Jaleesa Simpson from the Live for Less team shares what she learnt at PepTalks Brisbane, a sustainability event hosted by Peppermint Magazine with two powerhouse speakers.

Last month my colleague Rose Misra and I attended PepTalks Brisbane. The event was run by sustainability publication Peppermint Magazine and aimed to ‘inspire, inform and uplift’ – and it did.

We were treated to talks from two sustainability world changers: Clare Press, presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast and Australian VOGUE’s Sustainability Editor-at-Large, and Tim Silverwood, founder of Take 3 for the Sea.

From a night that covered everything from the environmental impact of plastic pollution in our oceans to the fast fashion movement, here are our top three takeaways from the event.

1. Every bit counts

You may not think picking up three pieces of rubbish at the beach would make much difference to the current state of our seas, especially when you look at statistics highlighting how plastics will outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050.1 But there is hope. Take 3 for the Sea, an Australian not-for-profit, is committed to reducing plastic pollution in our oceans by encouraging everyone to take 3 pieces of rubbish from the beach when visiting.

A seemingly simple idea has had a massive impact, helped by a large social following. During a three-month pilot, their community collected over 10,000 pieces of rubbish, and their hashtag #take3forthesea has been used in over 129 countries.

Tim and his brilliant initiative has shown us that a simple idea is great, but it needs a community to make things really work.

2. Conscious consumerism empowers you

This was a hot topic during the event. Tim went as far as to say “conscious consumerism is here to stay”. But what does it look like?

It means supporting companies that realise they have a global responsibility to act responsibly. It means asking ‘who made my clothes’ and avoiding single-use plastics. Tim made a great point when he said the solution isn’t recycling; the solution is avoiding single-use plastics in the first place.

Clare opened her talk with “so much of the sustainable fashion conversation can be quite gloomy”.  And it can be. But by embracing conscious consumerism we can be empowered knowing our choices are making a difference.

3. The circular economy is a thing

Another recurring theme was how our current systems aren’t designed for sustainability, they’re designed for excessive and frequent consumption. The circular economy can be part of the solution.

Products need to be designed to be reused, and then we as consumers should actively find ways to contribute to the circular economy. Clare summed up our current consumption addiction with “we take, we make, and we discard”.

So, how do we find these opportunities to curb our dependency of discarding?

  • If you’re doing some house renovations in the cooler weather you could rent your tools from a place like Brisbane Tool Library, instead of buying them new, and make your house a home with upcycled furniture.
  • You could do your next shopping spree at the pop up second-hand fashion festival Revive coming up in August and find some unique outfits you couldn’t find in stores.

Want to know more about the circular economy and how you can contribute to it? Visit Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Dream real big

Our team left the night feeling empowered that one person can make a difference, and a community that bands together can make lasting change. In the words of the night’s MC, Leah Musch aka The Unmaterial Girl: “Don’t be afraid to dream real big.”

More about the speakers:


References

1 http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf