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A Greener Life: Cape Town Edition

Social media and news headlines can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what is going on in the world. We're constantly bombarded with articles about how the planet is dying. And while climate change is certainly an important issue that drastically needs to be addressed to avoid further damage to the planet we call home, there are simple steps we can take to do our part in helping the environment around us and avoid feeling helpless in the face of this crisis. First of all, we need to limit our time on social media and unfollow accounts that offer little to no solutions. We're not saying ignorance is bliss, but being exposed to constant bad news that leaves you feeling anxious and hopeless is no help either. Try to read news articles and follow social media accounts that are informative and insightful, but that also mention positive changes that are being made, and offer manageable advice on what individuals can do to make a difference. Yes, only a handful of large companies across the globe actually cause the highest percentage of environmental damage and should be the first to make radical changes. But if we hold onto the mindset that our individual efforts make no difference, then we may as well give up now. A global change of mindset begins with individuals coming together for a common goal. And we need a place to start. One way to start is by making use of more sustainable substitutes for the things we use in everyday life. Since relaunching in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa, we thought we'd take a look at some local brands and business that offer eco-conscious alternatives. WHAT TO EAT Nourish'd Cafe & Juicery in Cape Town is a plant-based and zero waste café. From freshly pressed juices to deliciously wholesome meals, consider a more nutritious option for your lunch run. By composting and recycling where they can, and using fully recycle-able bottles for their juices, Nourish'd is doing what they can to reduce their impact on the environment. If you're not so keen on going out for lunch, shop fresh and locally-sourced groceries at NUDE FOODS or Shop Zero, both offering a plastic-free shopping experience. Anna Beulah Farm's deli and farm shop supplies organic, freshly harvested produce. With conscious farming methods in place, you can rest assured knowing your fruits and veggies are packed full of nutrients and free of pesticides, herbicides and preservatives. FOR YOUR FEET Now, we can't get to any of these places without a pair of comfortable shoes, and why not opt for something locally-made? Amble Shoes are made in Cape Town from upcycled genuine leather. Their shoes are made-to-order, therefore reducing waste, and the designs are timeless. It would be remiss of us not to talk about a good pair of vellies – Veldskoen Shoes put a fun twist on the traditional vellie, and their shoes are ethically made using locally-sourced materials. WHAT TO WEAR There are a number of really exciting sustainable clothing brands popping up in the Mother City, giving us an array of choices when it comes to choosing conscious garments. Of course, we have to talk about T-Shirts for Change and our shift towards more environmentally-friendly printing methods. Water-based ink printing means our t-shirts are not harmful to you, or to the planet. The classic tee has never looked and felt so good! Before we get too cocky, some other brands to look out for are Sappy (who make unique, one-of-a-kind pieces using material off-cuts), and Loskop (a slow fashion brand that encapsulates both comfort and style). Shop second-hand at Thrift Town in the northern suburbs, or Nevernew in the Obs area. Local charity shops are also great places to find those second-hand gems at next-to-nothing prices. And don't forget your undies! Hemp underwear brand Onnies launched last year, providing you with all your super comfy basic underwear needs. WHAT TO DO If you've run out of ideas for what to do over the weekend, join The Beach Co-Op's monthly beach clean up, or get your friends together and make sandwiches for Ladles of Love. Doing something good for the community is actually a great stress-reliever! Studies show that when we help others, our brains release all those good hormones and endorphins, leaving us in a happier mood. Greenpop also offers volunteer opportunities (for those not afraid to get their hands a little dirty). DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF Despite what you might think, making little changes in our day-to-day actually does go a long way. Simple stuff like remembering to bring your material shopping bags to the grocery store, or bringing your own reusable cup on your morning coffee run, are still great ways to start living a more sustainable life. Whatever small action we may take has the potential to inspire the next person, and the next person. Clicks' MyEarth range offers eco-friendly alternatives at an affordable price, and online store Faithful to Nature has almost every sustainable-living product you can think of!

The list is endless, and we encourage readers to explore their own areas in search of brands and businesses that offer products and services that do not negatively impact the environment. If the demand for sustainable products and services continue to grow, more and more businesses will start to adopt these practices, therefore increasing our options and making eco-friendly products more accessible. The point is, start small and start now! What's stopping you?