Continuing our blog series featuring bloggers from across the world, striving to make an impact, we meet up with Lyall and Joy behind Sustainable Jungle.
Sustainable Jungle showcases all things sustainable and ethical, from travel and lifestyle to beauty and fashion. They are aiming to create a place to encourage and galvanize positive change in the world. Read on as they share their personal story and some essential tips that can get you started on a Sustainable journey. And if you’re planning a trip to Australia or South Africa soon, they tell you exactly where you should be headed to make it a memorable one.
Journey & interest in Sustainability
We were living in London in 2017 and both working in a corporate environment – you know – the typical grind of working too many hours, sleep too few, little to no connection with wild places and only a vague sense of responsibility when it came to our individual impact and sustainability. Before we got to London we had been on a long honeymoon through Africa which really planted the seed and ultimately got us thinking about what really mattered to us.
In 2017 we realized that making the rich richer can’t possibly be our only contribution to the world so we started blogging about sustainability and sustainable living. To be clear, we have no experience in sustainability – learning about it has been part of our journey! After a few months of doing, learning and writing, we felt good and wanted to do more so we decided to take 6-months off to go on a “sustainable travel” adventure to find and tell the stories of the most incredible people that are working to change the planet for the better in some way.
Sustainable Jungle is all about…..
We both suffer from feeling despondent and a little depressed about where the world is going – the atrocious things that are happening to people, animals and the broader environment. Sometimes it feels like the world is going to end! So we thought we could all do with a little positivity and energy when it comes to matters of sustainability and conservation – two areas that are typically seen as a little boring perhaps. We’re striving to make people excited about the awesome, exciting innovations that ARE out there making the world a better place and most importantly, we hope to inspire even more change through the personal stories of rad, good people.
At the time of writing, we’re 4.5 months into our 6-month adventure. We’ve covered Europe, North America, Central America, a little bit of South America and now we’re in Africa. The experience so far has been nothing short of remarkable. We have met the most passionate, inspiring, good and just cool people and have so much more faith that humanity can pull through and make positive change. We’ve also really enjoyed flexing our creative muscles and finding fun ways to ask questions and tell good stories – quite a learning curve!
Oh, well, you really just can’t beat Costa Rica can you? They are powered by 100% renewable energy, they absolutely prioritize their wild places, with pretty impressive conservation programs and amazing people like Monica Araya are working hard to properly rid the country of fossil fuels. We also loved that it’s a pretty safe, friendly and super fun place to visit!
3 tips to get one started on a Sustainable Lifestyle
Yea! Firstly, as we learned from one of our interviewees, “Don’t let perfect get in the way of better”. Start small, build up and don’t let guilt stop you from improving! Here are 3 of the absolute easiest things you can start going straight away:
Everyone says this but it really is so easy and impactful: Get a reusable stainless steel drink bottle, coffee/tea flask and cutlery set – these simple items have saved us from wasting single-use plastic so many times on our travels which is super satisfying but also, it’s so much nicer (and tastier, I think) to drink hot coffee from a flask than a plastic cup. People are also curious which is a great opportunity to (gently) raise awareness of the plastic crisis.
Shop local and read labels! For fresh food, google what grows locally in your region and buy these items from your local farmer’s market. This helps support local farmers and reduces the carbon impact of shipping and trucking food around the world. For non-fresh food, becoming aware of what’s included in your product will help you better understand the impact on the planet and your health – is it laden with chemicals, palm oil and/or sugar? Do you really need these things in your food? Changing the way we shop makes us a whole lot more aware and connected to our food and it tastes SO much better!
Get inspiration from others! There are so many people to learn from out there and it’s so easy to find them on social media, blogs and YouTube. We find many everyday people inspirational and innovative in the way they solve problems and share their learnings. Awareness is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself and others around you.
Expand sustainability beyond travel and food….
To energy. There are inspirational startups all over the world like Bulb Energy in the UK who are making renewable energy cost-efficient and available to everyday people – it has really become a no-brainer!
And investments. The other thing we’re thinking about is investing – for those lucky enough to have money invested in a pension fund and are able to control that money to some extent, you can typically move the money over to ethical investments which will help reduce support for old polluting industries.
A destination that’s influenced like no other
We grew up in South Africa, the most beautiful country in the world with so much to offer! It is in our blood and made us who we are. It embedded in us a love for the wild, wildlife and the ocean. We couldn’t recommend a visit to SA more highly – it has everything: mountain climbing, oceans, and safari. It is also a great spot from which to explore the rest of Africa. We often feel very “real” when on African soil – to then think of everything else in the world (big cities, consumption, roads, etc.) feels like a bizarre dream…
A place back home you feel is a must see for people to explore and experience
We are lucky in that we have two homes so here is one from each:
South Africa: I should probably tell you about some untouched, rare place to visit but for us, the Kruger National Park is still the place we yearn for (Been there? Rate and share your experience here). You can self-drive in the park and see all the wild animals of Southern Africa (if you’re lucky). We love visiting wild places like this where you never quite know what you’re going to see and what crazy adventure awaits. We also love sitting in the camps at night listening to the sounds of Africa and watching the rivers / waterholes for action. Too much fun!
Australia (where we live now): Exmouth is a small town north of Perth in Western Australia from which you can access the Ningaloo Reef. This is one of our absolute favorite, most relaxed trips ever. You can relax on the white sand and whenever you feel so inclined, you stroll into the ocean and the reef is right there and ready to explore. It is still so untouched and pristine and there are so many amazing fish and sea creatures!
Three handy recommendation for travellers
In addition to not leaving trash behind and bringing along your own bottle, mug and cutlery, we’d also recommend:
Offsetting your carbon emissions: Often seen as a band-aid to cover up bad behaviour (and in many ways fairly so), the money does actually go towards saving important wild places so in our view, if it’s something we’re going to do anyway (like take a flight), offsetting our emissions is at least contributing something positive. We use myclimate.
Support wild places: Jungles, forests, national parks around the world typically struggle for funding for conservation programs and upkeep. It is critical that we keep these places pristine for the sake of the species that live there and because these places create oxygen…which we breath and need to survive and thrive on this planet! So visiting them provides tourist $ which are usually super helpful in contributing to the important work they do… just remember to also treat these places with respect by visiting quietly, respecting animals and taking your trash away with you!
Visit rural areas: Similar to the above, rural tourism provides additional support to rural communities often struggling to put food on the table. Aside from reducing the obvious human suffering, you could also help alleviate flow on effects like deforestation, animal poaching, wildlife and drug trafficking – all of which contribute in various ways to the degradation of the earth.
Know of some other place you’d want to add to Lyall and Joy’s
list of must-sees in Australia and South Africa? Let others know.