Be the change

Creating a cleaner, greener world where humans can live in healthy harmony with nature starts with the realisation that everyone can make a difference on the planet through conscious lifestyle choices.

Have you ever felt a sense of helplessness whenever you hear about pollution of land, water and air; deterioration of urban and rural environments; threats to wildlife and their habitats; soil erosion; deforestation; seas full of plastic? The list of problems seems endless and solutions out of reach. Environmental changes have consequences for everyone, but it’s easy to feel disempowered and to believe that individual action wont make a difference in the world. There is, however, much that can be done on a personal level to bring about considerable change.

If being the change you wish to see in the world seems overwhelming, focus on doing what feels doable and actionable. Make one ethical choice today, and then another tomorrow. Look at the personal and wider benefits of how your choices make a difference. The key is to start from where you are, with what you have, and be at peace with the knowledge that you’re doing something, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Conserve energy and water

Turn off your computer, lights and any other electrical devices when not in use. Lower the thermostat on your hot water or try to use your air conditioner less. Repair any leaks or dripping taps. Install water-saving toilets and shower heads. Only use the washing machine or dishwasher with a full load. Reducing energy and water usage conserves resources and saves money.

Go organic

Research the ingredients that go into your food, personal care and household cleaning products. When you buy organic, you’re choosing healthy food and products. Shop locally if possible and support organic farmers when you can.

Switch to a green energy company

Choose gas and electric from renewable sources. There are plenty of green energy suppliers from which to choose. Take a look at Powershop or Diamond Energy.

Reuse, recycle and upcycle

When you choose upcycled and recycled products, it follows that there’s a reduction in the demand for raw materials in the form of forest, metals, fuels and also chemical pollutants. It also means that less goes to landfill.

Grow your own food

Consider how you can use the space you have to grow your own food and be more self-sufficient. Be creative. Use your backyard, balcony or windowsills to grow tasty, fresh and nutritious vegetables, salad leaves, fruit or herbs. Where possible, share an allotment with other members of your community. It doesn’t cost much to grow your own food and it’ll help to reduce your grocery costs.

Carry a shopping bag

Say no to plastic bags and excessive packaging. Use your own bags, boxes or cartons when shopping for food and other items.

Travel green

Use public transport where practical. If you’re buying a car, choose one that is fuel-efficient or uses renewable energy. Consider car-pools for commuting to work. Plan trips carefully for fuel economy and reduced emissions. If making a shorter journey, think about walking or cycling to your destination.

Go veggie or vegan – or just cut down on meat

A vegetarian or vegan diet is a healthy option and there are many exciting and nutritious plant-based recipes to ensure you’ll enjoy tasty meals.

Choose good threads

Support ethical, fair-trade clothing companies that use eco-friendly organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or flax materials. For a real bargain and something unique, visit vintage and charity shops for pre-loved clothes.

Stand up for wildlife and the environment

Become knowledgeable about issues that cause you concern. Support campaigns that focus on protecting natural habitats and wildlife.

Carry out conservation work

Support tree and wildflower planting. Clean up litter. Participate in earth-friendly community initiatives.

This article was originally published in Issue 12 – Set Forward