27 Small Ways that You Could Change the World
News of global issues like climate change, human exploitation and plastic pollution can feel often overwhelming and completely out of our hands, but there are small changes everyone can do that make a big difference.
1. Find your local zero waste shop
Store up jars and bottles and reuse them to refill with pasta, rice and other dry goods, as well as shampoo, washing up liquid and washing detergent. It’s rewarding, and cheaper, too.
2. Grab a blanket instead of turning up the heating
We have been spoilt - if we get cold, we can just turn up the thermostat, but do you really need to? Next time you’re chilly, try putting on some socks and grabbing a blanket. They do the same job.
3. Buy a GUPPYFRIEND bag
Did you know that every time you wash a manmade fibre like polyester or Lycra, it releases tiny fibres of plastic into the water system? These clever bags reduce the microfibres your washing produces.
4. Switch to washable cotton pads to remove your make-up
As with many sustainable life choices, a small investment in the beginning will save you money in the long run. Organic washable cotton pads might be a little more expensive than disposable ones, but after a few months you’ll be reaping the rewards. (NB don’t use these for nail polish!)
5. Offer to help an elderly neighbour with their garden
Getting to know your neighbours is important, especially if they are older and live alone. By helping with their garden you’ll not only keep them company, but improve the ecosystem of your street.
6. start a school supply drive in your community
School budgets are stretched, even in wealthy countries like the UK. Visit your local school and ask what school supplies they need. Then rally your community to donate items that will improve the education of children in your area.
7. Learn how to repair your clothes
You’ve probably got reusing and recycling down to a good art, but repairing is a skill you might need to learn. Start with your clothes - anyone can sew on a button or a patch with half an hour of guidance; you can find tutorials online. Even better, learn how to make your own clothes from scratch!
8. Ditch shower gel in favour of soap
When did we fall out of love with soap? It’s packaging free and cleans our bodies just as well. Check the labels and avoid palm oil for a double gold star.
9. donate blood
Safe blood saves lives! So make a regular donation. Or why not place yourself on the organ and tissue donors' registry in your country.
10. Only use local, seasonal fruit and vegetables
The closer your food was grown to where you live, the less pollution it will have created on its way to your plate.
11. Make your next toothbrush a bamboo one…
Plastic was designed to be long-lasting, so it makes no sense to use it to make something you know you will throw away. Bamboo toothbrushes with natural fibre bristles are now widely available as an alternative.
12. ...And while you’re at it, change to palm oil-free toothpaste
Most products that foam when you use them - shampoo, liquid soap and toothpaste, for example - contain palm oil. Many palm oil-free toothpastes actually taste much nicer than regular ones; look for propolis toothpaste which is made using a byproduct of honeycomb.
13. Switch to a milk round
It’s really easy to sign up to have your milk delivered to your doorstep. The glass bottles are collected and reused, and the milk is delivered on an electric powered van.
14. Stop buying miniatures for your holiday
It’s better for the environment, and also cheaper, if you just save the last bottles you bought and fill them with your regular shampoo before you leave.
15. Sign up for a beach clean
It’s easy to find your nearest organised beach clean. They not only help to protect the ecosystems of your local coastline, but mean you can enjoy the beauty of the seaside while you are doing it.
16. Stop buying virgin polyester clothes
Polyester is the most used fabric in the world, and although it’s cheap, it’s also polluting to produce and takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Instead, stick to natural fibres like organic cotton, wool and hemp.
17. support migrants and refugees
Volunteer in a local refugee camp or centre in your community. Gather or donate the appliances, food and clothes needed, and offer your time to support in other ways if you are able.
18. Volunteer in a local nature group
See if it’s possible to be a friend of your local park, where you can get involved in tree planting, organising events and even mural painting, as well as getting to know your community better.
19. Make your own dog food
Ask your butcher if they sell dog mince - all the bits that humans don’t want - and cook fresh weekly stews for your pooch. It’s much cheaper and he’ll think it’s delicious!
20. Email your favourite fashion brands
If your favourite store isn’t being transparent about where its clothes are made, who they were made by, and what they are made from, email them to find out what they are doing about it.
21. Invest in a reusable chilled water bottle
If you haven’t already done this, what were you thinking?!
22. register to vote
Don't waste living in a democracy - make sure you are registered to vote and do your research on candidates and their policies before making your decision on polling day. You can also write to your local government representatives about issues that concern you in your area.
23. Embrace meat free Mondays
Not everyone wants to be vegan, but simply cutting back on the amount of meat you eat, even if it’s just one day a week, will make a big difference.
24. Plant flowers in a window box to attract bees
If you live in a city, even without a garden you can help to save the bees. They need rest stops on their busy days, and a window box full of flowers is the perfect solution.
25. Rethink your workout
Lycra is a manmade fibre; hunt out leggings made from recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, or even coffee granules for a more sustainable spinning class.
26. STOP USING CLING FILM
Instead, cover your food and pack your sandwiches in reusable wax wrapping, which is usually decorated with lovely bright patterns.
27. HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR SUSTAINABLE CHOICES
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to let others know how easy it is to make better choices about how they consume.
Join the #TOGETHERBAND movement. Choose the Goal that means the most to you, buy a pack of bands, and share your second band with someone who means something to you. Find out more about the Goals here.