This week is Amnesty International’s Friendship week. It’s being celebrated at Tigs primary school using a Superhero theme, which is the perfect representation of solidarity, strength and survival. At the end of last year I picked up a book at the library ; Teach your Granny how to text, and the same week we watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary ‘Before The Flood’. Both of these sources left me feeling inspired to make a difference on my carbon footprint, even a tiny one, to make a positive impact. And it doesn’t even stop at environmental issues; we could all make a difference with a little bit of kindness and community spirit. I want to be a superhero, so here’s the things I’m thinking about doing to save the world.
Walk. It’s a novel concept, I know. I’m as guilty as the next person of overusing the car, but we do enjoy a stroll to our destination if if we can. Advantages include saving in petrol, parking fees and (this one might appeal even more) the ability to have an impromptu beer / vino, as well as, of course reducing carbon emissions hence saving the planet.
Cold? Pop on a jumper. An extra blanket on the bed. You know yourself there’s a fine line between too cold and boiling hot, and there’s nothing more ironic than having to open the window when you’ve spent a couple of hours warming up the house with central heating.
Turn thermostat down a degree or two. Imagine the combined effect if everyone did that? In a world of ever growing fossil fuel consumption, it’d be a small action with a big cumulative effect.
Wash at 30ºC. According to the soapy manufacturers we can do it, so we all should be doing it right?
Turn off the lights. One of my ‘I’m turning into my Mum‘ moments is when I hear myself holler ‘ Why is every light in the house on?”. Think of the power you’d save if you didn’t have every lamp on or the lights still on come dawn.
Don’t charge your phone overnight. This part in the book really resonated with me. As a blogger, and as a human being alive in 2017, our phones are our lifeline. As are our laptops, tablets, digital watches and activity trackers. They only take a couple of hours to charge, but yes I am guilty of leaving mine on charge all night. Every night. The impact per person is minute, but scaled up? Yeah, it’s a contributor to the global CO2 emissions.
Unplug unused electricals. It’s not just phones – anything with a pretty little standby light is using power. Especially things with those big boxy plugs – if you feel it’s warmth it’s clearly doing something? If you can, switch if off at the plug when not in use.
Don’t overfill the kettle. As someone singlehandedly keeping the british tea empire afloat, here’s one I need to sit up and pay attention to. It’s all about wasting power, and trying to reduce that waste. Whilst still drinking tea.
Love outdoors. In an age of deforestation and plastic grass, what better way to get your kids more green than by teaching them to love the garden, the woods, the park or the seaside. Let them grow plants, even plant a tree. Teach them young to respect the planet and the importance of horticulture for our future and our environment.
Campaign. With so many worrying political situations going on right now, we can all become activists. What matters to you? You just have to look at the likes of Mother Pukka and her #flexappeal campaign, or the thousands of women marching for their rights last month to see that it is possible. What do you feel strongly about in your area? What could you change for better? You can start small by signing online petitions at places like Amnesty international or Change.org, or even start your own.
Recycle. Long gone are the days of my childhood when recycling meant a trip to the dump. I love the way recycling has become part of our everyday lives and it saddens me when even with it being so easy, some choose not to use the systems in place. Come on, you can scrape that food in the food waste. And pop all those party bottles in a glass bank. It’s easy peasy.
Be a role model. Who better for your children to look up to, than you. Do the right thing, teach them the right way. If it feels a bit wrong, it probably is. Be the person you’d like them to be.
Give a dog a home. Or a cat. Or a ferret. Don’t support cruel animal trades if you’re thinking of getting a pet. With so many rescue animals in need of a good home, do the right thing. Get in touch with the RSPCA to find your nearest centre.
Stop with the stuff. Sometimes, the consumerism taking over my life makes me feel a little bit sick. I love the buzz of new things, but we (thats you and I) really need to question what we actually need. (Need; require (something) because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.) Hmm, do I really need that half price candle, or the bargain basement pair of shoes that will be too uncomfortable for me ever to wear…It has to stop. I’m filling up my own small landfill with unnecessary crap and don’t even get me started on kids toys / clothes / paraphernalia.
Find your community spirit. I didn’t think my area had much in the way of a community, until I placed myself within it. You can be cynical about youth centres, children’s centres, charity shops, toddler groups but if you let yourself see it, you will find your community. Be a good neighbour and look out for the vulnerable; pop in on them and make sure they know you are there for them should they need you.
Be kind. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Let go of gossip and negativity. Leave the bitching back at school where it belongs, actually, no – it doesn’t even belong there. Remember small ears are listening, and think about how you are perceived by those small eyes too. Live and let live, drop judgement and smile more. Offer your help, lend your ears. Talk, about the untalked. Depression, grief, worry, loneliness can’t be fixed over a cup of tea, but it’s a pretty good place to start.
None of these things are ground-breaking, but we all need a little reminder about the small things sometimes, and that most certainly includes me. I’m no supermum, but to my kids I am a superhero and I’m going to help save the world.