One of the services I offer is help for individuals to create their personalised sustainability plans. At times when so many of us are stuck at home, it can be difficult to imagine how we can still make a change in the wider world. But sustainability begins at home. Each small, personal change we make really can make a big difference.
Here are some simple steps you can take to move towards a greener, more ethical and sustainable way of life:
1. Work on your Personal Resilience
When we talk about resilience, we are referring to both our capacity to cope (how well we can bounce back from setbacks) and wider resilience: our ability to rely on our own knowledge, skills and immediate resources to meet our needs. Learn, learn and learn some more. Skills building and gaining knowledge is crucial to making sure we can move forward in the right direction.
2. Boost Self-Reliance – Take a DIY Approach
- Grow your own food (in your garden or on a sunny windowsill).
- Remember you can also grow your own natural cleaning/beauty product ingredients, herbal remedies, crafting materials, etc… perhaps even fuel.
- Make your own compost, fertilisers etc. to keep your garden growing.
- Upcycle old furniture, clothing etc.. reuse a range of items that might otherwise be thrown away.
- Learn how to make do and mend – repair old items to make them last longer and give them a new lease of life.
- Take a DIY approach to your work life too – consider options for a new, sustainable business or freelance career.
3. Buy Less, Buy Better
Taking a DIY approach will help you to reduce your consumption, and withdraw your support for damaging systems. We should also:
Refuse to buy non-sustainable products. Make sure you know where everything you buy comes from. When we avoid known culprits and make better choices, we can change the world one purchase at a time. Refuse to accept packaging and other items that are not required, to put pressure on companies and big business who are not making the necessary changes.
For example, we should:
- Buy fresh, local, seasonal, organic food whenever we can. (And consider cutting down on meat and dairy consumption.)
- Make lists and stick to them when shopping to avoid overconsumption.
- Avoid single use plastic items, and choose plastic-free alternatives for common products.
- Choose sustainable, natural fabrics and clothing, rather than synthetics.
- Choose second-hand/ pre-loved/ vintage items rather than buying new wherever possible.
Of course, it is also important for all of us to reduce energy and water use in a range of small but significant ways in our homes.
Remember, the power is in our hands. Not only can we make small changes in our daily lives at home, we can also take back control by voting for those who promote sustainability, and by lobbying for positive change. But even when we are frustrated by the lack of progress around us, there is still a lot that we can do. The above are just a few examples of the everyday actions that can make a difference.