2014 is just around the corner, bringing with it a new opportunity to take stock of our lives and the ways in which we might live them better. That’s right, it’s almost New Year’s Resolution time again! Maybe you’re one of the few on the planet who are already existing in as green a way as possible, but in case you’re like me and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, please take a look at the list below and see if it inspires you to make some changes.
- Recycling / composting – this is an obvious one, but the goalposts keep changing, as to what can be recycled and where. Check back in with the depot guidelines, as they may now be accepting things that were previously rejected. If you find there is something that you can’t recycle there, check online for alternative places. If it really can’t be recycled anywhere, then please stop using it and send a note to the manufacturer to that effect, so that (hopefully) they’ll stop using it too.
- Read labels. Don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of googling countless chemical abbreviations. Just start with one label and you’ll find it quickly becomes addictive. Make it a habit to think about origins and ingredients and try to shop ethically (think local, sustainable, organic and cruelty-free). Make things from scratch whenever you’re able and think of it as a work in progress. One good decision at a time.
- Choose cloth alternatives – ahem, yes, Goddess Moons are a prime example – but, basically, if it’s disposable, there’s a better option out there. Choose old school hankies, like your clever nan probably had, and keep a stash of cloths around to replace kitchen towel, tissues, wipes, etc. If you’re feeling brave, you can even replace good ole TP, popular for babies already, but the adults are resisting.
- Green your outdoor space, if lucky enough to have one – make as much room for plants and animals as possible. Try to choose plants that are native to the area and, if you maximize on fruits and vegetables, you’ll get your own rewards at harvest time. If you don’t have your own space to green (or if you have the space but not the green fingers) you could consider seed-bombing in areas that need it . Check here for tips: http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html
- Donate – time, money, services, goods, whatever you can. Investigate local initiatives and campaigns and, whether it’s to benefit the homeless, elderly, low-income families, animal shelters, environment, or anything else, choose the cause that you feel instinctively passionate about and devote your time there. That way, you are likely to excel in making a positive contribution and it could lead to great things. If you don’t want to commit to a long-term contribution, there are always one-off opportunities, like drives for blankets/warm clothes, or clean-up days at the beach. If you still feel that you don’t have time, then consider this: Studies have shown that volunteering just two hours of time each week has a significant impact on the volunteer’s overall happiness. It’s a win-win.
So, there we have it. Not an exhaustive list by any means, but at least it gets the ball rolling. If you’d like to add any comments below about other things that we should all be doing, it would be lovely to have the input. And, once you’ve finished chastising yourself for the indulgences of the holiday period, and taken stock of areas that need improvement, please don’t forget to make time to remember all the things you did right in 2013, not matter how large or small they were. Here’s wishing you all an amazing 2014!