The Sustainable Dad – Part 1

The whole premise of the Functional Dad is to learn, whether this is through developing practical skills or enhancing my understanding of issues, philosophies or concepts. This extends into wealth, health, social and environmental matters. My own personal growth is an obvious benefit, but the intention is to normalise this behaviour to my little one so he grows to enjoy and value the learning process. And hopefully, promote a sense of adventure, exploration and innovation.
One of the first things I noticed as a new parent was the amount of waste and single-use items we were accumulating. So based on this, I challenged myself to learn more about sustainable practices and to explore realistic adjustments within the family’s daily routines. With a view to either Make it, Fix it, Re-use it or Re-cycle it.
This journey is uncovering some concerning statistics regarding our impact on the environment and the long-term effects of our unsustainable behaviours which will ultimately affect my little one’s generation.
For example:
  •  Billions of plastic bags are made each year. Of these bags, one hundred billion are thrown away according to Worldwatch Institute, with less than one percent finding their way into a recycle bin. The end result of this is around one billion birds and mammals dying each year by the ingestion of plastic. This is discussed further in the attached trailers for the Plastic Ocean and The War on Waste. 
  • 500 million straws are used and discarded each day in the United States alone. That’s 175 billion a year filtering into landfills (environment) and littering our waterways and oceans.
  • It is estimated that one takeaway cup creates 10 kilos of waste,  and in the UK alone they discard 7 million takeaway cups a day.
A small adjustment in my daily practices was the purchase of my Keep Cup. I acknowledge that these discoveries won’t be a surprise to some, but I genuinely classed myself as being environmentally conscious, yet I didn’t realise how my substantial cofee habit (which is manifesting due to sleep deprivation) was contributing to the throw-away society.




 The flip side of this however, is that there are incredible movements being initiated to promote sustainability and ethical practices. These are being spearheaded by some impressive groups of people and communities who are trying to shape and influence people’s attitudes to become more environmentally conscious.
I’ve attached a clip featuring a town in Japan who are adhering to a zero waste policy, and Molly Steers’ ‘Straw No More’ campaign. A great example of a small adjustments making a huge impact.
Ultimately, this journey has revealed a whole sustainable community of people who are making their own clothes, minimising their consumption, growing their own food and exploring sustainable products to reduce plastic and waste.  This certainly inspires and encourages others to consider their own small sustainable adjustments. If you have made small adjustments in your daily practices in order to be more sustainable, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
If you have been following me on Instagram @the_functional_dad, you’ll be aware that I’ve been learning how to make homemade soap.  I intend to continue expanding my Dad Skill tool box by exploring the  homemade product movement and consider practical adjustments in the hope of reducing the families rate of consumption.
In the meantime…..
“No straw please” 
Lastly, I’m pretty excited to be hosting my first Functional Dad podcast with local entrepreneur Dylan Stansfield, Director of First Class Football Training
@firstclassfootballtraining. Stay tuned to hear about his exposure to high performance sport and how he mentors his players based on the lessons he learned from this period.


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