Francesca is the brains and beauty behind the blog Ethical Unicorn. Chances are that if you are already engaged in some form of sustainable or ethical living habits, you have heard of this blog or follow Ethical Unicorn on Instagram. If not, then you should. I reached out to Francesca recently to if she would be happy to answer some questions I had about her sustainable and ethically driven lifestyle. Here’s what she had to say…
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What made you start being concerned about the ethical production of products?
Honestly I can’t pinpoint a specific moment. I was accidentally quite ethical in my consumption because I was at dance school and I had no money, so I was only ever buying thrifted clothes. A large part of my master’s degree was looking at social justice issues on a large scale, and I think over time I just started to realise a lot of the issues I studied were also manifested in huge corporations mass producing items. Issues like race, gender, class and the environment, all these things intersect when we start thinking about production and consumption and how we participate in that has real world effects. So, it was a realisation that I came to over time I think.
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How have you changed your lifestyle to suit your ethical values?
My biggest piece of advice is always to go small and sustained when it comes to making changes, that worked really well for me. I basically just started replacing things as I ran out of them with more sustainable alternatives: packaging free shampoo, bamboo toothbrushes, menstrual cups.. that kind of thing! Because I was already shopping mainly secondhand I just stopped going into high street stores altogether to avoid any other temptation. I fell out of the habit really quickly actually, so if I ever go in those shops now I get really overwhelmed! I was never a huge online shopper but if that’s something you do struggle with, I would say get some blocking software on your computer. Avoid temptation until it doesn’t have a hold on you any more.
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Do you recommend any documentaries/blogs/resources that help to further explain the importance of the ethical production of goods?
I’m a little bit rubbish with documentaries because I’m on the go quite a lot (although I did love the Minimalists documentary, everyone should watch it!) In general I do a lot more reading when I’m on the train around London. Ecocult is a great blog because they post regular roundups with all sorts of ethical news, whereas I like Leotie Lovely or StyleWise Blog for more in-depth, essay style content. More generally I also admire reporting from ProPublica, This American Life, and The Guardian long reads.
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What have you found to be most challenging about living more sustainably?
My answer is always plastic. It’s just everywhere. Like everyone else I do my utmost to avoid it, but it’s very frustrating to see it pop up in unnecessary places. I am living for the day that we have a way to phase it out altogether, but we probably need some scientific breakthroughs first to see that happen!
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What is one thing that you have learnt that makes it easier to live more sustainably?
I think, firstly, that we’re all just trying our best. It’s really easy to feel incredibly guilty if I make the smallest mistake, but then I remind myself that no one is perfect and all I can do is keep trying and improving the journey. It’s also good to realise that, while it’s important that we all take responsibility for living in a more conscious way, the entire future of the world doesn’t just rest on me alone. I’m a big believer in change being achieved through the combination of personal choice, collective action and policy change; so as much as my actions do have an impact, being part of a community and participating in democracy also helps spread that load among us all, and it’s something that requires us to collaborate and work together.
Here are some of my favorite posts by Francesca:
I hope you guys find Francesca’s blog as interesting and informative as I do and if you haven’t already, download the bloglovin‘ app and follow Ethical Unicorn there (along with The Chic Identity) to keep up to date with the latest posts!