Walking the walk
If you’ve read the introductory story on my Homepage or watched any of my videos, you’ll know by now that I don’t just work with sustainability-focused businesses, but that I’m also passionate about running one myself and doing whatever I can to make our beautiful planet a better place.
In short, I do my best to walk the walk. And as we all know, living a sustainable lifestyle is a journey, so I’m always looking for the next action, small or large, that I can take to reduce my impact.
Please have a browse of this page to learn about some of the planet-positive activities I get up to in my free time, the causes I support, and various other initiatives I’m involved in.
If you’re a business that chooses sustainable suppliers, I hope this page might help to answer any questions which form part of your pre-qualification process.
Causes I SUPPORT
One Tree Planted
I’m delighted to have been a Reforestation Partner of One Tree Planted since January 2019.
One Tree Planted is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation focused on global reforestation. They work with amazing reforestation organisations around the world that need financial support to help them get more trees in the ground.
I’m excited to be supporting One Tree Planted with its Amazon reforestation project located in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, which is home to over 10 percent of the world's bird species.
I’m so excited to be a Member of the Ethical Influencers network. I joined in January 2019.
Ethical Influencers is a digital community focused on doing good. From sustainable storytellers to honest podcasters, ethical fashion Instagrammers to zero waste vloggers; we’re collectively working towards a better world.
Ethical Influencers is here to support a diverse range of creators to improve their content, create connections with likeminded brands, and most importantly, get their voices heard.
Daily working life
Russ avery consulting HQ - “The Shed”
I’m proud to let you guys know that Russ Avery Consulting HQ is a converted garden shed at the bottom of my garden. It may not be perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. It needs to be functional - and it is!
The guy who lived in our house before us was a carpenter and this was his carpentry shed. It already had lighting and power, so thanks to the amazing help of my dad, we ripped out the work benches, installed some insulation in the roof and the walls where we could, fitted some carpets, gave it a lick of paint… and voila! If that’s not good up-cycling, I don’t know what is. Would I like a fancy garden cabin which is more spacious and better insulated? Of course! But do I need one? No!
I love that this is where I deliver all the work for the many sustainability-focused businesses which I’m proud to call my clients!
I have a printer. It is covered in spiderwebs. I hardly ever use it. (Did I not mention that I share the shed with a bazillion spiders?)
If I ever need to do some printing for myself or for my clients, I will always try to use Seacourt, one of the world’s only Planet Positive printers.
I don’t have any business cards, but I’m making some soon: I’m buying a stamp with my logo and details on it, and then I’m going to cut out appropriately sized pieces of cardboard from old cereal boxes and use those as my business cards! A genius idea that I have happily nicked from Keep - the great zero waste shop in my hometown of Farnham. See my interview with Keep here.
I’m not gonna lie, guys… the shed is frickin’ freezing in winter! The insulation my dad and I installed only does so much, unfortunately. So I stay warm through a combination of having a small electric radiator on the lowest setting I can manage, and wearing a coat. Yes, I’m often sat at my desk looking like the Michelin Man. I’m pretty sure there are some pictures somewhere on my Instagram profile to prove it.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture of the shed above, it also only has one tiny window, which lets almost no natural light in at all. So whenever I’m in here working, I always have a light on - one small uplighter.
In spite of the heating and lighting use, it’s not bad, and still much better for the planet than it would have been to knock down this perfectly good shed and build a brand new one!
I’m happy to report that I work from the shed approximately 95% of the time. Like almost everyone else, I do sometimes have to travel for business, but trips are limited, as I try to have meetings by video call whenever possible.
So far, there are two main places I have had to travel: London for client meetings, and Berlin to do work for my German client, EnviroSustain. When I travel to London, I always go by train. So far, when I have had to go by Berlin, I have always flown, primarily due to the speed difference versus going by train. However, I’m already in talks with my client about getting the train over next time, which she wants me to do, because that’s how she always travels when she comes over to London!
I know that flying is far from ideal in terms of its environmental impact, but I will only ever fly if I need to, particularly seeing as I don’t really enjoy it very much at all.
I’m out in nature whenever I can be - hence all my videos in which I’m surrounded by trees!
I’m delighted to say that my kids love being outside in nature as well, and they enjoy doing litter picks with me in our local woods and forests. Here’s a short video I made with my son for World Environment Day 2018, while we were out on a litter pick in one of our favourite local spots.
the Journey towards zero waste and minimalism
As a family, we are trying to live a zero waste lifestyle, but in all honesty we are right at the beginning of the journey. It’s very difficult! But the point is, we have started the journey, and it’s all about the small wins.
Our efforts have been made so much easier thanks to Keep - our local zero waste that I mentioned earlier. For example, we now fill up old containers whenever we need new laundry detergent, fabric softener, washing up liquid, multi-surface cleaner, etc. I have now changed my entire oral hygiene routine to be plastic free: bamboo toothbrush, dent tabs, and charcoal floss. So easy! And I now use shampoo bars and bars of soap instead of shampoo and shower gels from plastic bottles.
As for reducing the amount of “stuff” we all have, I am now militant about donating bags of clothes and books etc to charity shops, being absolutely ruthless about what I keep. If I buy new clothes, I try my best to ensure that they are ethically made, and I now buy fewer clothes but spend more money per item, as it’s all about quality items that will last longer. My favourite Patagonia (what an inspiring clothing brand) long sleeve t-shirt can be seen in several of my videos!
This might shock a lot of people, but I’m not a vegan, and I’m not yet even a vegetarian.
I’m fully aware that this is THE area in which I need to personally improve the most. At the time of writing this, I eat vegetarian at least two days per week, and most of my lunches are vegan (vegan soups - yum!). So the journey has certainly begun, and my consumption of red meat is considerably lower than the UK average. Every delicious new vegetarian recipe I discover makes it easier to increase the number of veggie meals / days I do each week.
I worked out my current consumption pattern, and at the time of writing this, here’s a breakdown of the 21 meals I eat on average each week:
10 vegan meals
7 meals that include meat
5 vegetarian meals
I think that breakdown helps put things in perspective a bit.
I’ll keep this page updated as and when, and I’ll continue to post regularly over on Instagram.
Encouraging others and effecting change
If I change my own habits, I can make a small difference.
But if I can change the habits of 100 people, and encourage them to do the same, I can change the world.
As for banging the drum and doing whatever I can to effect change, I publish engaging content consistently to my social media channels, such as my Boycott Black Friday video, which was viewed over 4,000 times on LinkedIn in 24 hours, and more recently my How to be an Environmental Hero series of videos.
The ROAD AHEAD
I hope this page has provided at least a bit of a glimpse into my daily life - from both a professional and personal perspective - and the various things I’m doing to help make our beautiful planet a better place.
At the time of writing this, I have only been in business for 9 months. I have to remind myself that it’s still early days, and I’m looking forward to all the new initiatives that I will hopefully be involved in by this time next year.
As I said above, I’ll be sure to keep this page updated as and when.
Thanks for following my journey.