“No thanks, I’d rather not have a bag. I would like to reduce my impact and my waste.”
Could it be that easy? Well, yes actually, it is! When you get swamped with chocking news about the climate and the lack of inaction and when there was hardly any mention of climate (let alone any much-needed green policies) in the recent Queen’s speech introducing the start of the UK parliamentary year, it is easy to feel frustrated and disheartened. But I say, ignore it and get on with change. The only person you can truly change is… yourself! And it is both powerful and inspiring.
Whether you are wanting to lead change from within an organisation or be part of a bigger movement, the small steps you take make a difference. Whatever your motivations are, it makes a difference.
I was recently talking to a friend about cycling more in my own life and what
might be done to make the market town where I live more cycle friendly. This made my friend realise that she could also cycle more, to the local shop for example. I had inspired someone to make a difference.
And here I am, getting ready to cycle to a workshop, rather than using the car!
The last few months I have tried my own willingness to change by taking part in a couple of challenges; “Giving up waste for lent” and #nonewclothesforayear.
Giving up waste for lent was an experiment not to create any landfill waste for the approximate six weeks leading up to Easter. I quickly discovered that this was easier said than done, especially in the fast moving, throw-away society we live in. It also takes a fair bit of planning. Nevertheless, I had a go and I dare say it has left a lasting impact; I learnt to think more about what I buy and how I buy it and I inspired my children to think about their waste. Never would I have thought that finding that packet of yogurt and breakfast nut topping for my breakfast which was fully recyclable could be so joyful!
The #nonewclothesforayear challenges is still ongoing (until March 2018…) and yes, I am counting the months. For someone who used to consider shopping as a hobby, it is a big change, huge in fact. So why am I doing this? Because I believe we are buying too much stuff when we don’t need it and we are using more resources than we need. It is my way of dealing with over-consumerism and being a part of tackling it.
You can be as extreme or not as you want, the point is that it does make a difference and we can simply all make change!
A few (relatively) easy ones to help you on the way….
Ditch the straw in your drink. If you are a grown up and fully able, you probably don’t need it!
Choose your 5-a-day un-packaged and don’t be tempted to take a little flimsy plastic bag…!
Bring your own bottle for drinking water. Reducing your use of plastic bottles is way, way better than recycling!
Cycle! Or walk. And take the stairs… oh, how good it feels to squeeze that extra exercise in too!
Make banana cake from those brown bananas… yum!
Buy local produce... it tastes nicer too!
Eat less meat!
Sign that petition from WWF/ Greenpeace/ your-choice-environmental-and/or-social-change-organisation that has been sitting in your inbox - and share it!
Change your gas & electricity supplier to one that is 100% green. We lowered our monthly cost by doing this, compared to the old whatever-is-in-the-mix one!
If you are up for a big hitter in terms of having less impact on the climate, see if you can make fewer flights in a year!
There you go, not too complicated. The cool thing is that most of these small things will also save you money, help you lead a healthier life (well, ok maybe not the banana cake… though it is good for the soul…) – as well as saving the planet! It is important. Because climate change needs action and it needs action now.
If I have sown some seeds and even inspired you to do something different today, I would like to thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration to others.