Team Isipi thinks about sustainable consumption as they prepare to go home

11th December 2016

Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without harming future generations’ abilities to meet their own needs. Sustainable consumption concerns the use of non-renewable and renewable resources, particularly in the production of food and other goods, and is something that we have particularly come across here in Isipi.

Photography by Andrea Griffiths & Steve Freeman

Sustainable consumption is very important. Natural resources used in the process of making consumables are not generally replaced, which is creating a lot of waste going into landfills. Furthermore, cutting down trees for firewood without replanting them rapidly depletes the supply, and therefore the fuel source, in addition to causing huge environmental consequences.

Watering Seedlings
Team Isipi volunteer Janet watering the seedlings everyone has helped plant

During our time in Isipi, we have particularly noticed the minimal waste output of the locals. They plant their rice, beans and vegetables which they harvest and cook themselves. Leftovers are often eaten at another meal or given to animals such as pigs or chickens.

Our diets at home are very different than what it is in Isipi. Dairy is not available and meat is eaten far less often. This reduces the environmental impact of the villagers’ diet. 

Plastic waste is generally burnt or reused to store liquids such as oil, petrol or honey. Not having the packaging to throw away in Isipi has also highlighted how much one would use a bin at home and the unnecessary waste produced. The access to branded sodas was surprising in such a remote place but they are treated as more of a luxury item here as opposed to a commonplace item back home. This helps highlight our skewed perception of what is needed versus what is wanted.

Getting water to our homestays is also a long and arduous task which really emphasises the lack of water waste. Everything is measured and used sparingly as to what we would be used to at home. For example, a shower here is a bucket of water and clothes are washed in rivers. When compared to how we use water at home, it shows how little thought is put into our water consumption.  And this only  demonstrates some of the differences in our lifestyles.

Team Isipi Volunteer Manager carrying water
Team Isipi Volunteer Manager Cat carrying water the traditional way

Our experience in Isipi has definitely affected how we will change some of our behaviours at home. Reducing water wastage and showering time is a change we can all make. Supporting local produce and not seeking imported or out of season goods is something we will all aim to do. We will also continue to eat less meat and dairy products having found that, although we miss it sometimes, it is not needed as much as we think.

This will help reduce our environmental impact. We can also try to reduce the amount of food we waste by buying or cooking less and reducing our packaging waste by buying in quantity and recycling, or composting. what we can. We will definitely think more about our carbon footprints and impacts our excessive consumption can cause when we leave Tanzania.

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