By no means the most comprehensive guide to going green, below is my 10 lazy steps to greener living; which can be done in any order and skipped over as you so choose. You may even find it easier to create your own. Hmm…who am I kidding? It really is just easier to follow these:
1. Know your facts
You may find that it easier to start something with an ounce of conviction, when you have some facts and figures to back up this new assertion of effort. Plus you seem slightly more rational when friends ask you at dinner why you’re scraping your leftovers into a pre-labelled freezer bag …
What is the current figures for worldwide food waste? How sustainable is our current agricultural system? What actually is the deal with Climate Change these days? Why can’t we just empty the sea of fish and start filling that up with our old, unwanted year old smart phones?!!
To make it a tad easier for you, I spent one very lazy afternoon doing some research into sustainability – so go check out my Facts and Stats page for your lazy research now…
2. Grab yourself some allies
No, I don’t mean blackmailing your best friend to buy a city farm with you, or forcing your children to use their old homework books as “recycled toilet roll”. Having a friend who is interested in green living too, or could be easily convinced, is an easy way to keep you on track. Just think, if there’s two of you finding out info and trying out new ideas; more hands lead to light work!
I’ve found having a friend who went vegan with me not only meant I wasn’t the only one being awkward at a restaurant when we went out, but she always comes up with the best recipes; so I don’t even need to bother!
3. Bookmark the easy links
My internet taskbar is my own personal library of lazy green living. See something on twitter? Bookmark it. Come across a handy website in a magazine? Search and bookmark it. Discover a witty blog about a lazy girl attempting to go green? You get the picture…
Hoarding might be frowned upon, but the more you load up your taskbar with shortcuts to the sites you find helpful, the easier it is to sit back and chill! I’ve even started it off for you with my Lazy Links and resources page
4. Switch your shopping habits
I hate clothes shopping, but love food shopping. That pretty much sums me up as a person! You may love or hate shopping, but I’m almost certain you don’t enjoy wheeling a wonky trolley through a busy, offer laden supermarket? So don’t go! It’s as easy as that!
Buy online, buy locally, get it delivered from the farm up the road; it’s honestly way easier that getting in your car, wheeling a trolley around, loading up the car etc. Then not only are you saving time, petrol, carbon footprint (more on this later) and money on things you have been tricked into buying; but you also put your money where your heart is and eat local, seasonal and ethical food. Win win!
5. Set a waste challenge
When I was a teenager and I had to wash up for my pocket money, I made a game of it and pretended I was competing against an invisible contestant to see who could wash up faster. The dishes were never that clean, but the challenge of it made the task slightly more enjoyable.
The same tactic can be used for going green. Why not set yourself a waste challenge to help you think more about what you consume and throw away? Maybe you could set a target for the amount of things you will throw away in a week and if you exceed it, forfeiting the bottle of wine you have been looking forward to as a weekend treat. Or, if you are really brave, try going a year (or even lazier, a week) without buying anything – like Jen Gale from My Make Do and Mend it Year. Might seem crazy but think of the money and time you will save in buying AND throwing things away!
6. The famous R’s – Recycle, Reuse and Reduce
Now, I know I may be lazy and forgetful; but even I know what the three R’s are. What’s that? You don’t? Well, I bow down to you and hand over the Queen of Laziness crown!
But in all seriousness, Recycle, reuse and reduce are pretty self explanatory; and are like the holy grail of the waste world. It’s pretty simple:
- Buy less so you waste less
- Recycle the things that can be
- Reuse the things that can’t
The Three R’s are now my mini mantra (replacing “must. eat. chocolate”) and It’s working out well for me. Check out this cute little website with some cheeky little cartoons about Recycling: www.recycling-guide.org.uk
7. Explore new horizons
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “alternative” on you and suggest you swap paracetamol for Chinese herbal concoctions, or start foraging all your food from your local hedgerow (yet…); but broadening your experiences is the best start to a greener lifestyle.
I’m pretty open minded and easy going, but I find it hard to keep quiet when someone says “Oh, no, I couldn’t live without…” or “Nah, never tried it and probably never will.” I mean really? Are you so addicted to meat that you can’t try one meal which uses vegetables or tofu? Are you that brainwashed into buying the same things from your local supermarket that you are too scared to walk into your local health or world food shop? Even I’m not that lazy!
Try something new, something undiscovered, something scary! If you don’t like it, fine, but you may find that substituting your usual habits for new greener ones is actually quite fun and exotic! If you want to see me put my money where my mouth is, keep an eye on my own Green Journey.
8. Get all trendy and cool with it
Gone are the days when a sparky, slightly eccentric herbalist was burned at the stake for being a witch. Nowadays being green is almost cool! Embrace the funkier side of Green living and check out all the fun cafes, groups and events happening nearby. Obviously if you are living in a bigger city like London, the options are endless and you are almost certain to find a healthfood shop, eco/veggie cafe or allotment group within a 3 mile radius (total guestimate by the way!); whereas being more rural needs a little more research.
Green City Events in Cardiff, for example, hosts awesome events including foraging, urban bee keeping, composting and caring for ex-battery hens. In fact, I even organised an event with them back in 2013 as part of my work for The Big Lunch as a pop up free workshop day with lots of local “green” organisations.
9. Take it easy
Whether you believe in star signs or not, I’m a typical Gemini who loves change, excitement and a challenge. I get passionate, enthusiastic and kick into action. Then weeks, days, or even minutes later; I’m back to my lazy old self!
My solution? Take it easy. When I decided to go green, I stopped myself from transforming myself over night and worked on the small stuff. One week I started collecting food waste for compost, another I changed my food shopping habits, one week I did nothing different, and then the next I started taking my own drinking bottle around with me. Small steps are easier for our lazy minds to handle, and means we are more likely to keep it up. No one changes their whole lifestyle in a day and keeps it up!
10. High-five yourself regularly
We all slip up from time to time. It’s natural – as a lazy human – to have days when you Just. Don’t. Care. and you want to buy that bottled water, or run an extremely long bath (and stay in for less than 10 minutes). But don’t forget to high five yourself for the stuff you do achieve.
I’ve learnt that I am way better at kicking myself for my mistakes than congratulating myself for my achievements, and a living greener lifestyle is just the same. You are also more likely to give it up if you think you’re just not cut out to do it.
So remember to stop and think of all the things you do to look after the planet. You may never be able to do everything greener, after all….you are lazy like me!