Have you missed me? I have been terribly sick for the last several weeks and although i have recorded a couple of videos i havent had a chance to post them online yet. Having two differing systems of video processing doesnt help much either! :S when i get that sorted i will post the videos.
Anyway.... So it is that time of the year again where i get my bottom into gear and do a solid month of blogging. It may also help the Environment, which is another passion of mine, whilst sharing kindnesses.
I thought this year i would do it again.
I had to really think about what i wanted to do here. Things have been changing for me since last year and in someways i feel like i need to do more. In Australia, the government seems to be actively avoiding Climate Change conversations. It seems like the responsibility of caring for the earth, and all those that rely on it, falls on communities and individuals. If we want our kids to grow up in healthy environments we need to start paying attention to what it is that we are actually doing on a daily basis. are we doing anything that is harmful? Do we know what actions we are taking that are actually hurting the environment? Can our actions be changed to help the environment? I think every person has the capacity to change and live a more sustainable life.
What do i mean when i say Sustainable? Something is Sustainable when it is:
"* able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
* involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
* able to last or continue for a long time " (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sustainable, 2016).
The biggest problem we have is that we often dont know what natural resources are used to provide things that we use daily, or the impact we have when we are finished using these things. I know there are times in my life i have just not been aware of the problems that occur in our environment as a result. From using plastic bags, bottles and straws (which often end up in landfil and take thousands of years to disintergrate or end up in the tummies of animals), to paying attention to the types of food we are eating and knowing where it came from and how far away it came (the farther away something was grown from us, the more fuel that has to be burned to get it on our tables). The thing is there are lots of awesome simple things we can do to be kind to our environment.
You may wonder what any of this actually has to do with kindness. And the truth is... a lot more than you would think. Not only is caring for the environment and using sustainable practices a kindness to the environment, but also to generations of people who will be born on this earth after us. It also makes a huge difference to many people. If we care for our environment wisely we may be able to decrease the amount of toxins in the air, which will make asthmatics breathe easier. If we care for our waterways then the birds and animals that use it, and those who catch and eat those animals (or even use the water for sport) will be healthier and our animals wont die with plastic in their stomachs.
I know from doing 365days of kindness that one person can make a difference. And if a consequence of that difference means that someone has clean water to drink or clean air to breathe then I want to be part of that. There is so much we can do individually to make our lives more sustainable, to be kind to ourselves and the environment and to make a difference.
So i thought this year i would have a theme... everyone loves a good theme right?
"Live Simply, so others may simply live."
I was told this quote when i was about 13 years old. my youth leader at the time was very passionate about the environment (she still is too). She shared with us then the amazing things one person can do to make a difference. And she made a huge impact on me.
What does living simply look like? well, it will be different for everyone.
I have some amazing friends J &E who have retrofitted their house to be more sustainable. They grow their own vegetables, collect rainwater for the hotter months when water is in short supply, they have solar panels on their roof, they preserve their own food, they purchase second hand goods. E & J inspire me, because that is what i want in the future.
But not everyone has the ability to retrofit a house. Renters or apartment owners might struggle to do so much to their homes.
OR if you are starting off, all of that stuff might be too overwhelming. But dont be put off, it is all about taking small steps toward making the world a better place. A place where we can all live together, we can support nature and nature can support us.
One pit fall that i have fallen in to a few times myself, is feeling guilty. Even if, as we go through this month, you do just one thing and making one long term change you are still reducing the impact you have on the earth. And every little bit helps! :)
What i thought about adding this year was a little more that the last few years, i will give you a sustainable and environmental kindness, a kindness idea (probably loosely related), and then people who are working on the front lines to make lots of lives better (this will include charities, individuals, groups, TED Talks, videos and whatever else i can think about as i go along).
So i will give you tomorrows...
Sustainable September Day One: Use (or buy) a reusable cup or mug.
Why is this important? millions of Single use coffee cups, lids, spoons, etc end up in landfill everyday. When i was at work i used to get a chai latte most days, sometimes if i was lucky i would buy two. I alone would have easily consumed 365 cups of Chai per year. I have been drinking Chai for the last 6 years because I cant drink coffee anymore. And before that i started drinking hot coffee in my uni days. Some 4 years before that. Of course i wouldnt have a coffee/chai in a take away mug every single day, but other days i would have a couple of coffees/chai's in a day. So, in other words, the number of coffee cups really adds up. And before you all panic that this is what i actually did, then dont. It is mainly for demonstration purposes. Mind you, i am not completely innocent. For the last 3 years I have been using my Keep Cup to buy hpt beverages. Amazingly, i usually keep a Keep Cup in my handbag (i think i must have robbed Mary Poppins when i found my bag - its really so much bigger on the inside).
Kindness Idea: Buy a cup of coffee for someone behind you in a queue. Often when you buy coffees regularly you get membership cards or rewards cards. You can then redeem a free hot beverage when you have paid for a bunch of them. I often save up my free ones and give the card to someone who needs it. Or a friend who is having a rough week. It doesnt cost me anything but it makes a difference.
Front Lines: Suspended Coffee Movement. This one is an awesome front lines movement when it comes to kindness and to hot beverages (and also food). Starting a few years ago, this idea has blossomed. I follow the webpage and facebook page, but the most powerful thing i came across was a TEDx talk from the founder of Suspended Coffees.
Now i hope you can understand an Irish accent because their subtitles are off. comically bad but you should be able to make it out! :)
Okay, so i hope that helps kick it all off. Kindness is so important. Kindness for others, Kindness for ourselves and kindness for the earth.
Welcome to Sustainable September!
I will post again tomorrow.
ps. If you have any sustainable september ideas that you want me to look into, comment below. :)