On a typical day, how eco-friendly are you? Few of us wake up with saving the planet on our minds … and the truth is, we’ve often got so much going on in life that it’s easy to let our eco-friendly habits slip. Maybe we manage to keep a few green habits going when we’re at home, but we struggle in the office – or vice versa. Perhaps we’re good at remembering to switch off electrical appliances before work, but we often forget before bed.
Like many people, you might have a personal list of shalts and shalt nots for 2010. Alongside resolving to lose weight (after the excesses of holiday fare) and to save money (after the horror of your credit card statement), you may well have some eco-friendly resolutions (perhaps made when faced with that mountain of wrapping paper…)
As we all know from bitter experience, New Year’s Resolutions often don’t last beyond January. In fact, a recent study confirmed this: most resolutions fail, with 78% of us giving up. So if you’re making a whole host of great green promises to yourself – that you’ll never leave a light switched on unnecessarily, you’ll always buy organic meat, you’ll avoid excess packaging – then you may find that you’ve given up before long. Continue reading “Are Your Eco-Friendly Resolutions Doomed to Fail?”
It’s holiday season, and that means … parties! When you’re hosting a gathering, it can be easy for the costs to mount up – to your wallet, to the planet, and even to your sanity. Here are some ways to have a great time, without busting your budget, without suffering green guilt, and without getting stressed out. Sounds good? Read on (and don’t forget to add your own tips in the comments at the bottom).
During the busy holiday season, sticking to eco-friendly principles might be the last thing on your mind. You may well have developed great green habits in the office and during your daily routine at home – but Christmas often brings up challenges that you may not have thought through. Of course, you won’t want to spend hours dithering over the environmental pros and cons of every choice, and you don’t want to be the Christmas kill-joy who refuses to send cards or wrap presents – so here’s how to make sure that you and the planet both have a fantastic Christmas.
Does being eco-friendly sometimes feel like yet another “should do” on your long to-do list? Do you find yourself struggling to make consistent efforts to recycle, to conserve water and to be mindful of the environment? And do you sometimes feel like it’s just too much effort?
This isn’t a guilt-tripping blog. It’s okay to be honest with yourself and admit your eco-hating guilty secrets. None of us are perfect and, with so many causes and agendas to care about in the world (along with the day-to-day running of our own lives), it’s easy to struggle with environmental indifference.
Even when you’re feeling fired up about your green efforts, you might find yourself coming up against other people’s indifference. Maybe you’ve implemented an office recycling scheme, but people are still chucking paper in the trash. Perhaps you wish your partner would stop scoffing at your efforts to buy eco-friendly projects.
Here’s how to tackle environmental indifference — both yours and other people’s.
Pop quiz: Does a meal count as “dinner” if it doesn’t involve meat?
For many of us, especially in the west, meat is seen as a key part of dinner, if not lunch and breakfast as well. Here in the UK, “meat and two veg” is still some folk’s conception of a proper meal. Vegetarian options are seen as a boring alternative. Particularly amongst some men, not eating meat can seem dismayingly girly. Others raise worries about lack of protein, vitamins and iron.
Of course, much of this is nonsense. All the nutrients in meat are available from other sources – and there are plenty of tasty vegetarian dishes that’ll make you glad you went for something meat-free.
You might wonder why eating meat affects the environment – and you may also have questions about the personal benefits of cutting down your meat consumption. I’m going to address those in this post.
If you’ve recently woken up to green issues, you might be struggling to get your family to take an interest. Perhaps you’ve come home from work to find all the lights on again, and paper and cardboard is still getting thrown in the trash. Maybe your teens can’t see the point of turning computers and televisions off, instead of leaving them lazily on standby. You know that constant nagging isn’t going to help … so how can you get your kids switched on (and your lights switched off)?
Does Christmas creep up on you every year? Do you find yourself struggling through the mall with an ever-increasing armful of gifts, trying desperately to find the right thing for everyone? In the midst of a present-buying frenzy, most of us don’t stop to think about green issues. You could save yourself some time and hassle, though, by some savvy planet-saving shopping. Plus, even grumpiest relatives will struggle to find fault with gifts are designed to bring a little extra good into the world. So this Christmas, make sure it’s not just your tree that’s green…
How eco-friendly are your office or school supplies? If you’re a bit of a fashionista, you might be attached to your perfect notebook or your gorgeous collection of pens … even if you know they’re zero percent recycled.
Eco-friendly stationary isn’t all about dull browns and beiges any more. If you’re picturing rough recycled paper and flimsy envelopes, read on (and feast your eyes on some gorgeous images) for a sampling of today’s amazing range of recycled and repurposed stationary items.
And if you can’t resist getting your hands on some of these, there are links to various online shops at the bottom…
When was the last time you used — and threw away — something disposable?
Even if you’re trying to be eco-friendly, I’d bet that you’ve used something disposable in the last day. It could be:
A coffee cup
A ballpoint pen
Don’t feel guilty about this. It’s not just you: we’ve become a throwaway culture. Big business likes it that way, because disposable products mean repeat buyers:
In the late 1800s, with the advent of packaged biscuits (with brand names Uneeda and Iwanna) and paper shirtfronts (developed to satisfy demand for spotless whites from men without access to laundry), manufacturers began to realize the seemingly endless commercial potential of short-lived products. Freshness and brand name would be linked to lure repeat customers.