Friday, 14 December 2018

Random Acts of Kindness For The Earth

Here are some gift ideas for our Earth this Christmas (and the rest of the year of course). If we are all mindful of these things, we can make a huge difference! These are also fun challenges to set for the New Year, in case you are looking for rewarding and meaningful New Year's resolutions. And a hidden bonus: a gift to the earth is always a gift to yourself as well. 

1. Don't buy gifts this Christmas; or even stop buying stuff altogether
This is one of the most effective ways to help the earth, with many personal rewards (financial, emotional, mental and spiritual). Instead of giving gifts, you can give your time, love, attention and affection to show how much you care. Or get creative and make some gifts!
If you want a more hardcore challenge and an even bigger positive impact and reward, see the Stop shopping Challenge for more details on how to get started, and the entire section on moneyless living on this blog. Most societies throw away enough for you to live comfortably without ever spending any money. It includes all you need (food, clothes, etc) and even all the things you don't really need.

2. Appreciate nature
Most of us take our beautiful planet and all of its resources for granted most of the time, because we are not in tune (=disconnected) and get too distracted by other (trivial) matters. So go outside and enjoy the fresh air, the trees, the flowers, animals, insects, and everything else that makes our home planet unique.

3. Check out the environmental footprint of your next or latest purchase
The result may surprise you. For example, some of the clothes we buy have a huge environmental impact. Did you know that it takes about 1800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make just one pair of jeans? The production of clothes also contributes quite significantly to air pollution and the pollution of rivers. That’s a good reason to shop second-hand. I have not bought more than 5 new clothing items (including shoes/excluding underwear) in the last 20 years. I think that is doable for everyone with all the great secondhand shops everywhere. Clothing swaps are another option if you like to update your wardrobe regularly.
When checking the environmental impact of a product, make sure you include all steps of the process: pre-production, production, distribution, delivery, consumption (including durability and environmental impacts of using the item) and waste (e.g. packaging/non-recyclable parts). If you still want or need the product, there may be ways to reduce your environmental footprint by choosing a different brand/company, or making it yourself.

4. Reduce your dependence on utility companies, or move off the grid (eventually)
You can save water by having shorter showers (or keeping your body clean by swimming in the ocean / river / lake), hand-washing your clothes, and growing plants that suit your local climate (and don't need as much water). If you are looking for lifestyle changes rather than one-off random acts of kindness, you can even take steps towards moving off the grid, or practice being more self-sufficient. For example, you could start collecting rain water and use it to water your veggie garden.

5. Ride your bicycle or walk
European cars emit around 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer. You can save one pound of CO2 for each mile. Plus cycling and walking are way more fun and good for your health! I will write a post about the joys of walking and cycling soon.

6. Pick up trash when you see it
Always carry a bag to gather trash you may find on your way. You may even find usable stuff! You can find the strangest things out in the wild.

7. Consider your diet
Aim for locally-grown, organic, in season, unpackaged and mostly plant-based foods. It's good for the earth, and good for you.

More ideas to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle can be found here and more information about reducing your environmental footprint can be found here. Or get inspired by this list with more  Random acts of kindness (probably a bit more random than the ideas in this post).

Let me know if anything is missing from the list, or what your commitment will be this Christmas / for the upcoming year / the rest of your life.

💚 Happy holidays! 💚