We all want to do our part to help the environment, right? But how do we go about this? Becoming sustainable is about your personal impact on the world and attempting to reduce your waste. Making more sustainable choices will not only help the environment but it might just help your spirit as well.
Becoming more sustainable is about
living closer with nature and
making a conscious decision to simplify one’s life.
Reducing waste and increasing one’s connection with nature will have many positives. A study in the U.K showed that just five minutes of working with nature each day had a positive impact on the participant’s mental health.
So how can you make these changes in your life? Here are a few tips:
Plant a garden
No matter where you live, you can plant a garden. No, it does not need to have ten varieties of vegetables in order to qualify as a garden. Gardens come in many shapes and sizes. Go to your lcoal garden supply store and speak with someone about plants able to survive in your area. I like family-owned small businesses with lots of persona experience with their products. Before heading to the store I suggest taking a few notes with you. Will you be planting indoors or outdoors? How much light does your space get each day? What direction is your space facing (north, south, east or west)? What types of things would you like to plant (flowers, succulents, vegetables)?
I also suggest that you create an idea of what you want your garden to look like when it’s done. Will it be a vertical garden, a fairy garden or a full-fledged vegetable garden? If you decide on a vertical garden, I suggest you utilize recycled materials to grow your plants. Many thrift stores have pots you can purchase for cheap and you can often find pallets for free. Don’t be afraid to create your garden using unique items. Show your own style and creativity!
Furthermore, you can reuse items to grow your plants instead of throwing them in the trash. Clear lidded to-go boxes from your favorite restaurant, empty two liter soda bottles or coffee cans can be used as pots. Doll these up with a bit of paint or stones in a mosaic pattern. Your family and friends won’t even be able to tell you grew your garden with the help of what others may call garbage.
Save Water & Compost
Once you have created your garden you will need to feed your plants. Why not utilize Mother Nature and feed your plants naturally instead of spending money on a sprinkler? You can actually save water from all sorts of cooking and cleaning for other purposes. Using water left over from boiling eggs, noodles or potatoes can help nourish your plants. Make sure not to unintentionally kill your garden by using cleaning water full of chemicals. To help save water, remember to take shorter showers. Just cutting off two minutes of a daily shower can help save ten gallons of water each day. Or purchase a water saving showerhead.
Composting is also great. There are hundreds of small compost bins available for sale. Or, with a bit of ingenuity and the right materials, you could create one that fits your needs. If you live the in the city and don’t have room for a bin, look for local companies that have a pick-up service. Some of them will also trade you composted soil to use in your container gardens.
Get crafty with Upcycling
As suggested throughout this article, you can reuse many household items that are often tossed away. People often forget about things such as clothing or sheets. Do not be afraid to get a bit crafty and find out ways to utilize these items so you can enjoy them repeatedly. For example, you can tear up old sheets into long strips and use them to crochet a new blanket or rug. You can also cut squares out of your old t-shirts to sew into a quilt. My Girl Scout troop used t-shirts that were too small (but they loved the designs) and made them into cloth bags. One of the girls took a favorite sundress from when she little and made it into a purse.
If you do not have time to reuse or renew these items, you can recycle them by donating to your local thrift store.
These are just a few ideas on how to become more sustainable. If you only choose to do one or two of these things you are still helping to lower your carbon footprint and possibly increase your mental health as well. Just remember that there are tons of other ways you can become more sustainable. So go out there! Do something beneficial for both you and the environment.
Looking for more ideas for your organization? Ask Michelle to come speak to your local group.