Sustainability

Sustainability. A word that is associated with a multitude of thoughts and emotions nowadays. At the same time a topic that should concern us – each one of us.
Sustainability, at least in my experience, is often considered a “women’s thing”, but it is an issue that should concern men equally. Therefore, I will write more about sustainability and my personal approach in the future. I hope I can inspire you to try new things and make a small contribution to our future as well.

The situation

Our planet has only a limited amount of natural resources such as water, energy and many other resources. These are the foundation of all our lives, but from today’s perspective, we consume these resources much faster than ever before. The result? Our climate is changing, animal and plant species are dying, forest land is shrinking and fertile land is being destroyed, our oceans are polluted and much more.

We must act. We need to use our resources more consciously so that we and future generations can continue to live on our planet. Our lifestyle needs to become more sustainable and we need to increase our awareness.

Measures

There are many things that can be done to make a small contribution to our environment. I am by no means an expert and constantly discover new aspects that I try to take into account in my life. But I can already see that people are becoming aware of our situation. A lot of innovative ideas and products that offer sustainable alternatives in various areas are popping up. So it seems that more and more people are realizing: We have to change something.

I believe that one of many things about sustainability is not necessarily the will to do something, but rather the lack of knowledge about where to do it. I always like to think of the video “Life in Packaging Madness” by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (available with subtitles). Although the video is designed as a sartiere, it describes one of the problems that many have with sustainability. We think we are doing something good, although we do not improve the overall situation.

This is quite a difficult topic these days, as it is very difficult to get valid information in many areas. Because of that, it is often difficult to judge what the “right” measures actually are.

For me, sustainability is a project where you are constantly improving and never stop learning. Therefore, I want to briefly explain my current approaches.

Nutrition

In my opinion, nutrition is not an easy topic, especially for athletes. You may be familiar with the classic “old-school diet” consisting of chicken breast, rice and broccoli. Although exaggerated, this certainly describes the direction in which many athletes go with their diet. Meat, lots of it and not without reason. As an active athlete, it is no easy task to meet the high protein requirements without consuming meat.

I currently consume 160g protein per day to me (it used to be even up to 190g). Of course, I could also try to cover this need with legumes, quinoa or other products such as these. The disadvantage here is that these products include proteins as well as a lot of carbohydrates. Of course that’s not bad per se. However, trying to consume 160g of protein a day like this would overshoot my daily intake because of the carbohydrates it contains.

Many now certainly think of soy granules, seitan or tofu, as these products are very high in protein. My opinion on these products, however, would go beyond the scope of the current blog post, which is why I will cover it separately.

However, (mass) livestock production emits more greenhouse gases worldwide than all traffic. Some experts say that the fastest way to control CO2 emissions is to have a diet without animal products.
Here are some sources backing this:
Climate change on your plate from the WWF (2012)
Emissions impossible from the Institute for Agriculture & Trace Policy

My diet currently consists to a large amount of animal products, especially meat, several times a day. For a long time now I have increasingly been using higher-quality organic meat, which is only a marginal improvement in terms of CO2 emissions though.

Therefore, I am currently testing approaches on how to reduce the amount of meat in my diet, which I would like to share with you in future blog posts.

Packaging and garbage

Wherever you look while shopping, almost everything is packed in plastic. I have been questioning the necessity of extensive wrapping for a long time, but it is a fact is that endless packaging material ends up in the garbage.
While this can often be recycled (which is already a good approach), I still try to avoid unnecessary packaging material wherever possible.

If possible, I do my vegetable shopping on a local market on the weekend. Apart from the fact that it’s unpacked and regional fruits and vegetables, I also buy only the quantities I actually need. That way, I avoid buying too much, which later spoils and has to be disposed of.

With meat, I follow a similar approach and buy it from a butcher nearby. To avoid packaging material, I take my own boxes with me. On the one hand I buy regional meat and on the other hand I save unnecessary packaging material that way!

Household

In the household, I mainly pursue a conscious use of resources. For example, I buy a few pieces of furniture and try to use them as long as possible. Apart from that, I try to use what I have as good as possible instead of making new investments.

In addition, I only use recycled toilet paper and don’t buy kitchen paper anymore. I pay close attention to my water and energy consumption. As a project for the near future, I want to switch to an alternative electricity provider and rely 100% on renewable energy.

I rely on refillable organic detergents to avoid having to buy new packaging again. I also try to avoid products that contain microplastic as much as possible. I have not been buying plastic bottles for a very long time.

Sports

I enjoy spending a lot of time in nature and also doing many outdoor sports. Therefore sustainability has a special significance for me as an athlete. For example, I enjoy cycling while admiring the various facets of nature and the landscape that passes by, and I want to be able to do so in the future.

Therefore, there are some aspects of sustainability in the area of sport that I try to take into account. My current approach is to get by with what I already have. For example, I often see numerous new sports collections of fitness clothing that are attractive from an aesthetic and price point of view. (Apart from that, who does not like buying new sportswear 😉).

However, I try to focus on quality rather than quantity and invest in a few pieces that are as sustainable as possible. It is also important to me that the manufacturing company behind it is pursuing a sustainable line.

Research on this has, at least for me, proved to be very frustrating. Although many companies advertise with sustainability, if you dig deeper, there is often very little or no evidence for their claims (so-called greenwashing).

OEKO-TEX has created some certifications in this area, which I see as a minimum requirement.
Bluedesign is committed to producing with the least possible impact on humans and the environment.

It is also important to me that the manufacturing company ideally relies exclusively on renewable energy for production and guarantees fair working conditions across the entire supply chain.

In this area, there is still much to do in my eyes. I have ordered the cycling gear I really need from Vaude, the most sustainable producer of sportswear I could find yet.

I often hear, “Just me changing something, will not change our situation.” But what if everyone thinks that way? It is up to each and every one of us to change about our situation. That does not mean that each of us has to radically change his life. Even an awareness of the own resource consumption or a few sustainable gestures of each individual make a difference.

Are you also trying to be sustainable? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you are trying to do!
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One thought on “Sustainability

  1. I think a lot about this too. Plastics are a big part of the fitness industry, from equipment to accessories, shoes and gear… I’m happy to read how you are mindful of it and encouraging us to do the same! I also enjoy farmers markets and am conservative with my clothing purchases. I wear running shoes probably longer than is recommended… Thanks again for writing, and please keep posting about sustainable brands we can trust!

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