Earth Day, Every Day. 31 Easy Ways To Make A Difference 🌍

Earth Day, Every Day. 31 Easy Ways To Make A Difference 🌍

Patricia Afonso
Patricia Afonso
Apr 15th 2022

Earth Day may be celebrated every year on the 22nd of April, but we would like to think we can all strive to make it an every day act of care.

We know it can feel overwhelming - especially when dealing with other life and work demands. That's why this year, we want to encourage you to make one new change today by picking something that speaks to you and sounds manageable. Doing one thing today is better than doing nothing and we have a duty of care, both as responsible citizens and consumers.

To help you get started, we've listed some easy ways for you to make a difference. Although food consumption may have the biggest impact, there are many other easy ways we can care for our home and its future generation. By no means an exhaustive list, it's a collection of insights and tips that galvanise us at Planty.

Focus on making one change at a time, picking one of things today. It all eventually adds up. Plus, you can always revisit this list at a later date to find a new item to carry on your journey towards a more sustainable future. It's a process.

Reuse (or ideally avoid) food packaged in plastic

  • Buy your fruits & veggies loose rather than packaged

  • Choose food businesses that package in alternative recyclable materials

  • Opt for business offering carbon-neutral delivery

  • Avoid cling film to store food in jars or reused containers instead

  • Buy drinks (including wine) in plastic-free containers and bottles.

Avoid food waste by freezing or repurposing leftovers

  • Cut leftover bread in slices and freeze them to toast in the future, toss it in olive oil to make croutons for soups and salads, or blend into breadcrumbs to coat food

  • Use leftover rice to thicken soups or to make yummy arancini balls

  • Freeze leftover milk/cream/wine in an ice cube tray to pop individual portions when you next make a sauce or stew

  • Freeze berries (including bananas) to blend in smoothies or heat up as an ice cream topping

  • Donate leftover dry and canned goods by dropping them at your local food bank, supermarket collecting donations or food-sharing apps such as Olio

Swap animal products for plant-based alternatives and explore what works for you

  • Start by switching just a few more meals a week to plant-based options, it dooes mak a difference (if every family in the UK swapped just 1 red meat-based meal a week for a plant-based option, the environmental impact would be the equivalent of taking 16 million cars off the road)

  • Spend time discovering plant-based products in your supermarket and recipes with easy vegan swaps on our blog. Eating plant-based helps preseve our planet in so many ways including reducing water usage, deforestation, carbon emissions, animal suffering and more

  • Lean on the various plant-based milks and creams to make the most of each option and find what works best for you

  • Make the most of today's great variety and availability of plant-based alternatives to meat (whether tempeh, other soy-based vegan meat, or plants with a meat-like texture when cooked such as jackfruit, banana blossom, lentils, mushrooms.

Be mindful of your water consumption

  • Turn off your tap while you're brushing your teeth or applying your hair shampoo, and try to take shorter showers (the average shower in the UK lasts eight minutes and uses around 60 litres of water)

  • Drink water from your tap or if you like it sparkling opt for glass bottles or a soda marker

  • When doing your laundry, fully load before using your machine (one load uses approximately 40 gallons of water) and use cold water when possible (we all heard it's best to wash at 30, but did you know a lower-temperature wash is less likely to shake out plastic fibres? Plus, switching from hot to cold water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year)

  • Use your dishwasher if you have one, loading it to full capacity and scrapping any excess food off dishes (instead of rinsing them as it’s actually more environmentally)

  • When boiling water in your kettle, only fill it up with the water amount you actually need and re-use any leftover water to water your plants once it's cooled down.

Be smart with your energy consumption (your bank account will thank you too)

  • Rather than turning up your heating, add another layer of clothes or pop a blanket on your sofa

  • Don't leave electronic devices on standby and switch off your plugs whenever possible but especially before bed ( The Energy Saving Trust estimates that appliances left on standby cost the average home Β£80 a year)

  • When doing laundry, skip the dryer for air drying (this will reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing by as much as 33% and preserve your clothing quality for longer)

  • When buying appliances, consider energy-efficient options (look for Energy Star-certified products)

  • If budget allows, invest in renewable energy for your home like switching to LED lightbulbs (this can save up to 90% of your energy costs), a greener energy provider or solar-powered panels (remember you can start small with solar-powered garden lights)

  • Dim the lights or switch to floor lamps in the evenings for a cosy atmosphere (which also boosts your melatonin production for easier sleep later on), and always turn off your lights when leaving a room

Keep engaging and supporting those around you about the climate crisis

  • Approach the topic in a sensible and empathetic way so others are likely to more positively respond to your points (remember that most of us have a good intent but may also be dealing with tough work, life and monetary challenges)

  • Remember that it is a complex issue that demands a lot of learning (and unlearning) and can often feel overwhelming to tackle, so be patient and motivate change with positive dialogue and actionable insights

  • Borrow tools, books or clothes from friends, family, colleagues and neighbours as a good way to start the conversation, connect on the topic and lead by example (plus it will save you money too)

  • Support local and digital communities that offer greener choices by buying recycled goods (instead of new ones) for yourself and others from them, selling or gifting your own goods on them, and introducing others to their offering ( for example The Octopus Club is great baby & kids stuff, Nextdoor for items from neighbours, and Olio for food items).

Make your voice count as a citizen and as a consumer

  • Push for systemic change by voting and promoting greener alternatives, whether it's at work, where you live, exercise, participate in group activities and generally spend time

  • Support businesses offering sustainable solutions by becoming one of their customers (e.g. green bank) and by choosing the greenest options available (e.g. paperless communication, plastic-free utensils, reusable products), and highlighting to them or others why you switched.

Take a deep breath, pick one item to start with today and decide that collectively we can do this, and you will play your part. We hope this list helps you get started and energized.

For more inspiration, we recommend taking it from The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (2021) which provides a realistic yet positive outlook.

The future we choose

β€œWe have to wake up to the fact that we can choose our future and collectively create it.” Let's do this πŸ’ͺ🌍

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Patricia Afonso

Patricia Afonso

CMO at Planty

Patricia helps businesses, social ventures and individuals lead with greater clarity and resilience, so they can grow strategically. She's passionate about making a positive social impact and is also an EMCC-accredited Leadership Coach who helps people get more out of life. Food, nature and community keep her energized.

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