Author: Elise Catterall
According to Elise when fear or anxiety builds, the best way to deal with it is through actions that make a difference.
With the devastating bushfires happening in Australia right now, with the terrifying spectre of many more to come during our hottest, driest season of the year, and with the strong consensus that these abnormal fires are driven by climate change, my eco-anxiety is off the charts right now.
It is well known, and I have certainly learned that it is true over the course of my ‘eco-journey’, that when fear or anxiety builds, the best way to deal with it is through action. So, with summer now upon us, I am making a list of actions will hopefully make a difference and divert eco-anxiety into something positive. Of course, it goes without saying that even if you don’t have eco-anxiety, these tips for summer are worth adopting for the sake of the planet.
- Choose and apply sunscreen wisely. We want to focus on covering up and choosing shade, and only buying and using eco (and human) friendly sunscreens. Read more about that here.
- Opt for using your fan more than your air conditioner as they use a fraction of the energy.
- Take cooler, shorter showers – it takes far more energy to heat water, and we waste so much waiting for it to come to temperature. If it’s hot outside, go for a cool shower – your body, the planet and our water reserves will thank you for it.
- Use your blinds/curtains. This works in two ways – closing them keeps out direct sunlight, keeping the house cooler; opening them (say early in the morning, before it gets too hot), lets in the abundant summer sun, lighting our homes, removing the need for indoor lights.
- Be mindful of water use – consider these tips from Nature Australia to help conserve our most precious resource.
- Use reusables – especially water bottles. This means being prepared. Thirst can strike more often and more strongly in hotter weather and it is all too easy to buy bottled water; being prepared with your reusables can prevent that. And remember, if you have old water in a water bottle, use it to water plants or keep it handy to wash hands, etc.
- Get out of the kitchen - but consider a homemade picnic not a takeaway – with reusable utensils and containers, of course. Get out and enjoy nature and friends and family.
- Walk and bike while the weather is fine – for transport and recreation. So many benefits!
- Eat salad! The perfect easy, light and tasty summer food, especially now that we know how important it is to embrace plant based eating for the sake of the planet. Check out this collection of Taste’s top 50 salad recipes!
- Summer is the season for seafood, but it is important that you choose sustainable options. To make that easy, GoodFish has developed a guide to sustainable seafood as well as a list of sustainable seafood restaurants.
- Leave no trace at the beach/park, etc. – even better, take 3 for the sea and while the weather is fine, consider doing a beach clean-up, or go plogging.
- Go op shopping for your summer wardrobe
- Support your local eco-system – try to ignore or appreciate the many critters that hang around in summer. Put the chemical sprays away. If you can ignore them, look for eco-friendly options for insect repellent like these at ShopNaturally.
- Plants can help improve air quality, which is especially important during bushfire season – embrace that and bring them into your home.
- Unplug – put the phone, tablets, computer, etc., down. You will reduce the amount of time needed and regularity of charging, plus you can enjoy life, IRL (in real life). And make sure you turn those devices off at the wall (and all other appliances not in use) – better for the environment and better for your wallet.
- Look for sustainable sunnies. Sunnies and summer go hand in hand. If you are like me and lose several pairs a year, it is even more important that you make good choices. I love Dresden for all my frame needs, including sunglasses, but there are many companies making eco-friendly sunglasses. .
- Look also for sustainable swimming cossies – I love the slow fashion approach of Salty Fox, but there are lots of sustainable swimwear companies.
- If you are traveling over summer, use carbon offset services, like Greenfleet, or consider slow travel options – overnight train trips in private or shared berths are really fun!
- Retire the clothes dryer. There is no better time to air dry clothes. Consider an ecofriendly clotheshorse for indoor drying if outdoor space is limited. Don’t forget to skip the plastic cloths pegs, and go for ecofriendly options
- Use this quieter, slower time of year to get organised – it is one of the best ways to ensure these positive changes become entrenched as good habits. For example, go through your mail and switch bank statements and bills to paperless; take an inventory of pantry items and use that to create menus or just to avoid buying things twice; take an inventory of your wardrobe – you might find gems from summer seasons past that could get a look in this year. The same goes for the stationery drawers, the tool shed, the bathroom cabinet. Think of the money and resources you’ll save! The added benefit of this is that you will start the new year with a calm, ordered and clutter free home and mindset (well, hopefully!).
This is the tip of the iceberg really – there are just so many tweaks we can make to our lives to minimise our impact on the earth – but it’s a good place to start and might help to say goodbye to some of that anxiety.
See you next time! - Elise
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