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From the top down

As Starbucks pledge to become more sustainable, pushing vegan milk in the process, Harriet Ella investigates if this is enough

We do everything we’ve been told to do. We carry a reusable coffee cup wherever we go; we never buy plastic water bottles and have budgeted for spending that little bit extra on buying pasta and rice from a refill shop. We choose non-dairy milk in our hot drinks and eat a plant-based diet; we buy from local market stalls and smile graciously as the man selling us our carrots makes the same comment about our reusable mesh bags that he made last Saturday, and the Saturday before. We store our leftover onion halves to use in meals later in the week and dutifully sort through the recycling, taking the oat milk cartons to a reuse point we looked up online and we try to only buy clothes from charity shops or from ethical brands. In short, we do our best to live environmentally conscious lives. Even if we only do half of the above, we’re still playing our part and making a difference, however small that difference may feel. But, in amongst all this, there is a niggling question on our minds: is it enough? Is my refusal of a plastic straw in my gin and tonic really going to prevent climate breakdown and save the planet?

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About Be Kind

Hello, A lot of the good news we read about in the press is from towns, cities or countries that aren’t our own, and whilst it’s fantastic to hear of successful stories or schemes in a place far from yours, it’s always really exciting to learn of great things happening on your home turf. I moved back to my home town in Essex a few years ago, after stints overseas and in London. With most of my adolescence spent here, the streets are lined with memories, but I felt a disconnect as I grew up and wanted to seek out likeminded people and pastures new. I returned with a sense of trepidation and, probably, a slightly irritating snobbery. But things have changed and I was wrong. Take Best Days Vintage, for example (p74). Based in the heart of town, they caught my eye a while back when I saw a sign outside offering free help and advice for anyone who didn’t know how to register to vote. The vintage store is not only promoting sustainable shopping, but they have created a safe space for young people to come and talk about their problems – they’re focused on building a community and spreading positivity. My hairdressers, a converted double decker bus (@originalbutton), recently posted on Instagram about their decision to make the salon an #antigossipsalon. Gone are the celebrity gossip mags and in their place is a book swap corner. They want to use their position to spread kindness and create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. I think it’s a fantastic idea. You might think there is nothing going on in your locality, but kind people are making things happen everywhere. We all need to open our eyes and ears to the great things going on nearby and lend our support – and who knows, maybe you could be the next person to start a positive movement in motion. Have a great month, Phillipa Editor