Last weekend we had utterly incredible weather here in the UK. Clear blue skies, glorious warm sunshine, and temperatures around 18 degrees celcius. That may not sound particularly incredible to some of you, but then remember, this was in February. The depths of winter. Only a few weeks ago we were faced with freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow. So this sudden flurry of spring/summer weather seems to me like a beautiful glimpse of what is yet to come in the short term- surely we are in for a fantastic summer of Medateranian-esque weather? Maybe a repeat of the heatwave of 2018? But we can’t let ourselves get too carried away with BBQ’s and beer garden’s, because this out-of-season weather is also a scary sign of what is to come on this extraordinary planet we inhabit, which is why I wanted to pen down a few things to do to help the planet. It’s downright terrifying how quickly we are seeing such drastic changes to our seasons, and if climate change is not something you’ve particularly given much thought yet, this article on The Guardian will give you a bit more perspective.
Usually at this time of year, temperatures are still hovering below 5 degrees. Last year we saw snow and Ice in March, who could forget the beast from the east? Yet now, just one year on, we are seeing such a stark contrast. It seems that the seasonal cycles are changing fast, and they are no longer the seasons we all know and love. We all know about global warming, but I’m afraid that it’s such an over-used term that we are all a bit de-sensitised to it now. It’s one of those things to which surely ‘whatever we do won’t make any difference’. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that their actions are meaningless and that the government and the big companies out there are the only ones who could fix it. And while yes, it is true that our individual efforts are small in the grand scheme of things, and the big companies have the power to make the biggest changes, it is also true that they won’t make any huge changes unless the consumer market demands it. If companies can still turnover their desired profit without investing in sustainable infrastructure and spending time, money and man power to give back to the planet, then the sad truth is most companies will scrape by doing the bare minimum.
Last year in my Sustainability in Fashion post, I discussed how it is the consumer’s responsibility to change their own buying habits, if we are to have any impact on the way clothing brands view the market. And it’s the same across all industries, and all aspects of the ways in which we live our lives. So here are a few things to do to help the planet and can help you reduce that big ‘ole carbon footprint that we are all stomping around the planet, that will hopefully make a big difference to our ever fast changing climate.
Walk Wherever You Can
Of all the things to do to help the planet, this could well be the easiest to implement right away. Also, you kill two birds with one stone. Actually, why not kill a few birds with one stone (not literally, you get the gist). Get your exercise in, get some fresh air, get where you want to go for free and save those coins, all whilst avoiding those fossil fuels!
Blue Planet and the legend that is Sir David Attenborough thankfully brought this to the forefront of the mainstream media’s attention last year. And it isn’t until you start analysing your shopping with this in mind that you realise just how much wasted packaging the supermarkets use to wrap up each individual item you buy. Unfortunately, we have been lucky enough to throw all our rubbish away and leave it for someone else to deal with. Out of sight, out of mind? But now the devastating repercussions of this are back in our sight, online, on our tv screens, and there’s no denying we all have to change our habits. If you can get to a local greengrocer and buy loose fruit and veg, then I urge you to do so, it’s great not having any plastic wrappers to throw away, and it usually tastes much better too which is a bonus. Straws, either go without, or get re-useable ones. Just basically try and avoid single use plastic wherever you can- it’s the devil.
This is an obvious one I know, but you’d be surprised how many people are too lazy to do it properly. This is kind of a follow on thought to consider packaging. We all know we need to recycle, but are you doing it properly? My main advice would be to check your own local recycling guidelines, as I have to say, I was shocked when I did this and realised that I can’t recycle plastic food trays, like the ones you buy chicken fillets in, as I had been washing these and putting them in the recycling bins for years! If in doubt, check your local scheme, and make sure no non-recyclables go in those bins, because that’s just one big waste of time and resources- two things that we need so desperately.
Buy Less- Use More
We all have waste in our household, and to an extent it is unavoidable. But making an effort to reduce the amount you’re putting to landfill is really key now. Recycling, as I’ve already mentioned, is a big factor here, as is considering packaging, but the third strike is to buy what you will actually use. I’ve been guilty for buying copious amounts of fresh veg in the past and practically watching it go soggy in the fridge as I haven’t had time, or planned out meals well enough to use it all. We should only buy what we need to use, and that’s that. It’s so satisfying to use something all up and not waste a thing, whether it be food, water, energy, clothes, or whatever, so let’s do that more.
Always Carry a Re-usable bottle
Such an easy one, and it will probably help you out with getting you to drink more water. Maybe switch it up to a re-usable coffee cup if you are more partial to the odd take-away coffee. It really upsets me seeing people still walking around with takeaway coffee cups all the time. They are such a waste in every sense of the word. If you don’t have a re-usable cup, but you have time to sit in and drink your coffee, then please do… you might even get a bit more enjoyment out of that overpriced latte.
Shop The Look:
Eat Less Meat
I am still very much a meat eater, so am by no way preaching here. It is a simple fact that the way we rear meat in the western world is not good for the planet. If we all eat more plant based food, we will probably be getting more much-needed nutrients into our bodies, and we are reducing our meat intake. If everyone did it, less meat would need rearing, and so on, and so forth.
You know the drill, taps off when you brush your pearly whites, lights off when you don’t need them- and obviously make sure you’ve got energy saver bulbs everywhere that you can. Wash your clothes at 30, take baths as little as your stress levels can handle- I know we all need them sometimes though so don’t beat yourself up for wanting one now and again.
I’m always trying to do better and I think we all should think that way. The lovely Soph at Soph Hearts has written a brilliant post detailing so many more great ideas than me on Effective Swaps To Reduce Your Plastic Waste, which you should definitely check out when you get a chance! Let me know any other tips you have for things to do to help the planet in any which way we can, I’d love to hear some more!