Eco

As a kid, I wanted to be a superhero that fights bad guys.

Then I grew up to realise that I couldn’t fly. Damn.

So how can we be our childhood heroes & help save zi’ world? I could tell you to volunteer abroad, foster a dog or to give up on civilization altogether and join a hill tribe.

I’m never going to be a barefoot forest dweller called Theresa Green or Ivana Makepeace — and look like this weird chick:

Yeh, she’s weird, isn’t she?

Without coming across like an organic-hipster-vegan-tree-shagger, I (try to) make a conscious effort to be eco-friendly to our world.

But let’s be realistic, most of us have busy lives.

You don’t have to whip your bush out to tap into Mother Earth’s rhythms. There are many micro-activities that you can incorporate into your everyday life.

Here is my lazy and modern guide to saving the world:

Recycle

The amount of waste that currently permeates our planet is a good starting point. Let’s stop throwing reusable things into landfill. And no, I’m not asking you to be a hoarder. It’s the opposite: sell, donate or recycle.

Sell it: eBay and Gumtree are my handy friends, I started selling things online as a young’un and I learnt how to turn it into a good secondary income. It’s a win-win situation: earn pocket money and reduce waste. Before you put it in the bin, ask yourself, would someone buy this?

Can’t sell it? Donate it. Wherever I live, I look out for my nearest clothes bin or charity shop. I usually hand in bits on my way to work or on the way to town at the weekend. You can also pop your items in those clothing bags that you get through the door. Donate barely used makeup to Give and Make Up which helps women escaping domestic violence. Send your used stamps to the Royal Institute of Blind People (they can sell them by the kilo and raise vital cash). Recycle your old ink cartridges to Tommy’s which funds research into miscarriage and premature birth.

Recycle: Freecycle is an amazing recycling site. The best part about it? People will come and collect your items from you. If you have an old wardrobe, desk, blankets, anything, stick it online. You could be helping someone out: whether they’re a DIY Guru, just moved into a new home or are looking for supplies for their business, you’re helping out your community in a cost-effective way. Swish: swishing.com, swishingparties.co.uk, bigwardrobe.com are great sites to find your local clothes swap parties and any clothes that don’t get sold go to charities like Cancer Research UK. Oxfam & Save The Children has some of the best of pre-owned designer fashion, I’m always surprised when I browse their online sites.

Plastic

You may have seen the video of the turtle with the straw up its nose. When you think about it, it’s easy to reduce your packaging intake. Do you need a plastic tea stirrer or plastic knife & fork? And yes, I’m just as perplexed as you are about having to pay 5p for a plastic bag. I’m from an Asian family; we reuse plastic bags for everything. I was outraged because I genuinely do reuse them. But the government does have a point; plastic bags are not biodegradable. We, as a nation have learnt to use them even when we buy a small chocolate bar. By sticking your items in a reusable bag, we will save millions of tons of waste — 32 million tons.

Apps

Download an app which supports causes like the Cancer Research UK Genes in Space app, every time you play; you’re contributing to the development of spotting DNA data which will help scientists in their research.

The Charity Miles app encourages users to raise money for charity every day as part of their usual exercise daily routine like walking, running or cycling.

If you like playing games on your phone like I do, the My Life As Refugee app is an educational download. Based on real-life experiences of families torn apart by conflict; It raises awareness of the plight of the refugees and gives you insight into the work that UNICEF does.

Clicks: For every donation you make online, Google will match it on One Today.

Hungry?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy eating meat. Meat is (scientifically) nutritious for you. Our species survived by eating it. If you read my blog regularly, you will know how much I love food and ah, burgers. Err sorry, got a bit distracted there. Anyway, in today’s world, we don’t go hunting for our food anymore (looking for the half price in the meat aisle doesn’t count). Today, due to the high demand, we have very advanced industrialised animal agriculture. Meat production has caused the cut down of 260 million acres of forest, and it’s responsible for a high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. These reasons mentioned, are only a few reasons why Veganism is growing. I have realised, I do eat a f**k load of meat, so I’ve cut back. I won’t tell you to be a Veggie or Vegan (unless you want to), not because I’m not — but because it’s your choice. Just be aware of your intake. Fred, the photo bombing deer, (behind me), agrees.

Food waste

Surprisingly, lots of people don’t know the difference in food expiry dates.

Best before: it’s preferable to eat said item before that date, but it won’t kill you.

Use by: throw it out mate, by the stated date. None of that ’30-second rule’, none of that ‘but it looks fine’ biz, no buts, just no.

  • Crush old bananas and make muffins.
  • Didn’t finish that roast chicken? Make a hearty pie or curry.
  • Make a yummy fruity smoothie when you’ve got bits of fruit and veg that are on the verge of going off.
  • Heading off on holiday? Throw all of the remaining veg’ into soup, create stock or cook stir-fry.

Places like The Real Junk Food Project are great; they are ‘pay as you feel’ cafes, this concept is growing in the UK, the money they raise goes to homeless charities, you can volunteer or donate. Check out a spot near you.

When I go for a meal, and I can’t finish it, I always ask for a ‘doggy bag’. Then if I see a homeless person, I leave it beside them. If I don’t see anyone, I put it in my fridge and have it for lunch.

And that’s that!

See? I didn’t even have to tell you to egg a politician.

You’re welcome.

Superheroes, feel free to comment any of your tips to share with my lovely readers, I’d love to hear them. Monica x

 

Location: Zi Planet

Real location: Richmond Park, London

Photographer: Hattie Day at Wild Young Minds (FB here)

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