“Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.”
With exactly 10 years left to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, I am starting the #MyGreenChallenge2020 7 Days, 7 Green Changes experiment for a more sustainable lifestyle and world. Today marks the first day of 2020, therefore making it the perfect time to set ourselves some meaningful and achievable goals.
Why #MyGreenChallenge2020 ?
We are all aware of the challenges that our planet faces. For example, plastic pollution, climate change, deforestation, natural resource over consumption etc., are changing the planet at an unprecedented rate. I want my children to live in a clean environment, experience forests filled with trees, birds, animals and swim in oceans brimming with sea life; not barren or waste ridden.
Last year I started to think about what I could do to make this happen. I cannot change every aspect of my life, but I can make changes that will have some impact. Then I read the quote, “Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world”. That is when the idea of #MyGreenChallenge2020 started.What sort of an environmental impact could we have if everyone chose a greener, more sustainable lifestyle for just one week of the year? #MyGreenChallenge2020 Click To Tweet
I do not know many people nor do I have a large following on social media. However, I do have the determination to do something on a grand scale. So I decided to put this post together in order to reach more people. I call it a challenge rather than a guide so people can rise to the challenge and make green choices for just 1 week of the year. Any week, any change as long as it takes place before the end of 2020.
What’s the point of #MyGreenChallenge2020 ?
If one person makes a change, it is a step in the right direction, but it does not make much of a difference in a world of almost 8 billion. If 10 others follow, it is still not effective, and will not be even if a 100 more made the change.
However, if the change made by this 1 individual starts to ripple, and we have 1000, 10000, 100,000 or even 1 million more making the same change, we will start to see an impact. So this is where #MyGreenChallenge2020 comes in. How many people globally will make the change for the 7 days, and how much of an impact will it have on the environment? I guess you could say Greta Thurnberg and her climate actions have inspired me.
#MyGreenChallenge2020 To Do List
Use the list below to get started if you are not green minded, but you are thinking about your impact on the environment. If you are already making green choices, this will be easy, in fact, take on the challenge and do something more radical.
If you decide to write a post about your 7 day challenge or talk about it on social media please use the hashtag #MyGreenChallenge2020. And please forward this challenge to as many people as you can.
If there are any analysts who can take the data and turn into a meaningful statistic, please do so. Let us see how much of a positive impact we can have on the environment by simply going green for 1 week of the year.
Remember, you can take on the challenge at any time of the year, any week, any change as long as it takes place before the end of 2020.
FOR 7 CONSECUTIVE DAYS, MAKE ANY 7 CHANGES FROM BELOW:
Below is a list of ideas you can select from to start your #MyGreenChallenge2020 week. If you have more ideas, feel free to follow them, it is entirely up to you:
Water, Electricity & Gas
- Winter: Reduce your heating system by 1 degree. Summer: Increase your cooling system by 1 degree.
- Keep lights switched off in unused rooms and corridors. Switch to LED light bulbs (they last much longer than regular bulbs)
- Avoid charging devices overnight. Charge them and switch them off before you go to bed.
- Use a clothes rack to dry your clothes instead of a tumble dryer.
- Use public transport, cycle, walk or car share for 3 out of the 7 days.
- Opt for green energy through your current supplier or switch to a renewable energy supplier (this of course will tie you in for a minimum of one year, so bear that in mind if you decide to make the switch).
- Time your shower on Day 1, then attempt to reduce your shower time for the next 7 days.
- If you take baths, switch to showers.
These small changes will reduce your water and energy use, therefore, positively contributing towards climate change actions and clean water scarcity.
There are some fantastic recipes online, especially Pinterest and Yummly, pick a few, plan your ingredients list, check what you already have at home, and then plan your shopping trip.
- Reduce your meat or fish consumption.
- Love eating ready meals? This week buy less.
- Visit your local farmers market. Opt for some locally grown fruit or vegetable, if available.
- Buy organic or select a product that has the Fairtrade or similar positive social impact logo.
- Take reusable bags when you go shopping.
- Opt for fruits and vegetables that are loose – plastic free
- Take a pack lunch to work or school.
- Go Veg for 5 of 7 days.
Buying local and globally grown foods will support farmers at home and abroad, reduce food miles for some of your choices. Going plastic free will aid in the fight against unwanted plastic consumption. Shopping for what you need and using it all up will assist in reducing food waste. These small changes will have a positive impact on climate change actions, plastic pollution and reduce food wastage.
Go Zero or Low Waste
- Bulk buy from whole food stores.
- Switch to storage containers instead of using freezer bags, sandwich bags or cling film.
- Opt for no straw or invest in a metal straw.
- Try eco deodorants or shampoo bars instead of conventional bottled products such as those found at Lush Cosmetics.
- Repair or mend rather than replace.
- Make your own skincare products such as face masks and scrubs.
- If you are due to buy a skincare or cosmetic product, go for one that is natural, organic and from a small business. There are some great ideas on Pinterest and Instagram.
- Carry out a wardrobe cleanup. You will find clothes that you have not worn in a long time. Start wearing them again, donate or put them up for sale.
- Online shopaholic? DO NOT PRESS BUY FOR 7 DAYS. Instead visit a thrift shop for bargains on secondhand clothes and shoes.
- Coffee on the go? Avoid disposable cups, invest in a travel mug
- Check the packaging of everything you buy. Look for items with minimal or no packaging. Recyclable packaging will have a recycling symbol with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- Start recycling if the services are available in your area (contact the local council for details)
- Shop local, visit the farmers market.
- Donate a small amount of money to an environmental or social cause of your choice.
- Volunteer your time at a local charity or NGO.
- Planning to redecorate? Try using an eco-friendly product such as paints or wallpaper adhesives. Buy upcycled or secondhand furniture.
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaning materials and chemicals.
By making small personal changes, less waste will go to landfill and less non-essential plastics will be generated. Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution. Therefore, by shopping less and choosing thrift you will reduce the impact on the environment whilst supporting local charities and businesses. You will support reduce, reuse and recycle without making big changes.
In the Garden
- Start composting at home. You should be able to pick up cheap compost bin online. Alternatively, try to make one.
- Reduce food miles by growing your own fruits or vegetables.
- Grow plants that are bee and butterfly friendly.
- Place a birdfeeder in the garden.
Although these changes are more long term, tending to your garden will encourage bio diversity. Growing your own food can be quite rewarding. You will find the activity relaxing and be proud of your accomplishment when you harvest your first piece of fruit or vegetable. Composting fruit and vegetable scraps will reduce organic waste going to landfill and provide you with compost that is enriched with nutrients ready for your garden.
Measuring the Impact
All I want from you is feedback at the being of the challenge and at the end of the 7 days. You are free to choose any week of the year.
At the start of the challenge let me know that you are in by responding either via twitter, Instagram or the blog and hashtag #MyGreenChallenge2020 I’m in with ‘name of country you are in’.
At the end of the challenge send me the same message and answer 4 simple questions:
- What did you change from the list below?
- Did you save or spend more?
- How did it make you feel, happy, sad, no difference?
- Will you continue with the changes, yes or no?
Send responses with the hashtag, # MyGreenChallenge2020 I’m in
A typical message would look like this:
Day 1 message: #MyGreenChallenge2020 I’m in England
Day 7 message: #MyGreenChallenge2020 , I’m in England, 1, 2, 5, 8, 17, 23, 32 save, happy, yes
In case you are wondering about your personal details. None of your personal information will be stored. When you respond back with the Day 7 message, you will become a number on an excel spreadsheet so that I can see how many took part and make some environmental sense out of it. Everyone loves numbers, so that’s what I will try and do. Use the challenge to see what impact we’ve had on the environment. The analysis of course will not be robust, but it will give an indication of how small changes have the potential to big impacts. That is it!
One last thing, this post is entirely my attempt to understand how small changes could have a big impact globally. None of the businesses mentioned in this post are currently affiliated with the challenge.
Here’s my #MyGreenChallenge2020 Day 1 message:
Day 1 message: #MyGreenChallenge2020 I’m in England
Good Luck with #MyGreenChallenge2020
Remember, you can start this challenge at anytime this year.