What the world needs right now is a system change. Most people agree that we definitely can’t continue with the ways of our past and the way of our future just isn't happening fast enough.
2020 has just kicked off and gym memberships are purchased to left and right.
Many people feel like a new year offers a fresh take on things and an opportunity to get rid of bad habits and begin entertaining some new good ones. Since this is not only a new year but a new decade – we figured we could aim a little higher.
One of the main ideas behind A Good Community is to inspire people to do more in their everyday lives. We know that not everyone can afford their own solar-panels or electric cars but we can all do something to contribute to a greener way of life.
"What difference do the efforts of one person make?"
This is where we all come in. What is needed in the world right now is a system change. Most people agree that we definitely can’t continue with the ways of our past and the ways of our future just isn't happening fast enough.
An entire world is following the climate-related horrors affecting our planet as we speak. Leaders are gathering to try and agree on measures to be taken and more than one generation has been inspired by the fervour and persistence of Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. For this momentum to be maintained we need that system change and we need it fast.
But how does a system change come about? The answer: through individual change, engagement and drive.
Imagine the impact we could have if we all changed just a little for the better.
So, let’s start off this new decade with some well-needed new decade-resolutions for the coming ten years. We have compiled a list of 10 things you can do to contribute to that much-needed system change:
1. Get engaged!
Not necessarily to each other but in the issue of climate change. Signing petitions, contributing to organisations fighting for the climate, sharing well-written opinion pieces on social media debating the issue can all make a big difference compared to just worrying in silence. There are many ways to get engaged in the issue of climate change and not all of them include school strikes or going off the grid. More people raising their voices sends a strong signal to our politicians: the time where climate action could be bumped down on the agenda is over.
2. Become a vocal consumer
On the same topic as getting engaged, let your local grocery store know what products you like to buy. You can do this by buying more locally produced, biodynamic and ecologically produced goods but you can also talk to the people in the store or send the manager an email. Stores are driven by demand and if enough people demand a certain option it will almost inevitably end up on the top of the store owner's agenda.
3. Demand more from your bank or insurance company
Financial institutions like banks or insurance companies all make investments in different companies. With a few easy measures you can find out if those are in fact sustainable and responsible investments. If the aren't – break up with your bank and don't forget to let them know why.
4. Stay away from e-commerce returns
This is a major climate footprint generator. In our team, we have all stopped ordering things online with the intent of sending a great deal of the products back. Online returns are a huge problem. According to Statista, in the UK, as an example, 40 % of the population has at one point or more during the past year, returned a product that they bought online. That’s more than 26.5 million packages. In Germany, that same number reaches a staggering 43.7 million. That’s a serious amount of mindless CO2-emission.
5. Try to avoid last minute gift shopping.
This will enable you to go through second hand options such as online auctions. If we're being honest, their birthday has ben the same date for years, it's super-predictable. With a little more planning you can be a conscious consumer.
"If we're being honest, their birthday has ben the same date for years, it's super-predictable. With a little more planning you can be a conscious consumer."
6. Reduce your average amount of plastic
This is a game-changer. Ever since we made our Plastic-free store experiment (viewed over 2.6 million times!) we can't stop thinking about this. Sure, we used to bring our own bags from home when we went shopping (most of the time) even before we emptied the grocery store from all products wrapped in plastic, but after spending almost 15 hours removing plastic from the shelves we can think of little else.
One thing we have started doing is ditching the single use plastic bag for fruit and veggies and just putting them directly into the shopping basket. If you are worried about hygiene, you can always give them a scrub with an environmentally friendly fruit and veggie-cleaner when you get home. Imagine how much plastic we could reduce if we just got rid of that single habit!
7. Review your food habits
This one has been around for a while but still applies. If you're not up for switching to a vegetarian diet over night, you can still make small changes to your weekly menus that can have a great impact. Try making that pasta with a local mushroom instead of meat or make your morning sandwich with local vegetables and spices instead of ham or sausage.
And that's another thing to contemplate. Maybe we don't need strawberries all year round (although they are of course delicious). Next time you're at the grocery store, take a look at what is actually in season and what has been transported from across the globe. Maybe dedicate two days a week to eating locally produced food? Start there and see how it goes.
This is a game-changer. So much money and energy is wasted on waste – literally. Try giving yourself little rewards for recycling, we tried this for a month and it really worked. More on this in a separate feature coming soon!
9. Ditch the car if you can
We know this is difficult if you have a large family with many activities and maybe live in the countryside. Not everyone has the same conditions to consider.
BUT – try doing it once a month or even once a week and give yourself a reward for replacing the car with public transportation.
10. Save water
The final top 10 tip for the new decade is something that has likely been on all of our minds given the news cycles of the past months. We see cities around the world suffer from water shortage and then it's on everyone's minds for a couple of weeks until another breaking news feature takes its place. We think it should stay on your mind.
Things you can do to save water:
- Shut the faucet while you're brushing your teeth with your bamboo toothbrush.
- If you only have a few items to wash, wash it by hand the good-old-fashioned way instead of using a washing machine.
- Have a think: does the entire piece of clothing need washing or is it just a stain that you can easily remove by hand and save some water?
- Get a water-saving shower head OR take shorter showers.
- The last one might sound strange to some people but we'll be the first to admit to this super strange habit in the past: Stop throwing the odd piece of paper in the toilet (from blowing your nose or using it for makeup-related purposes) and then flushing. An average older toilet uses about 12 litres (or 3.17 gallons) and in some countries the toilets flush with drinking water. That's 12 litres of perfectly drinkable water literally going down the drain.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
If you are up for the challenge of doing all of these things – please let us know how you get on.