Experimenting with ethical lifestyles

It’s a pleasure to host on our blog a guest post from one of our local supporters, Helen Burton, who has had a fascinating year experimenting in ethical living. She is the founder of Incredible Edible Pevensey & Westham (part of the Incredible Edible network) which some of our members actively support and which demonstrates the kind of sustainable, healthy communal food growing that Friends of the Earth is an avid supporter of. Enjoy!

Ethical Lifestyle

Over a year ago I decided to try to live more ethically and began to research what that meant and what changes I would need to make to my lifestyle in order to live as ethically as possible. What a year it’s been!

I took a break from writing my column on leading an ethical lifestyle in order to stand as a Wealden District councillor. As I learnt more about ethical issues I became more interested in politics as the two subjects are so intertwined. I went from believing that all the parties were the same to joining my party of choice and standing in the election! I am now much more aware of the big issues of our time and have become quite a campaigner on many subjects close to my heart. I have also become a Pevensey parish councillor to try to help my local community.


I founded Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham and I am working on setting up a ‘Real Junk Food Project’ in Eastbourne too. I have met some wonderful people over the last year who care about people and the planet as much as I do and I have learnt a lot from them. After ten years as a committed singleton I have even started dating again having met someone who shares my interest in community and social justice. It’s amazing what can happen when you start to get involved in your locality!

In trying to eat more ethically I have made changes to my diet which mean I am also healthier than before. I now drive an electric car and have saved a lot of money in doing so. I swapped my bank account to an ethical bank and gained a £100 ‘reward’ in the process as well as £25 going to my choice of charity. Soon I’ll be changing my electricity supplier to one that supplies ‘green’ energy sourced from renewables. Insurance policies have been switched to more ethical companies and whenever I purchase anything now I look for the most ethical choice. I put a lot more thought into how I spend my money and where it goes. I try to remember “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want”. (Anna Lappe)

Things aren’t perfect, it’s a work in progress and I’m no paragon of virtue, but I am doing my best to make the right choices and whatever I do I am more mindful of the effect each of us as individuals can have on the world.

Every week in my column I will be addressing another ethical issue and sharing my own efforts to live an ethical lifestyle. From ethical purchases to adventures with chickens and beekeeping, as I explore what it means to live ethically I will share my dilemmas with you and give you something to think about as you make your own choices.

If you want to contact me regarding events, campaigns or just to correspond with me you can email me at ethicallifestyle@btinternet.com

Helen Burton


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