As part of Nike’s Move to Zero, we’ve teamed up with a number of Heroes in Sustainability. First up, Michael (@michaeltimbs). Michael’s worked in the football media industry for around 5 years. He’s gone from starting out as a social media intern at COPA90, to travelling around the world making films, interviewing and playing football with some of the world’s best footballers, as well as working with some of the biggest brands in sport.
Collab’ing with us and Nike as part of the ‘Move to Zero’ campaign, we sat down with Michael to talk about how he leads a sustainable and environmentally conscious life, including what started it all for him. Check it out…
How do you aim to live a more sustainable life; what changes are you making?
Change is never easy, particularly when it requires you to make 100% of the effort. Even though I advocate everyone leading a more sustainable life, I realise that big wholesale changes aren’t for everyone. People feel pressured into the ‘all or nothing’ approach when, realistically, any little change is a win.
Naturally, there’s still more I could do to live sustainably, but the main changes I have made are to my everyday routine and habits. Cutting out meat and dairy in my diet, not buying products that contain palm oil, avoiding the use of plastics, supporting eco-friendly brands. Little things like that.
What tips would you give to your followers to work towards a sustainable lifestyle?
Leading a sustainable life is important, but being happy and healthy is most important. So don’t put pressure on yourself to make crazy changes to your life if it means you aren’t in a good physical or mental space. Any tiny change that improves your life is a good thing. Your diet, what you wear, your daily healthcare routine. It can be anything from swapping your plastic toothbrush out for a sustainable bamboo one, to carrying a reusable metal water bottle with you, or even just walking 15 minutes somewhere instead of driving.
Don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders to ‘change the world’. If you doing your little part for the planet helps you get to sleep at night happy, then great.
What inspired you to become vegan?
I became vegan about 5 years ago. I went vegetarian for around a month leading up to it, purely for the health benefits, but then learning about the effects our diet and lifestyle has on the world convinced me to go a bit further and give veganism a go.
I’ve avoided identifying myself as a ‘vegan’. The conclusion I’ve come to is it’s easier to lead a more sustainable life by avoiding making it a part of your identity. If you’re making even the smallest of baby steps, then it doesn’t matter what your entrypoint is into leading a more ethical and environmentally friendly life.
Do you feel that your veganism has affected your fitness and training at all?
In short, I felt like I had more energy. The usual ‘slump’ I got after eating made way for me feeling more energetic, and though I felt lighter, I didn’t feel weaker. I’ve always tried to be an active person, but upping my intake of vegetables and avoiding heavier foods meant that I had more energy to go out and keep pushing myself physically.
This isn’t me telling you to go out and be vegan. The only thing I’d say is that it has worked for me and my body, and it’s up to you to read up on it, try it for yourself if you want to and see if it works for you.
What makes veganism more sustainable than a traditional diet?
On a global level, from what I’ve read and researched over the last few years, a vegan lifestyle is less of a drain on the earth’s natural resources – the earth is less damaged than it would be if you weren’t living that way. Veganism is still far from perfect and still has an impact on the environment, but on the whole I’ve read that it’s more eco-friendly than a meat-heavy diet.
On a personal level, it might not be for everyone. Luckily it has worked for me. I’ve found that being more plant based has helped me physically and mentally. What I didn’t expect though, and what I’m very grateful for now, is how it has opened my eyes to the many smaller steps we can all take in our everyday lives to leave a more compassionate footprint.
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