50 mini New Year resolutions to help the planet

40 mini New Year resolutions to help the planet

There are so many small easy ways to make a big difference to the negative impact we all have on the planet. We tend to see the beginning of the New Year as a new start with many of us deciding on New Year’s resolutions. So it’s the perfect time for us all to pick up some new eco-friendly habits for 2018 and beyond, whether you’re a dedicated environmentalist or completely new to the greener lifestyle approach.

Whilst I don’t have a specific New Year’s Resolution as such this year, I’m going to follow  Gandhi’s ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ mantra. And to do that I’m going to attempt to do everything on this list throughout 2018! This year, why not join me and try out some, maybe everything, on this list?

Here are 50 easy simple things we can do in the New Year to help out our lovely old planet:

  1. Start buying recycled toilet paper.
  2. Use reusable and washable cotton pads for all your cleansing needs
  3. Wash synthetic clothes with a Guppy Friend.
  4. Use Seventh Generation laundry cleaner, conditioner, toilet cleaner and washing up liquid.  It actually works and you can get it at Tesco!
  5. Buy recycled and recyclable brown wrapping paper for presents, not shiny plastic covered paper.
  6. Save all your Christmas cards to use as present decoration and labels next year.
  7. Refuse plastic straws in your drinks in bars and restaurants.
  8. Instead of going new, buy secondhand clothes from eBay or charity shops. If you must buy new, try to get clothes with natural fibres only.
  9. Try to reuse plastic containers and glass jars for storage. When you do throw them away, remember to recycle properly.
  10. Only use fabric shopping bags. Keep one at work, put one in your car, and one in each of your bags and keep one near your front door so you never forget!
  11. Walk, scoot or cycle to nearby locations (30 mins walk or less) in your town instead of driving.
  12. Buy biodegradable bin bags.
  13. Whenever you need to buy something new, first look for a secondhand or eco-friendly alternative. Check out the Good Shopping Guide.
  14. Start a meat-free Monday tradition or try Veganuary.
  15. Wash with vegan eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner and shower gel from Faith In Nature.
  16. Cut up old worn-out clothes and use them as cleaning and drying cloths. Use them as long as you can, just wash them every time they get dirty. Give up paper towels and short-lived kitchen cloths.
  17. Avoid using plastic cutlery, cups or plates.
  18. Buy a reusable coffee cup and ask the server to use it for your drink when you go to a cafe.
  19. Use reusable food wraps instead of cling film or foil to keep your food fresh.
  20. Drink tap water (get a filter if you don’t like the taste) and carry it with you in a reusable bottle.
  21. Start composting leftover food waste.
  22. When replacing your old washing up brush, buy this natural brush with a replaceable head.
  23. Make your next toothbrush a bamboo toothbrush.
  24. And combine it with eco-friendly toothpaste.
  25. When grocery shopping, opt for drinks, ingredients and sauces in glass jars/bottles whenever possible.
  26. Buy loose vegetables and wheels of cheese without packaging.
  27. Or shop at your local farmers market.
  28. Give up using tissues and opt for a washable handkerchief with pages.
  29. Stop using balloons and sky lanterns.
  30. Use eco-friendly craft tape instead of sellotape.
  31. Start buying lip balm in metal tins.
  32. Try out oat milk or almond milk instead of cows’ milk.
  33. Repair things when they break.
  34. Give away clothes and bric-a-brac to charity shops instead of throwing them away.
  35. If travelling a long distance, consider public transport. Book in advance and check all the times to save costs.
  36. Ask around at work about carpooling with colleagues who live near you.
  37. Start buying films and music in downloadable form and give up CDs and DVDs.
  38. Pick up litter that you pass on your travels, use one of your spare fabric bags! Then recycle it or bin it properly.
  39. Wash clothes when they are actually dirty, not after one wear.
  40. Dry your clothes naturally on a washing line or clothes horse.
  41. Change your light bulbs to LEDs.
  42. Unplug chargers and electronics when you’re not using them.
  43. Try to never buy impulsively.
  44. Get worn out shoe heels replaced at Timpsons.
  45. Use rechargeable batteries.
  46. Swap teabags for loose tea leaves in a reusable tea strainer.
  47. Have a pack lunch (use tupperware or a lunchbox, no cling film!) every day instead of eating out.
  48. Go for a walk or play a board game instead of relying on electronic entertainment.
  49. Always go for quality over quantity when shopping.
  50. Check where your food has come from (try to get as local as possible) and try to get fair trade.

 

Do you do some of these things already? Or do you have any other suggestions of small steps to take to become more eco-friendly? If you plan to have a go at these for the New Year, I’d love to hear how you get on!

 


I’m going to be renaming my blog soon, I’d love it if you could share some feedback on this in my online survey. It will only take you a minute, please take part here. If you have your own blog, I’ll share it in a later post to say thank you!

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Why our oceans are in deep trouble & how you can help

deep trouble blog image

Our oceans, the delicate systems that underpin all of life on Earth, face threats from overfishing, climate change, plastic, pollution, and development. But it’s not too late to act, there are things we can all do now, big and small, to help defend them.

Unless you’re a hermit crab, you likely recently watched Blue Planet II or have heard about the issue of plastic waste in our seas. It’s brilliant to see that these issues are finally coming to the public’s attention. The government has made some positive steps in introducing the 5p charge on plastic bags and banning microbeads. But there’s so much more we must all do because our seas face a whole host of different challenges.

 Overfishing

credit NOAA Science for Environment Policy
Credit: NOAA Science for Environment Policy

What we see now always becomes the new norm. This means we struggle to fully understand how much things have changed. There are records of seas and rivers so full of fish that you could almost walk on them. Fishers and anglers I interviewed for my dissertation told me they remembered huge schools of fish that they never see now. They also said fish sizes were much bigger. The fishing industry has a short-term focus that is slowly but surely destroying its own survival. They catch as many fish as they can for profit, not caring about the byproduct (like turtles and dolphins) they catch on the way, the huge numbers of wasted dead fish dumped over the side or that they are not leaving enough for the next generation to thrive. Fish stocks have already collapsed in some areas with more predicted to go.

Industrial scale trawling by fishing boats is also a huge issue. Trawlers are dragged across the seabed like a plough destroying everything in their wake in minutes. Whole habitats and ecosystems vanish this way.

 Climate change

coral bleaching
Coral bleaching. Credit: The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Richard Vevers

The biggest victim of climate change is the oceans. On Blue Planet II we saw the desolation coral bleaching causes to our most biodiverse habitats. As average temperatures rise this will increase. Increased ocean acidification is another problem resulting in damage to the shells and skeletons of sea creatures and corals.

The oceans make up 70% of the planet’s surface. This has huge implications for the whole planet if the ocean warms further or is fundamentally changed. Sea level rise from melting arctic ice will permanently flood coastal areas and wetlands causing destruction, habitat loss and population upheaval. Complex changes in the sea’s chemistry and temperature could have unpredictable impacts on our global weather patterns. The ocean is a huge store of carbon dioxide and heat but it has its limits. As well as attacking life, acidification has the side effect of reducing the flow of sulfur out of the ocean into the atmosphere. This reduces the sea’s ability to reflect solar radiation, resulting in even more global warming.

Plastic and other forms of pollution

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We all know that plastic is a huge problem for our environment, especially our oceans. Plastic makes its way into our seas by getting into our waterways. Once there it gradually degrades into microplastics which build up in the food chain and result in the creation of toxins. Even before it gets small, marine life see plastic as food resulting in turtles, fish and birds eating pieces of plastic and plastic bags resulting in death. Plastic is a threat to all marine life and ourselves. We live in a throwaway society which results in huge amounts of unnecessary plastic getting into places it shouldn’t.

Toxins, chemicals and drugs also pollute our oceans as humans generally treat the sea as a giant bin. This can poison marine life and ultimately ourselves or cause unnatural effects. For example, hormonal drugs such as oestrogen have been proven to be changing the gender of certain fish.

Threats from development

CSIRO_ScienceImage_10801_Coastal_development_at_Surfers_Paradise

Not only do our seas face indirect impacts from our everyday actions but they also suffer from direct attacks. Our coastlines are desirable places to live and visit resulting in developments that destroy wildlife habitats. Things like light pollution have harmful effects on wildlife such as baby turtles who mistake lights for the moon causing them to head inland. Coastlines are also seen as prime places to build power stations such as coal and gas which pollute the nearby sea and coral reefs. Flood management schemes like dredging are also hugely damaging for habitats and wildlife.

 How you can help

just-keep-swimming
Credit: beyondblessedblog.com

It’s not looking good for our oceans. But there is always hope, we can still make a difference. Dory from Finding Nemo taught us that! There are marine protected areas which are proven to boost fish stocks and make marine ecosystems more resilient. So far 5% of the ocean is protected with plans to increase that. Fulmer gulls have less plastic in their diets than they used to. Methods to clear up our oceans have been invented. We are beginning to wake up to the impacts we’re having and we can all do something about it. Every drop in the ocean counts.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Use less plastic! Avoid packaging, opt for glass jars over plastic ones, use biodegradable bin bags, avoid unnecessary plastic like straws or cling film and use cloth shopping bags
  • Use a Guppy Friend whenever you wash synthetic clothes to stop plastic microfibres getting into our waterways
  • Don’t put wet wipes, cotton pads, paper towels, tampons or anything that’s not toilet paper (or your business) down the toilet. Use reusable sanitary products.
  • Stop buying and eating fish (especially tuna) or make sure you only get MSC certified if you must eat it. Remember the fish you are eating has microplastic in it!
  • Raise awareness by talking to your friends and family and sharing this blog
  • Support charities like Marine Conservation Society in any way you can, whether that’s through taking part in a campaign, donating or being a volunteer
  • Take part in Greenpeace campaigns to defend the ocean
  • Whenever you see litter on your travels pick it up and put it in a bin!
  • Limit your contribution to climate change by using less energy, travelling more sustainably, living a greener lifestyle and reducing waste

 


I’m going to be renaming my blog soon, I’d love it if you could share some feedback on this in my online survey. It will only take you a minute, please take part here. If you have your own blog, I’ll share it in a later post to say thank you!

Recommended reads: Christmas edition!

pexels-photo-704219
Trees are for life, not just for Christmas

Somehow Christmas is only 2 weeks away! For once I’m feeling pretty prepared and I’m happy that I’ve managed to source many of my presents and decorations from ethical and eco-friendly places this year. I’ve also been resisting the pressure to send Christmas cards to everyone I know and spending large amounts on presents. After all, it’s the thought that counts!

Christmas is such an astonishingly wasteful part of the year which feels wrong to me. Celebrating our loved ones or following religious traditions shouldn’t be a reason to multiply our already hugely damaging impact on the planet. So I’ve been scouting out tips and ideas on how we can all reduce our impact on our home this winter holiday.

Here’s a collection of advice, tips, shopping and ideas on how to have a greener Christmas. Some from my very favourite blogs to random discoveries. Enjoy and I hope you find some inspiration!

Changing how we do Christmas

Have a greener Christmas

Green gift ideas

 

Do you have any interesting Christmas traditions? How do you try to make your Christmas greener and more ethical?

 

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I’m going to be renaming my blog soon, I’d love it if you could share some feedback on this in my online survey. It will only take you a minute, please take part here. If you have your own blog, I’ll share it in a later post to say thank you!

Why I’m opting for a more minimalist life

Why I'm opting for a more minimalist life

A couple of months ago I had a stress tantrum. Amongst all the other life stresses, there were piles of laundry covering our bedroom, clutter adorning the surfaces, jewellery I never wear, too many clothes stuffed into drawers as I’d run out of hangers, random unwanted gifts on shelves, wardrobes fit to bursting.  A string of notifications flashing on my devices. I needed to escape the clutter in my brain and yet I was surrounded by it. For me, this moment was the final straw. It finally set me on the path towards living a more minimalist lifestyle, one I’d been fantasising about for a while. I realised I needed a simpler life for my own peace of mind.

Continue reading “Why I’m opting for a more minimalist life”

Recommended Reads: lab meat, plastic waste and rewilding

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It’s been horrifying to see how nature has been showing its wrath recently, from hurricanes to earthquakes. My thoughts go out to all those affected by these disasters. The only thing worse is the knowledge that with climate change being ever present, extreme weather events like these are only going to get worse.

Here’s the lowdown on some of the environmentally intriguing reads I’ve come across recently. A bit of a mix this time, they all gave me some food for thought.

Continue reading “Recommended Reads: lab meat, plastic waste and rewilding”

Nature’s Guide to Self-Care

Nature's Guide to Self-Care

I’ve seen a lot about self-care on my blog newsfeeds lately. The horror of recent events has been a contributing factor in the emergence of calls for self-care. Climate change, environmental destruction, terrorist attacks, war, natural disasters and Trump have all played their part in wearing us down.

I’m certainly one of those people that needs to take a step back from the outside world every now and then. Increasingly, I find nature helps to restore me to my default setting, a clear head and an optimistic spirit.

It’s scientifically proven that being in nature boosts your mental well-being and increases productivity and concentration. And the exercise that often goes with it is only going to be a good thing. So here’s an approach to self-care with a difference: nature’s very own guide to self-care.

Continue reading “Nature’s Guide to Self-Care”

30 Days Wild: Days 21-27

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Tufted Ducks at Rutland Water

It’s been a hectic week this one for us so fitting in wild acts around work and preparing for our holiday to Italy tomorrow has been a challenge! So this will be my last blog for 30 Days Wild in June but when I’m back from holiday in 2 weeks I’ll be sure to update you on the wildness we discover in Italy over the next 3 days.

Here’s the wild acts we did manage to squeeze in over the past week.

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Days 21-27”

30 Days Wild: Days 8-12

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Damselflies at Holme Fen Nature Reserve

Wow, the last 5 days have flown by and thrown up quite a variety of wildness, with us visiting new and old wild places, and seeing new and old species. Two of my biggest highlights of 30 Days Wild and a new favourite reserve have also come out of these adventures.

It’s been a busy few days so I’m a little behind with this 30 Days Wild update, so thank you for bearing with me. Here’s a few snapshots of what we have been up to!

Continue reading “30 Days Wild: Days 8-12”