16 easy planet-saving ideas for the new green normal

We are in our second lockdown in a year and a half now, and I am rather enjoying it, having changed down a couple of gears to life in the slow lane, and ticking a few jobs off my list. I’m enjoying the peace outside and the chance for the earth to breathe again. One thing I always wanted to do was write a “green blogpost” which will hopefully motivate and encourage others to think outside the box in helping to save the planet from imminent climate change and destruction! There has been a lot of talk about the “new normal”, and it seems we are all still wondering what that is. Our first major lockdown after the pandemic hit made us stop and think, and maybe change a few things….for a while…but it doesn’t seem like there was any long-lasting reset at all. I kind of feel it was a missed opportunity to form new habits for many. Consumers just started consuming online instead.

Currently we have the perfect storm: a pandemic and climate change. We need to focus more on looking after the earth, cos we ain’t gonna have anywhere to live soon! Anyway, we can all do things better, and if you introduce new habits into your life slowly, it can make a huge difference. But we all lead such busy lives, sometimes you just need an idea to get started…

Here are a few tips and suggestions from me to you, in hope that you too can make some changes. Some you might already know, some might be new:

1.-Secondhand clothes shopping is huge right now. We really don’t need to be buying more clothes and shoes, just make do with what you have, or if you need more, go to the opshop and you’ll find lots of great clothes and great bargains. I generally find that the more affluent the area, the better the clothes are. There is a big trend towards opshopping right now, and long may it last!

2.-Regifting – all those useless gifts you received over the years can just be regifted, repurposed, sold or given away. Just don’t throw them out…one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

3.-Buy less plastic, especially toys that will just be broken and end up in landfill. Babies don’t need the latest plastic gadget. Put a few stones in a plastic jar and let it go wild, or give it a wooden spoon and a tin cake tin as a drum kit. I’ll say it again. Buy less plastic.

4.-Actually, just stop consuming as much…stop shopping and buying all that useless crap. Think before you buy. Do you really need those Chinese ornaments? Just buy stuff that is functional or serves a purpose – if you can’t get it/make it yourself, that is. The days of buying things just for the sake of it are well and truly OVA!

5.-Buy locally made products/food that doesn’t need to be imported, using all that fuel to transport them. Don’t buy foreign bottled water. Support your local ma and pa shops, and local markets.

6.-In my flat, when I need something – anything – curtains, trash can, bucket….I try to repurpose something first eg…I painted some baked bean cans and put plants in them, I painted a 10l plastic bottle and made a waste bin etc etc…get creative…there are plenty of ideas online….Before you buy, go through this thought process: Can I make this thing myself? Can I repurpose something instead of buying this thing? Can I get it secondhand? Recycle, repair, repurpose, reuse. Think outside the box. A chillibin/eski/cooler box, for example, can double as a bucket.

In Morocco old tyres are repurposed into buckets, earrings, plant holders etc. And they look amazing!

7.-Travel less. Everyone is dying to get on a plane and go travelling again. I get it. But do the planet a favour and try to fly less – take fewer flights/trips, and just stay a little longer in one place. Get to know the locals. It’s not a race to see who can tick off the most countries…anymore.

8.-Car share. Ride public transport. Get an e-bike… or any bike…get a community facebook group going and share rides – actually share EVERYTHING – lawnmowers, equipment – just about anything. No need for every household to buy the same stuff. Let’s make sharing a normal thing.

9.-Switch lights off. I know this seems obvious, but OMG, the amount of people who don’t do it! This is not just about saving energy (which is so important) but also important for migrating birds and night pollinating insects to be able to find their way. (BTW, have you noticed the huge decline in insect numbers? When did you last see a caterpillar, ladybird, or butterfly/moth?)

Did you know the planet is losing it’s night sky, and millions of kids will grow up not really being able to see the stars? For the sake of birds, insects and nocturnal animals, dark sky reserves are being created where there are no bright lights and strict rules around home and street lighting.

10.-Save water – another obvious one. Here’s a couple of things I do. When I take a shower, the water often runs cold to start with, so I put the shower head in a bucket and fill it til it runs warm. I use the cold water to flush the toilet or water the garden, or wash some clothes or whatever. Get a water tank and collect the rain off your roof. Shower less – it’s not healthy for your skin to be washed everyday (unless you stink, of course!) Saving water isn’t difficult, here are more ideas if you need them. Just do it.

11.-Don’t buy tupperware. So many things come in plastic, from ice cream to honey, all those plastic containers can be used to store cookies, pens, seeds…anything at all. And you can decorate the containers yourself if you like.

12.-Stop using chemicals. If you open a kitchen cupboard in any home, somewhere you will find a ton of cleaning agents for just about any cleaning job. Well, didn’t they do a great job marketing their nasty chemicals to you! You don’t want to be living in a toxic environment, (do you?) so do yourself a favor and get yourself some NORWEX cleaning cloths (or some other similar brand) and you won’t need 99% of those cleaning agents, all you need are the cloths for cleaning different surfaces and some water. These cloths do an incredible job. I don’t use chemicals AT ALL to clean my house, and it is spotless. No more chemicals, no more plastic, just the Norwex cloths. If you do need a little extra cleaning help, try vinegar, lemon or baking soda, which are all non-toxic and natural.

13.-Stop spraying toxic flyspray and that deodorizing flowery toilet spray (that makes your loo smell like someone crapped on the roses) in your home. First of all, we are running out of insects on this planet, secondly, they all have a role to play (did you know that blow flies actually pollinate plants? Yes, they do, so let them live!). And lastly, do you really want to be breathing that stuff in? Please stop poisoning your home!

14.-So you aren’t using chemicals in your home now, but are you smothering your body with all manner of chemicals? Moisturizers and deodorants? The skin is the bodies largest organ. There are seven layers of skin and each layer serves different functions. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it covers the body’s entire external surface. It has six functions: Controlling body temperature: The skin does a fantastic job of controlling body temperature and keeping it stable. Storing blood: The skin acts as a reservoir to store blood. Protection: Our skin is made up of very tightly packed, minuscule cells that produce a hardy protein known as Keratin. This protects the tissues inside us from heat, scratches, chemicals and any nasties that are floating around. Sensation: there are thousands of tiny structures known as receptors, which help us to detect sensation. Absorption and excretion: We can absorb certain vitamins, drugs (think about a hydrocortisone cream), gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide), as well as many other substances through our skin. Many of these are good substances that we need to live. Others can be harmful to our bodies. Excretion refers to the removal of waste substances from the body. Our sweat is one way we can get rid of these waste substances, so scrap the toxic deodorant you use and get a natural one. Vitamin D production: Vitamin D is produced when the sun’s UV rays hit our exposed skin. Vitamin D is used to help the body absorb calcium from the food that we eat.

Please only put natural moisturizers etc on your skin. I use coconut oil on my hair, I brush my teeth with it, and use it on my face as a moisturizer. I buy it in a glass jar. I also find small wounds (like the odd zit) heal really quickly overnight when I rub coconut oil on them. Coconut oil has tons of usages, you really should keep some on hand.

15.-And about your hair – try and do away with plastic. I know you recycle it, but the absolute BEST thing to do is to not buy plastic in the first place. I use shampoo and conditioner soap bars for my hair, eliminating the need for plastic bottles of shampoo. After I have washed and conditioned my hair, I put coconut oil on it. Your hairdresser might try to put you off shampoo bars, but that’s only because he wants to make a sale and cares more about vanity than the planet.

16.-repurpose your old clothes. I often wear my clothes until they almost fall off my back. Once that happens, I find many uses for them, here are some: use them as rags for washing the car etc, use them to stuff cushions or poofs, or tear them up and make your own twine (for all you DIY repurposing people, this is great and easy!). You can also donate them to charity or sell them online, or donate them to a secondhand shop. Pull apart an old knitted jersey and use the wool to knit something else. Save the buttons off anything you can’t wear anymore and make something with them or give them away. Or organise a clothes swap with a bunch of other girls and trade off your clothes – this is always fun, especially if you include some gin!

Homemade twine is really easy to make and has so many uses!

Finally – look after your community, get to know your neighbors (we might all need each other one day), practice acts of kindness and forget your first world problems, the planet has much bigger fish to fry (well, very soon it may not have any big fish!). Let’s do what we can for Mother Earth NOW. Make a difference. Before it’s too late. Maybe you can add some more ideas in the comments. Thanks for reading 🙂

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