Van and environment
(Image credit: NOAA)
Every single one of us has heard about global warming, pollution in the oceans, all of our waste ending up in landfills and basically all of the environment being destroyed.
We believe that a sustainable and an eco-friendly lifestyle is something deeply connected to vanlife. We have never met a single vanlifer that hasn’t cared about the environment. Vanlife is a lifestyle that has a very low footprint impact. It is all about minimalism, about being more with less, about connecting with nature in a deeper level and mingling with it, just as it is about consuming less and living more.
We all know that pollution and global warming are something real and none of us like the sound of it. We’ve always been told that things are getting out of control, how bad everything is and how we have to act now. Well, now was a many years ago and if we keep on waiting for governments to act, simply by complaining and signing pro-environmental petitions we are hypocrites.
Things are not going to change if we don’t change ourselves. So whether you are a vanlifer or not, it is time to take action and change our habits if we want to save the world.
‘When I was young, I wanted to change the world. I found out that it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I realised that I couldn’t change my country, I then focused on my town. I wasn’t able to change my town and as an adult already, I tried to change my family. Now that I’m old, I realise that the only thing that I can change is myself and suddenly I see that if a long time ago I had changed myself, I could have had an impact on my family. My family could have had an impact on our town. Its impact could have changed our country and therefore, could have changed the world.’ (Unknown monk, 1100 AC)
Where’s the problem? We believe that we are so little informed, and living in the era of the information that is insane. Most of us live under the wrong conception that in order to live an environmentally low impact life, we need to grow our armpit hair (not that there’s anything wrong about that), that we have to almost live like beggars, because we mustn’t consume anything, that we don’t have to shower because soaps are bad for us and the environment, etc, etc.
Well, all of what we’ve said might sound stupid and crazy but not many can deny that it isn’t a reality and something that pro-environmental and vanlife people need to face and prove wrong. We don’t need to look like old-time hippies or gypsies to be vanlifers, we don’t need to struggle in order to pollute as little as possible.
We want 2018 to be the year of change and we’d like you to follow our journey to a more sustainable and low impact lifestyle. We are nothing but noobs, but hey! There’s always a first time, right?
We are starting a section on our blog called ECOVAN, in which we want to share with you, all of what we learn and do to live sustainably in our van.
Changing your habits isn’t something that you can do from one week to another, so we’ll be taking small step changes and most likely make mistakes. Here’s where we ask for your help. If anything of what we do is wrong or could be done better, please let us know in the comments. Of course, every person’s different and has different needs, we don’t believe there is a single correct solution for everyone.
This will be a journey of experimentation and learning what works for us. And hopefully, we’ll inspire someone else to find out what works for them.
Some may believe that living in a van, constantly traveling and going from one place to another, makes living sustainably almost impossible, we don’t. It’s all about organising yourself and really wanting to do it.
We believe it doesn’t require a great effort to produce less trash. We recently learned about the zero waste movement and we are taking steps towards it. We will talk more about zero waste movement on future entries.
Over 8 million tons of plastic enter into the ocean every year, imagine how much trash goes to landfills! We recommend you to watch the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ by Craig Leeson. The image will take you to the trailer of the documentary.
So we are starting with small changes to use reusable or compostable alternatives in our daily life.
Did you know that over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills and oceans each year, and they will most likely never biodegrade? Insane.
We switched our regular plastic toothbrush to a compostable bamboo one.
When going shopping we now bring our cotton bags or jars and try to go to the farmers market as well as buying in bulk. It’s something as simple as saying no when offered a bag.
Did you know that plastic bags take 1000 years to break down and release toxic chemicals when they decompose? Their incineration also produces toxic fumes. Then again, insane that we keep on using them on a regular basis.
There are now millions of tons of plastic in the environment, including water bottles, so if you stop using them or reduce their use, fewer will wind up in places they should not be, like in rivers, lakes, and oceans. We try to say no to disposable products as well.
Investing in reusable products if you don’t have them, is not as expensive as it may seem at first. Get reusable straws one month, reusable cutlery to take away the other, a reusable take away coffee mug the next. Just don’t go crazy and do all the shopping in the first month or your bank account will scare you away from changing. It happened to us on our first try.
Reducing our waste and living sustainably and healthy is NOT more expensive as popular believe, all the opposite, you will actually end up saving a lot of your income because each time that you buy something packaged, you are paying at least a 15% of advertisement of the brand and the package itself, and we all know that with time, buying one use only products end up being more expensive than a reusable one.
When it comes to our personal hygiene, we’ve swapped the products that we’ve always used to vegan, toxic and cruelty-free products, preferably packaged free as well. Same goes for cleaning products, which we now do ourselves. This swap is not only great for our health but also because we don’t pollute the water that we use in the van with toxic chemicals. In the second ECOVAN entry, we will talk about eco-friendly alternatives to our daily hygiene products.
Due to the lack of space, recycling in the van can be a challenge so we believe that the best way of producing less waste, is to prevent things that generate trash to enter in our van on the first place.
We don’t have a planet B and honestly, we don’t want it. It’s our obligation to take good care of this one and if you believe you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in your room. There’s never a better moment to start than right now.
We will keep on experimenting more and tell you everything about it. We hope that you are as excited about this change as we are. Stay tuned to more ECOVAN posts on the blog to keep on learning new things or keep track of what we do and how we do it.
DETACHABLE INDOOR SHOWER