Laura Whitmore: My Sustainable Life - ‘You don’t have to be perfect, it’s about learning to make the little changes’

The broadcaster and environmental ambassador tells Olivia Petter how sustainability influences her daily life

Monday 01 March 2021 16:23 GMT
Laura Whitmore: ‘If I ruled the world, I would ban single-use plastic’
Laura Whitmore: ‘If I ruled the world, I would ban single-use plastic’ (Laura Whitmore/WWF)

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

Welcome to My Sustainable Life, The Independent's new weekly series in which we speak to one person about how environmentalism affects their lives.

This week, for the debut edition of My Sustainable Life, we hear from broadcaster and environmental ambassador Laura Whitmore.

The Irish TV presenter explains how discovering rental clothing revolutionised her approach to shopping and why it's about time someone created a machine that can send deliveries without unnecessary packaging.

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

Sharing clothes! I used to do it all the time when I lived in a house share at university. And then you think when you can afford to buy new clothes you should but actually, there's something lovely in sharing and borrowing clothes from friends.

I love the whole clothes rental phenomenon like Hurr and My Wardrobe HQ.

My least sustainable guilty habit is... 

Impulse online shopping! You can't try it on so you are basically judging your purchase on an image that may be so far from the reality.

And then if it doesn’t fit or wrong fabric, the hassle of returning may mean it remains unloved in your wardrobe. Such a waste!

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

Banning single-use plastic.

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

Jump into the sea! I grew up in a seaside town called Bray in Co. Wicklow. The water is FREEZING. But I’ve always loved the sea and find peace by being near water.

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

A machine that can send packages without all the unnecessary packaging. Recycling day is a big day in our house as so many parcels or products we are lucky to receive are unnecessarily overwrapped. It annoys me.

Maybe something like on Star Trek where you can beam things places. Also, it would mean you wouldn’t have to fly places. You could beam yourself if working abroad. Whenever I fly I counterbalance my carbon footprint by planting trees through a website that measures your footprint.

My photographer friend Conor McDonnell, who works with David Attenborough, told me about it.

My sustainability hero is...

Lizzie Carr, who set up plastic patrol/on planet patrol – an organisation that combines paddle boarding, yoga, running, and fitness with litter picking. I've joined her to collect litter on paddleboards along Regents Canal in London. Her story and drive are inspiring.

She uses data collection which helps shape government policies to eliminate single-use plastic. Also, I'm an ambassador for the WWF and Sky Ocean Hero campaign, which is all about restoring the health of our seas. 

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

I am Greta is a brilliant documentary following Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist, and is a must-watch. Her drive and passion at such a young age is unparalleled. I was sent it last year ahead of release and it really affected me.

Also, I have to mention David Attenborough: Climate Change – The Facts. It’s compelling and straight to the point.

My favourite vegan or vegetarian restaurant is...

Mildred’s is great because of the variety of dishes. I used to go regularly to the one in Camden as I used to live right by it and there’s another in Soho where I have lots of meetings. So always a good reliable spot!

Vegetarian dishes shouldn’t be boring, but a lot of restaurants leave a lot to be desired. They just take the meat away and leave veg and potatoes (though I love potatoes) and there’s no flavour.

Mildred’s really opened my eyes up to the possibilities of being meat-free. I’m not completely meat-free. I eat fish and chicken about once or twice a week, but I definitely find it easier to cook vegetarian now and I make an effort to cut down on animal products as much as possible.

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

You don’t have to be perfect. It’s all learning, so make little changes to your life.

Three sustainable brands everyone should know about

Always B U, an ethical clothing brand dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence set up by Rebecca Beattie, a former victim of domestic violence.

Dare 2 B is a sustainable activewear brand I've been wearing a lot. Let’s be honest, I only leave the house to go for a walk these days.

Thought Clothing is a brand of simple pieces that love natural and sustainable fabrics.

Laura Whitmore is an ambassador for the Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF Ocean Hero Campaign. To find out more about the Ocean Hero campaign and how you can become an #OceanHero  visit

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