Well, this is the first post in a while. With all the classes for my Masters moved online thanks to coronavirus, there’s a bit more time on everyone’s hands. Actually, I say that, but the remote work consulting side of things has understandably started to take off too. But this post is about becoming more sustainable! How come?
Last week saw St.Patrick’s Day(… well, technically, there wasn’t much to see). Some very inspiring friends of mine are moving for people not to just wear green and drink green beer, but to DO something green on this day each year, raise awareness around sustainability, and inspire people. As my action, I wrote a guide for our university’s CSR department on 17 things people could do to become more Green and sustainable… and then I had to rewrite to be a bit more aware of social distancing… and then still got complaints because French readers thought I was encouraging them to break quarantine. Ah well, no good deed goes unpunished.
So, please, take this as a general guide on how to be more sustainable any time of the (normal) year, and hold off on breaking quarantine until it’s safe to do so. Many of the suggestions are things you can do at home or online. And so, let’s get to it.
17 things that you can do on St.Patrick’s Day (or any day) to live a greener life!
Set Dark mode for Windows, Firefox and many other applications. Many of our favourite apps and web browsers can be set to Dark Mode. It takes more energy to light a whole screen up white than to simply keep it black. Consider searching how to set Windows 10/ macOS or many other apps to Dark Mode.
Nature Cleanup. Take some reusable bags to a park, beach, or river, and spend some time making it beautiful. This is even more fun with friends! As a bonus, when the community sees you doing this, they get warm and fuzzy feelings, and are that much more inspired to do something themselves.
Plant A Tree. If you have a garden,or live near a wooded area, consider getting a sapling, grabbing your spade, and planting a tree. They look beautiful, provide homes for birds, and, of course, produce the oxygen that we need to live. Help offset your carbon footprint today.
Check out the Great Green Wall. If you can’t plant a tree of your own, check out this African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa. If this doesn’t inspire you, what will?! You can help spread the word, sign the pledge, or even donate to get trees planted.
Start an urban garden (grow your own food). It’s spring time! Even if you don’t have a garden there are some things you can grow for yourself at home in potted plants on a balcony or windowsill. Imagine growing your own tomatoes, spinach, or strawberries! Yum!
Check out Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees! They’ve planted over 87 million trees so far, and all you have to do to help is search!
Compost your food waste.
This tip is brought to you by Diversion.
Composting needs five things to work:
3. Green Materials
4. Brown Materials
5. WORMS ♡
To start a compost today, you will need a standard 330L plastic compost bin. If you don’t have one, use a bucket or an old plastic bin for now!
Make sure to cut off the end and find a lid to use.
Home composting is all about balance. Pop in your kitchen green & browns then your garden green & browns and keep going.
The green provides the nitrogen and the brown provides the carbon.
The worms and other insects will be attracted by the smell of the kitchen materials.
Do not place cooked foods, meats or dairy in the compost, it will attract vermin.
The Worms will do the Work
Any questions message me on my facebook page Diversion.
Start a petition. When people act together they can make a bigger difference. Maybe you’re finding that with the quarantines you get more work done at home on your own timetable, having set up remote work/work from home arrangements. Getting enough people to encourage your employers and/or government to support the practice will mean less commuting and carbon emissions in the future.
Remember that contacting your local elected representatives at any time is something that they want you to do, and that helps democracy. The representatives want to know what their voters are thinking. If the environment is important to you, tell them! You don’t always have to wait until the next election.
Get a quote to improve the insulation of your home, or to install a solar panel. This makes heating bills cheaper and uses less fossil fuel energy from the grid! Search for you local suppliers today and get a quote.
Pick up some Bamboo Toothbrushes. Did you know that plastic isn’t your only option for toothbrushes? You can buy biodegradable toothbrushes made from bamboo that work just as well as the real thing. Ask in your local health-food shop, or order them online. Learning from the previous points above, maybe even start a petition asking the big supermarkets in your area to start stocking bamboo toothbrushes. Let them know that there’s a demand for them.
Shop local. Farmers markets, smaller stores, etc. Remember to consider where our food and clothing comes from. Just transporting it half-way around the world to you means that you’re making a higher carbon footprint buying big-store clothing and exotic fruit. When we shop at farmers markets and buy from local manufacturers we’re supporting the local economy and the environment. When you have a choice, try to buy local.
Plan your next vacation locally. We all love to hop on a plane and see far-off places. It’s exciting, but it also takes its toll on the environment. Yet how much do you know about the world within 150km of your home? How many fascinating stories, battles, castles, food/wine tours, hikes, and festivals can be found within driving distance of your house? Learning more about where you come from can be a great way to get in touch with your heritage, save money on flights, protect the environment, and not have to worry about airport security.
Learn a vegetarian or vegan recipe. With all this extra time at home, we should have plenty of opportunity to try out tasty new recipes. Whatever your views on the morals of eating meat, we should remember that the keeping of animals, especially cattle, has a huge impact on the environment.
Demand for meat means more farms, which means trees are cut down to clear farmland, which means that methane-gas-producing cattle are kept for years, then killed and transported all over the word.
When you consider all this together, we realise that replacing just one meal per week with a veggie/vegan alternative is one of the most impactful changes we can make in our lives. After one, maybe you’ll even love the recipe and double your impact by replacing two meals per week…
Check out Holly White’s mouth-watering website to get inspired!
Unplug your TV, PC, etc at night. We’ve all heard that leaving these devices on standby mode continues to waste electricity, yet we all still leave them on. It’s just convenient. Well, maybe this St.Patrick’s Day before bed, go and turn off all of these devices at the wall. Every little bit helps, and can inspire others, especially impressionable children. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start a new green nightly habit tonight.
Take a group to the woods. Appreciate nature. Depending on what country you’re living in right now, you may not be able to get to the woods (thanks Corona. Sorry Italy and Spain), but in Ireland and France (where I am currently), you still can, though public transportation isn’t advisable.
At any rate, going to the woods solo or with a group of friends can renew our sense of wonder and love for the natural world and remind us what we should be fighting to protect. Spending time in nature has also been proven to boost our happiness and sense of calm – something a lot of people could probably use these days.
Learn how to make your own cleaning products. Did you know that you can make your own soap, toilet cleaner, and several other cleaning products at home using things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon? Pouring less chemicals down the drain protects our water supply. Get started with this simple blog post.
Share this PDF. It’s all well and good doing our part, but we can’t save the world alone. The best thing we can do is multiply our impact by inspiring others (without being preachy, or showing off – because this just alienates people). We’re all in this together!
And that’s it! Easy!
Well done, everyone! Everything Green that you do makes the world a better place just for you having been in it.