Trying to figure out how to make the most of your time at home? Author and environmental activist Natalie Fee says it’s the perfect time to reset some of our routines and make small changes to encourage more environmentally friendly behaviour. Below are some suggestions from the mind behind How to Save the World for Free on how to stay green during quarantine.
Don’t waste water.
With all this extra hand washing, we’re using a lot more water. Keep a bowl in your sink to catch the water as you wash your hands then use it to water your plants. Or with all that extra time on your sparkling (er, dry and cracked?) hands, add a bit of tea tree oil to it to wash your floors. When it comes to the loo, if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.
Additionally, when making those never-ending cups of tea, make sure to only boil what you need, as kettles use up a serious amount of energy. If you forget and overfill the kettle, stick the rest in a hot water bottle or in a flask for herbal tea later in the day.
Take up cycling!
If you’re avoiding public transport and tempted to jump in your car, don’t! If you’re physically able, get some panniers and get on your bike instead. Cycling is the perfect way to stay fit, get some fresh air and do some low-key, local shopping.
Take the time to research greener options
If you’ve got some ‘white space’ in your diary, block some time out to actually do some online switching of your heat or personal finances services. Switch to an ethical bank, switch to a green energy provider, and switch to an ethical pension.
Keep the heat off.
If it's not quite summer yet where you are (or heading into winter!) consider layering up to stay warm instead of whacking the heating on. Put some tights on under your jeans and wear a beanie or warm hat (maybe not when on Zoom or Skype, unless it’s a good look for you).
Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.
Stay away from the supermarkets, support the soil and support your local growers by finding and ordering an organic veg box. This is also a great way to make sure you eat seasonally and don't contribute to the considerable carbon footprint of food transport.
Don’t waste electricity.
If your apartment has enough natural light for you to work, don’t turn your lights on during the day. Remember to switch off your electricals at the socket (not the fridge or freezer, obvs) at night to save energy and money. And you’ll probably sleep better with the WiFi off anyway. “Alexa, stop listening to my conversations and using a shit ton of data to do it”.
Memorise your online workouts.
Learn some fitness routines online, then take them offline to save energy and data. Workout in your yard or garden, or head to the local park and jump around. Invite your neighbours if you’re going for a run or park workout, so long as you stay at a safe distance apart and don’t do any heavy breathing on each other.
Take this opportunity to rethink unnecessary travel.
If you’ve had any flights cancelled this year and aren’t rebooking, add that ‘saved’ flight as a pledge to the Flight Free 2020 campaign to make it count. And sign up to afreeride.org to put pressure on the government to introduce a flight tax once we’re all feeling better.
For those who are used to traveling often for business but are now accomplishing many of the same tasks over video chat, discuss with your company whether some of these trips could instead be handled online in the future.
On this Earth Day, we challenge you to choose a few small actions that you can do to make your own daily routine a bit more eco-friendly. For more ideas about easy green living, check out How to Save the World for Free and follow @nataliefee_ on Instagram or @nataliefee on Twitter for ongoing tips and ideas!
Read more tips on making small changes that make a big difference in Natalie's book, which we're selling for 25% off for a week starting today!
Click on the thumbnail below to learn more and use the code EARTHDAY at checkout to receive the discount.