Now more than ever, we want to help you take the best possible care of yourself. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing nourishing recipes, wellness tips for working from home and new ways to connect—join us on social and tell us how you #keepglowing so we can navigate this together.
“Everything works better when we unplug it for a while, including you.” The meme we liked on social media, then promptly ignored, has finally come to life thanks to a global health crisis. The deep slowdown we are experiencing right now is a sad and heartbreaking setback on many levels for many people. But it may also present opportunities to make some planet-friendly lifestyle changes we have long thought about.
Deep down we’ve known we should be recycling more, reducing our household waste and lessening our carbon footprint. But our old pre-COVID-19 lives were too busy to turn those desires into decisive action. Now our chance to do better has arrived.
Perhaps it’s not possible to make big changes right now while funds are tight, so those solar panels and rainwater tanks may have to wait. But doing the small things we can manage right now and trying not to worry about the things we can’t control helps us move forward, plus you’ll be saving money by DIY. Little steps will put us on more sustainable paths.
Here are some simple, eco-friendly and affordable ideas to consider…
Grow Your Own
Start small with a few pots of medicinal, fragrant or flavour-packed herbs on your kitchen window sill, balcony or outside in your garden if you have one. If you have more room, consider planting tomatoes, green beans or salad greens in a larger pot. Sprouting seeds in jars on your kitchen bench is another easy way to start growing your own nutrient-dense food supply—all you need is seeds, an empty jar, a piece of muslin cloth or a mesh lid and a rubber band. See here for more instructions, and for further gardening inspiration watch Seed: The Untold Story.
Buying your fruit, vegetables and other produce at your local farmer’s market has multiple benefits. Firstly, it helps you eat seasonally, which in turn supports a happier and more diverse gut microbiome, and is also cheaper and more nutritious. The food is fresher because it hasn’t traveled for miles or spent months in cold storage, plus it supports local farmers. While many physical meet ups have been canceled as the community moves towards stricter social isolation measures, there are lots of options for ordering online like the Carriageworks Farmer’s Markets Directory and Melbourne Farmers Marketplace.
The Art of Preservation
Bottling, pickling, preserving and fermenting foods when they are cheap and in season means we can enjoy them months later, just as many of our grandparents did. Buying organic seasonal produce such as summer berries in bulk and freezing them in batches is a budget-friendly way to enjoy them in colder months when we need their vitamin C. Freeze organic lemon peel to zest into salads in summer when citrus fruits are out of season. Look for food preservation classes. Try making our sweet and sour fermented vegetables this weekend, or sign up to one of the wonderful online classes offered by the Australian food waste warriors at The Cornersmith.
Composting Is Easier than You Think
Keep a small lidded bin like this one in your kitchen for your food scraps then transfer them later to an outdoor compost bin or worm farm to make fertile material for your garden. If you don’t have room for a compost bin, contact your local council to ask whether you can put food scraps in your green garden waste bin. Or find out where your closest community garden and compost station is located then drop your scraps there once a week.
If you have room in your backyard and would love an endless supply of fresh eggs, then consider adopting a few chickens. They love to eat your kitchen scraps and garden weeds and make excellent garden fertiliser. If you live in an urban or residential area, you will need to research your local council rules about how many birds you can have and how they need to be housed.
Carry your own water bottle and keep cup for takeaway coffee. Say no to straws and takeout containers. Take your own reusable bags to buy food from the markets. Take reusable containers to bulk bin stores to shop for pantry supplies sans single-use packaging. Try using beeswax cloth wraps instead of plastic wrap for your sandwiches or to seal leftover food you put in the fridge. Upcycle The Beauty Chef packaging!
There’s a fashion revolution going on as savvy consumers say no to fast fashion and clothing waste. Follow the new breed of sustainably-minded fashion influencers on social media like follow @mrspress @remakeourworld and @fash_rev_ausnz—there is no shortage of planet-loving fashion people giving sage, sustainable and stylish advice. Rent, sell, buy vintage, swap clothes with friends, buy only things that will last from local or responsibly-minded labels. And most importantly, wear your favourites over and over again. If you buy well, they will get better with age. Just like you do.