Fun Action Ideas

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a bunch of things you can get on with right now.

Some will make a small difference & some will make a big one. Whatever thing you decide to do, you’re in good company. Thousands of people are already part of this revolution – deciding to actually do something instead of just sitting around talking about it. Together, our impacts really do add up.

But beware: completing items on this list has been known to produce feelings of euphoria, hopefulness and self-satisfaction. So if you’re cynical and apathetic and would like to stay that way, you should probably stop right here.

To get started, just choose a theme:

water | fashion | food | media | fair trade | transport | energy | money

Water

We use most of our water showering, bathing and flushing the toilet. This means that following  just the first three ideas here will make a huge difference to the amount of water you use each day.

  • Get a hippo for your loo. If you live in London or southeast England, order a hippo for your toilet from Thames Water and save 3 litres of water each time you flush. If you’re in Scotland, Scottish Water will give you a free save-a-flush. If you live somewhere else, you can make your own toilet dam really easily by filling up a large jar with a heavy rock and some water, then sealing the lid tightly and dropping it in the back of your toilet (making sure not to block any of the moving parts inside). Or, if you’ve got one lying around, use a brick instead.
  • Suds up responsibly. Install a low-flo showerhead & aim to cut your showering time in half (each minute uses 11 – 20 litres of water!). If you take baths, switch to showers and take that long deserving soak only when you really need it.
  • Take staggered showers. While you’re soaping up, turn off the tap. Then turn it back on to rinse off.  You can even find showerheads with shut-off valves that make this really easy.
  • Learn about your bottled water.
  • Implement other water-saving devices, like highly efficient dishwashers, low-water use washing machines, and water butts for your garden.
  • Let the yellow mellow. If your housemates or family don’t mind, try not flushing every single time you pee (especially in the middle of the night!)
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. This one’s so easy that we can ALL do it today.
  • To do even more, follow these tips for saving water.

Fashion

Luckily, there are a ton of options for people who don’t want to support sweatshop labour, pesticides and the unnecessary waste from so much – literally – material stuff.

Food

Every food choice of every day gives opportunities to make yourself and the planet just a little healthier. Here are a few places to start:

Media

Mass media, advertising and consumer culture permeate everything we do. Even so, there are some pretty simple things we can all do to help get corporate agendas and the things they want us to buy out of our media. For example:

Fair trade

It’s ridiculously easy to do something about this one. Check out the Fairtrade Foundation website to learn more about the issues surrounding fair trade, the types of products that now come with Fairtrade certification (flowers! spices! footballs!) and where you can find fairly traded products.

Home energy use

Okay, so we’ve probably heard most of these tips before, but it’s still good to be reminded every so often. Here are some quick things we can all do to cut our energy consumption and fight the serious threat of climate change:

  • Become a guerrilla energy-saver. When others aren’t looking, covertly turn appliances off standby, turn out lights and turn down the thermostat one degree. Chances are, no one will even notice.
  • Conserve heating. In the winter, put on a jumper or cuddle with a friend to keep warm instead of turning up the heat.
  • Be efficient. Buy energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs
  • Get political. Write to the Prime Minister to ask him to get tough on climate change

Money

Here are a few interesting ways to change the way we collect, spent and save our pounds:

  • Barter with your friends. Instead of spending money on things like haircuts, books and massages, find people with those skills and trade for services that you can offer. Your German or knitting know-how will never come in more handy!
  • Freecycle. Find a group in your area and trade away.
  • Put your money somewhere ethical. Bank with a co-operative or credit union instead of a high street bank.
  • Free yourself from debt! Cut up that credit card or storecard, and stop consuming more than you earn. If you have to have a credit card, choose one that gives a percentage of profits to a good cause, like the Oxfam Visa card.
  • Save resources. Call up your bank and ask to get paperless statements (make sure you’re set up with internet banking first!)
  • Be an informed consumer. When you buy something, make sure that you know what your pound is voting for.

Transport

There are many alternatives to sitting in traffic, breathing in exhaust fumes. Here are a few:

And a small note about waste

Okay, so maybe you’re on a roll. Or maybe you’ve already done everything on this list and are looking for a challenge. In either case, here are a few waste-reducing actions you can take every single day. Think about these as the new and improved “3-Rs”:

  • Rethink: Do I need this?
  • Refuse: “No, I don’t need a bag (I brought my own).”
  • Restore: Try to fix things instead of just throwing them out. Or better yet, transform things into something else.  We’ve mastered the art of turning a tetrapak into a lovely wallet.
  • Reduce: Get library books instead of buying new ones, and buy vintage clothes instead of new gear. If you’re a woman, you can also reduce your waste by buying yourself a keeper, mooncup or luna pads.
  • Reuse: Scrap paper, lunch containers, etc.
  • Compost: It’s like reusing food.
  • Then, only when you’ve exhausted all the other options: Recycle!

And finally, we want you to think of us as your go-to people to help you take sustainable living personally.  Check out our downloadable resources where you’re free to use, share and build upon.  We’d love it if you told us where you used them and how it went down, or made suggestions for improvements. We like that sort of informal collaboration a lot.