This photo collection on The Guardian website really got to me. I hate seeing things like this, but its important that we see them and that we remember that we’re all contributing to this destruction.But at the same time, we can all contribute towards stopping these things from happening. When they’re on a global scale like this, and so far removed from the life we lead every day, its hard to know what to do and how to help, and easy to become overwhelmed and assume that nothing we do makes a difference. But it does. And it doesn’t have to be anything big either. Here are five tiny things that anyone can do any time, to help make the world a cleaner, happier planet.
Buy recycled stuff
When you’re shopping, look for items made from recycled materials, or which have packaging made from recycled materials. You know the recycling symbol, right? It only works if we buy recycled products, therefore keeping the loop going. Protect the Planet has a great selection of gifts, but just google ‘recycled gift ideas’ and you’ll find loads. They’re particularly popular with children, who love the concept of something new being made from something old.
Pick up a piece of litter and put it in a litter bin
Create a bee-friendly garden
It’s become a well-known fact that bumblebee numbers are declining in the UK, mostly due to agricultural practices which have led to removal of flowers that are critical for bee survival. And no doubt you’ve heard the story that humans will die if bees become extinct. Hmm, whether we’ll die or not remains to be seen, but food production will prove harder as bees are responsible for pollinating 70 out of 100 crops that feed 90% of the planet. So yes, without them things could get tricky.
But if you have a garden, you can help. Native British flowers that are rich in nectar that will attract bumblebees and help their plight, as will wildflowers and herbs. I simply have an area of lawn that I don’t cut, which allows plenty weed-type plants to grow, plus I have pots of herbs. Deep flowers such as honeysuckle and foxglove are great, as are geraniums and sunflowers. Some of the best herbs are lavender, mint and thyme, and some good wildflowers to try are tufted vetch, red campion and honeywort. It goes without saying that pesticides should be avoided. Find out more about gardening for bees at the Bumblebee Trust.
Only put a clothes load on to wash when you have a full load, and use eco-friendly detergents; the ecover range is popular and I find works well at low temperatures; white wine vinegar makes an excellent fabric softener, and its cheap too. Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. Fix your leaky toilet and put a brick in the cistern so you won’t use so much when you flush. Install a water butt in your garden so you can use rainwater for your plants. Avoid bottled water and stick to the tap stuff (invest in a filter if you need to – cheaper, healthier and greener in the long run).
As for house cleaning, I use nothing but a spray made of white wine vingar, water and a squirt of washing up liquid. It works on more or less everything; I have a bottle of bleach for ’emergencies’ but I rarely use it. And cheap cola makes a fantastic toilet bowl cleaner! Just follow it with a wipe of tea tree oil as a disinfectant, and job done!
OK, nothing big and groundbreaking there, and none of the above will save the planet in itself but if we all made small changes like this, it would make a difference in the long run, and we’ll all feel better about ourselves if we know we’re doing our bit!
Do you do any of the above? Are you eco-conscious?