Feeling a little less grim?
Okay, so we talked about how scary life can be with all this climate crisis stress going on. But all is not lost: taking action to live in a more sustainable way is not impossible. Part two of our twelve-month challenge to go green adds a few more tips and tricks to the list of things you can do to live a more eco-friendly life. If you break it down into bite-sized projects, month-by-month, you’ll be able to stick to it and start seeing some changes.
Month Seven: Rev up on recycling
First, and most importantly, focus on reducing the amount of stuff you buy and consume: this will create way less waste and even remove the need for recycling. (Because like most things, recycling actually uses energy resources.) Then, reuse whatever you can at home, repurposing stuff and upcycling items. Only once you’ve mastered reducing and reusing should you consider recycling. Make sure you understand what types of materials can be recycled, and where. Basic tip: don’t mix plastics, glass, paper and metals, and don’t put any dirty/contaminated materials in your recycling bins. That oily, greasy, dirty pizza box? Can’t be recycled, sorry (*insert crying face*).
Also: recycle food scraps by starting your own compost heap or getting a Bokashi bin for your balcony. You can use the resulting fertiliser to feed your at-home veggie or herb garden! (Which we know you’re already planning, right?)
Month Eight: Travel differently
What with the effects of COVID-19, we’re already travelling WAY differently, if at all. Remember to use public transport as much as possible, and avoid getting a car for as long as you possibly can. Cycle or walk or even carpool when you can. In the long-term, consider moving to an area with good public transport, where you won’t need to rely on a car much at all. Love travelling? Focus on exploring every bit of your own country first, before flying to others: because flying is the worst form of travel there is, when it comes to carbon emissions and climate change. Sucks, we know.
Month Nine: Get outside
Now is the perfect time to learn about nature by taking part in it. Start a garden to learn what goes into cultivating the food that you eat. Plant stuff that attracts bees and butterflies, such as lavender or herbs. Observe animals in their natural habitat. Maybe you have some interesting birds or a blue-tongued lizard in your backyard? Start watching them! When you snorkel, hike in the bush or go for a walk on the beach (when we can finally do that again!), take a string bag and pick up any bits of junk you see along the way. Grow herbs and veggies. See the birds – or lack of them. (The way in which many urban gardens are created removes habitat and food sources for indigenous birds.) When you get in touch with nature, you’ll notice the changes much quicker, and feel more willing to help make a change.
Month Ten: Buy less stuff
As of 2016, it takes the Earth a year and a half to regenerate what humanity uses in just one year. That means we’re using the equivalent of 1.6 planets in order to support our collective lifestyle. By 2030, we might be using the equivalent of two planets to continue supporting our current practices and consumption habits. Short version? Buy less stuff. We don’t need so many things in our lives – Marie Kondo knows this already! Want to find out more about how our addiction to buying stuff is ruining our planet? Check out the Story of Stuff's cool website, packed full of information.
Thing is, nothing thrown away just "goes away".
Month Eleven: Take a stand
Lobby, join protests and marches, find out how you can become involved with local councils to help lobby for change, talk to your parents, become your school or office’s Eco Champion or sustainability officer, host talks or rallies, talk to your friends, make people aware, join animal causes. Real change only happens when a cultural shift in thinking and doing takes place: and while this is difficult to do, it is not impossible. Work to change the systems for the better. You can start by joining the School Strike 4 Climate, for example: find out more about the School Strike 4 Climate here.
Power to the people!
Month Twelve: Pick an environmental career
There are many careers focused on dealing with environmental challenges – consider picking one to make a long-term impact. Read our blog about green careers here to get you started.
Congratulations: you are now well on your way to becoming an eco-warrior! In fact, keep this up and you might soon be joining the ranks of these famous environmental heroes...
Gif sourced via GIPHY
Main image by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash