Choosing what to do for Lent is always a difficult decision. I’ve done the giving up chocolate and biscuits before, but this year I wanted a challenge and to make a wider positive difference to the environment.
Being more environmentally friendly has been at the forefront of the news, social media and our minds more and more in 2019 and I think that is a great thing! So for Lent this year I decided to try and make a more conscious effort to be ‘greener’. Obviously, this is a huge task so I focused on 3 main areas:
- Reducing the amount of single-use plastic I use.
- Decreasing the amount of energy I waste.
- Simply being more conscious and educating myself.
I felt like if I could make changes to these 3 areas it would be a pretty great start – we’ve all got to start somewhere!
Single-use plastic is definitely a big topic when it comes to the environment and there are lots of simple ways to make a change. One of the most shocking things I have learnt whilst doing this is that every single piece of plastic ever made still exists and will continue to for about 500 years- according to Green Peace.
Once I had read this I became really aware of all the plastic around me and it is astounding, I found food shopping particularly difficult for this. I obviously had to eat things that came in plastic, there really is limited choice, unless you can afford to shop for everything individually and fresh but even then there are environmental challenges.
Instead, I have made other changes like using a re-fillable water bottle and always using my own reusable bags. There are other things you can do such as using your own coffee cup (which can often get you a discount too!), not use plastic straws and just opting for things in sustainable cardboard packaging when possible.
When it comes to cutting down on electricity this one, for me, was more about just being conscious about the amount I was using. For example, I keep my phone charger on all the time and then charge my phone all night. This is wasting SO much electricity and I have tried my hardest to make sure that I switch things off at the plug to conserve energy.
Also, in the evenings I have to remind myself that I only need the one light on which is more of a challenge than you think! It’s surprising the amount of things we just leave on standby and never properly shut down. I think it’s something we are all guilty of, but just taking those extra seconds can have a bigger impact than you imagine.
Last up was just to be more conscious of the environmental impacts of my actions and to educate myself on how to improve.
Education really is key in improving our environmental impact on a global scale and I think the more we can learn ourselves, the better. The ‘being more conscious’ part was probably the most difficult challenge because when you open your eyes, you can see all the problems around you.
I enjoyed educating myself though and trying to implement as many of the lessons I have learnt as possible. This is probably the step that seems the most daunting and a little overwhelming because you can see there is so much to be done and so more you can do.
One of the most important things I have learnt from this ‘Going Green’ challenge is the little things can have the biggest impact and just talking about it can have knock-on effects. Nobody is perfect and I think it is extremely difficult to live an 100% eco-friendly lifestyle in 2019, but I’m hoping that it will get easier and more accessible as society becomes more conscious of their actions.
There are lots of resources available online if you want to learn more and remember that any change you make, no matter how small, is a positive one.
Why not start by finding some good eco Instagrammers to follow? @EthicalUnicorn and @kate_arnell are great, and remember when @palomaindisguise did an up-cycling tutorial for us? Comment any good resources below!