meat alternatives and try to find recipes that are ‘accidentally vegan’ – which don’t revolve around meat in the first place, and you can use pulses, tofu, mushrooms and beans to cook. You’ll appreciate new recipes more.

As a nutritionist, what advice would you have for people to eat more healthily? 

Find fruit and veg that you like and make it a big part of your main meals – cook veg in fun ways, you don’t need to just boil or steam it – try lightly frying, sautéing, roasting, mashing!

You’re a big fan of the library which is the best way to read a wide range of books
without spending a penny; which have been your favourite books from the library so far?

Girl, Woman, Other (Bernardine Evaristo) and A Long Way Down (Nick Hornby). I looked at my library history in Southampton and until I got back into the library really recently, I hadn’t used it since 2014…

Girl, Woman, Other is one of my faves too – great choice! Now onto Instagram, which sustainability advocates would you recommend following on there? 

Loads – but go for @ajabarber @venetialamanna and loving @earthrise.studio at the moment too

And finally, as we’re in the third lockdown, how are you doing? 

I’m alright! Working from home is a bit of a snooze but enjoying keeping myself occupied with lots of reading and cooking new dishes.

A big thank you to Farihah for taking the time to answer all my questions and sharing so many great tips and recommendations on living more sustainably. Give her a follow on Instagram too!

As Anne-Marie Bonneau (@ZeroWasteChef) rightfully says: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 

xxx

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