Make a difference from the comfort of your own home
There are many of us across the world that would love to do more to help our planet survive but are scuppered by lack of time, energy and often money.
This article shows how it can be simple, fun and inexpensive to dissolve those guilty feelings and enjoy harmony with the environment rather than it being a constant cause for concern.
Here are Five Fabulous ways to do your bit for the planet
As little as 20 years ago, recycled or organic goods and products weren’t mainstream and often cost at least 3 times as much as non-organic, making it harder to do your bit for the environment especially if you were bringing up a family.
There’s been a huge increase in availability as the green campaigns for a healthier planet grow stronger. And there are lots of tweaks we can make in our lifestyles to help even more.
Many areas have recycling posts or specific containers for individual households. This may seem like an extra chore at home, but habits only need tweaking to make it work. Make sure everyone in the household, apart from maybe the tiniest tots, knows where each item should go; plastics and glass, paper and food etc;
Find a permanent spot for the recycling containers to make it even easier. If you have to go looking for the compost bin, chances are those food scraps will end up in the regular rubbish.
If you have a garden, create a compost heap for the vegetable peelings. A year later you’ll have beautiful compost to dig into the garden or fill plant pots with.
Check over any packaging before you throw it away. Maybe it could be added to the craft box or perhaps be useful in the potting shed. Clear plastic bottles make excellent mini-cloches for delicate plants. Cut in half and you have two cloches for free! And yoghurt pots are perfect for seedlings with a hole punched in the bottom for drainage.
If you’re planning to make jams or preserves later in the year, wash and dry empty jars and lids and store them somewhere safe.
Health begins at home
Gardening is one of the fastest growing ‘hobbies’ which means a whole lot more of us are eating fresh organic produce picked from our own garden, balcony or even window box. There are many plants you can grow in pots; you don’t even need a garden to benefit from a few organic veggies or a daily serving of your favourite herbs.
Herbs not only flavour your food, most of them have medicinal properties as well. A daily glass of tea made from thyme and honey for example will help prevent colds. With a healthy diet and a few natural remedies, you can avoid spending huge sums on potions and medications from the pharmacy.
As well as natural health remedies, try a few natural ‘quality time’ cures as well. Set aside 15 or 20 minutes here and there to play a game with the children – not a computer game. Play games you used to play and enjoy a nostalgic moment while passing on fun ideas to the next generation… aaah wonderful!
Games can be incredibly simple and so much fun; playing ball with tiny tots helps them develop hand eye co-ordination, pencil and paper games are a brilliant way of teaching children new words etc; and simply having a good old fashioned game of Monopoly could be just what the doctor ordered!
Spend more, save more
Commercially there is more competition nowadays for organic produce, which in turn has helped push the price down for the average consumer. Hopefully the organic producers will benefit from larger numbers of consumers to off-set the lower prices.
Sometimes just a few extra pennies can buy the organic alternative – scan the prices before buying because it’s so easy to assume the organic product will be too expensive, when it may not be. Spending a few extra moments checking prices and food labels is time well spent. Write a list before you go shopping and (try to) stick to it.
Buying two bags of 24 packets of crisps because they are on a ‘buy one get one free’ promotion is dodgy because if there are 48 packets of crisps in the larder, they probably won’t last as long as 2 lots of 24 packs! The only way round this is to have a really good hiding place or avoid the BOGOF promos!
When you shop in a supermarket, you are open to all the marketing skills of big corporations and it’s very easy to be led into the aisles of ‘not-so-healthy’ foods, especially if you have children with you.
But if you know you’ve just spent a little more than usual on some organic tomatoes, you’re less likely to be persuaded to part with any more cash than necessary. Shopping in this way can lead to a healthier fridge and wallet! (And it may be a good idea to leave the kids at home.)
With information and practical videos at our fingertips, we can learn traditional skills, some of which have got lost somewhere over the last few generations and get creative in our gift ideas, avoiding buying plastic ‘land-fill’ stuff at least some of the time.
Home-made gifts are always special and you can make them planet-friendly too! Try home-made jams and dried tomatoes for ‘foodies’ or knit something personal like a toy for a child or a delicate shawl for a fashion conscious friend.
Although it pains me slightly to say that you could start planning Christmas presents a year in advance, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Once you have a few ideas for gifts you can make, they can be separate projects you can dip in and out of throughout the year. Long winter evenings or rainy Sunday afternoons are great times to open your ‘Christmas’ project box and dabble a little in something creative.
If you’re planning on giving home-made jams etc; you may want to grow your own strawberries. Strictly speaking, it will take a whole season to start off your gift, but a little pottering in the garden always gives you a boost of energy and well-being.
Do It Yourself
With tons of scientific evidence proving the ingredients in many processed foods aren’t necessarily good for humans, we are all looking towards a less chemically dependent diet. Cooking programmes on TV channels get huge viewing audiences. Indulge in creating meals to really enjoy sometimes rather than throwing any old fast food on a plate because everyone’s ‘starving’ hungry.
The media have been promoting sterile bleached homes for many years and, although we are wising up to the fact that a sterile environment isn’t necessarily good for our immune systems, the habits are hard to break.
Try to avoid products containing bleach. In most cases it really isn’t necessary and causes untold harm to the environment. Next time you enjoy a G&T, don’t throw the slice of lemon away, wipe it round the sink after washing up and the lemon juice will remove many stains. And it leaves a lovely lemony smell in the kitchen.
*Brush up on traditional skills and create soft furnishings such as throws, cushions, bedspreads etc; Build furniture to fit any space or take a pottery class and create beautiful eye-catching sculptures. Make your home a place of beauty, health and harmony … oh, and environment friendly too of course.