Now in its 11th year, WWF’s Earth Hour is a global movement to call for international action to tackle climate change and wildlife loss. This year, on March 24th at 8:30pm GMT, WWF is hoping to take Earth Hour beyond one night. As well as the usual ‘lights out’ moment for 60 minutes, WWF is asking people to publicly make a promise to and for the planet.
To inspire you to make a promise to the planet, Kate, Holly, and I have each come up with several sustainable switches that can be completed in under an hour but contribute to long-lasting effects for a greener future.
Below, you can find my 9 sustainable switches tips as well as links to both Kate and Holly’s ideas. You can of course pick and choose the switches the suit your lifestyle and also com up with your own. I would love to see some of your promises to the planet on social media using the hashtag #EarthHour tagging @WWF_UK. It is such a great way for us all to work collaboratively towards the same greener goal!
1) Mental Switch
The first thing to get you started on your journey is to educate yourself on climate change and sustainability. You can start by heading over to NASA’s Global Climate Change page and have a read through.
2) Reduce your meat consumption
Eat less meat, especially red meats such as beef and lamb. The meat industry, with all its carbon emissions during the production process as well as the land and water needed to sustain the industry, is a significant contributor to global warming. By cutting down on the amount of red meat that you eat, not only will you be contributing to a greener future, but you will also have a healthier diet. Why don’t you start out by deciding to leave out meat in your meal today and in most of your future meals?
3) Opt out of using a car and walk or bike when feasible
Car emissions are one of the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint. Consider carpooling whenever possible, and, if you do not travel great distances often, consider exchanging your car for a bicycle or walking. If feasible, you can start out by taking a walk to your next destination!
4) Create a non-toxic home
Create a non-toxic, safe home for your family, pets, and the environment. Gather up all products in your house or garage that contain unsafe chemicals and drop off at a hazardous waste facility near you. Switch to alternatives containing nontoxic and biodegradable ingredients. Use natural homemade products as opposed to store-bought toxic ones. Head over HERE for some very quick homemade cleaning product recipes.
5) Buy pre-owned!
Are you looking to purchase a new piece of clothing? Second hand should be the first place we start looking for clothes. There are so many wonderful garments out there in perfect or very good condition looking for a loving home. You can check out apps like Depop or websites like Vestiaire Collective which are great for pristine second hand pieces!
6) Switch to soap bars and reduce plastic waste
A soap bar is a great alternative to liquid soap that comes in a plastic container. Think about the amount of plastic you could be cutting down on by switching to shampoo, conditioner, body, and hand soap bars. For your next soap purchase invest in bars!
7) Buy in bulk and transfer products to your own reusable containers
Invest in reusable cotton bags (or use the ones that you already have laying around the house), glass and metal containers, and buy products in bulk at your local supermarket, health speciality shops, cooperatives, and farmers markets. For inspiration, you can check out Kate’s video on how she shops with less packaging. Holly has also made a great list of reusables which you can order to start on your zero waste journey!
8) Actions to save water at home
Water consumption: each time you turn on a water faucet use the lowest pressure necessary. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don’t have to let water run to cool.
Fix leaks: Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it’s moving there’s a leak. A running toilet can waste 9 litres a minute. Check by adding food colouring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by colour in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced.
Showers: Place existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Shower heads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further. Also, it’s better to shower than to take a bath. Time your showers – try to keep them to 4 minutes (you can get a timer!). If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub.
Check with your water provider whether they send out some water saving freebies (if you are based in the UK you can order Thames Water freebies from here).
9) Fight for a cause you care about
There are so many great non-profit organisations doing good and so many different ways you can get involved; from recurring monthly donations, to online campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering. Pick a cause that you care about and take action! Of course, dedication takes more than one hour, but it might only take a few minutes’ thinking to decide with what you want to get involved.
Get some more ideas by checking out sustainable switches in under an hour from these ladies!
*Photo 1 by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash
*Photo 2 by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash
*Photo 3 by Victoria Chen on Unsplash