Camilla Thurlow: My Sustainable Life - ‘I should be more conscious in my purchasing habits’

·5-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Independent’s My Sustainable Life is a Q&A series in which famous faces reveal their personal approach to the climate crisis

This week, for My Sustainable Life, we hear from author and former Love Island star Camilla Thurlow.

Previous guests on My Sustainable Life include model Lily Cole and TV chef Gizzi Erskine.

Born in Scotland, Thurlow, 32, went on the hit reality TV ITV2 show in 2017, where she met her now-husband, Jamie Jewitt. Formerly an explosive ordnance disposal expert, she has since written a memoir, filmed a documentary series, and embarked on several philanthropic projects that revolve around humanitarians issues.

Here, she explains how she’s changed the way she takes care of her clothing, why the climate conversation needs to be more inclusive, and how planning ahead could lower her own personal carbon footprint.

The most sustainable decision I made in the past year was...

Looking after my clothes properly and packing away items so they can be used year after year. I really enjoy organising and packing up all of my daughter Nell’s bits as well, and I love the idea of them being passed on to friends and family. I also regularly rent clothes, especially for special occasions, which is so much fun.

The other thing I try and do alongside this is to be considered in how I look after clothes, for example how often I use the washing machine. I know it seems like a small one but it’s so easy to fall into habits that disregard the fact that many of the household solutions we have become accustomed to are actually luxuries. I think it’s just about being conscious of it and keeping that balance in mind. There’s so much more I can do in that area so I’ll keep working on it.

My least sustainable habit is...

Not planning ahead and often ordering things online last minute. I’m so used to being able to order things to arrive the next day, and I realise I’ve become accustomed to convenience but I should be more conscious in my purchasing habits.

If I ruled the world, I would make it more sustainable by...

Trying to make conversations around sustainability more inclusive, as despite the fact it affects us all, all too often people feel alienated from the conversation. The more people we have sitting at the table, the more we are able to innovate and implement solutions both as individuals and within businesses and supply chains.

When I want to feel in touch with the natural world I...

Go for a walk. I’m very lucky to live somewhere where it is easy to go for a nice walk and I can take Nell with me so I don’t need to worry about making a big plan to do it. It’s just a small thing I can do every day that has such a positive effect on my mood.

If I could invent one thing that would make my life more sustainable it would be...

Something to do with waste disposal. It’s such a tricky issue and immensely complicated but it really is critical. There are many items that are designed to be sustainable but their appropriate disposal is hampered by how we manage waste. I think there have been some improvements but there is definitely a way to go in this area.

My sustainability hero is...

Alice Aedy, who is a documentary maker and photographer. She shares incredibly important stories but is also always very open and honest about the nuances and complexities of climate justice. She really welcomes you into a world where you have the opportunity to learn in a positive way.

The one thing everyone should watch about the climate crisis is...

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

My favourite vegetarian or vegan restaurant is...

Jamie and I went to The Muddy Puddle café on Albion Road in London a few years ago and really loved it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back sometime this year.

My one piece of advice to people trying to be more sustainable is...

I think it’s just important to remember it’s a process and that just because you are struggling to become more sustainable in one area of your life shouldn’t stop you making changes in another. Some changes are quick and easy, and it will be a matter of making straightforward switches that already fit well with your life.

Others can take time, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t moving in the right direction. There is also a lot happening at the moment in terms of sustainable innovation, so I think it’s great to be open-minded to new products and solutions as they start to appear.

Three sustainable brands everyone should know about

Herbal Essences has always been a brand I’ve loved using. They celebrate our connection to nature and taking more action to help protect plants and regenerate natural ecosystems. They have a real focus not just on sustainable sourcing, but also on ensuring they use quality plant-based ingredients which is why their products really work and are lovely to use. I’m loving the New Argan Oil Repair & Renew Intensive Mask.

By Rotation is a clothes renting app that I love. It’s so fun to browse through, especially if I’ve got an occasion in mind (my favourite dress I’ve worn in the last few years was to a friend’s wedding and was rented from By Rotation). The app was created to try and challenge overconsumption in the fashion industry, and to prolong the use of quality items people already owned. It feels like one big shared wardrobe!

Arena Flowers is where I order all my floral arrangements from. Their bouquets are always beautiful but they’ve also removed all single-use plastic from their products and are working to do the same across their supply chain. They also plant two trees every time you place an order with them, and are ranked as the UK’s most ethical florist.

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