With the new year fast approaching (can you believe we are in October already!), people will be thinking what their new years resolution will be, but why wait until January to do something worthwhile. Here are nine things you can do this winter which will make the world just a little bit better.
1. Do a reverse advent calender, any month of the year!
2. Go to your local beach and collect any litter you can find on the beach and in the water along the shore
If possible, recycle the items you collect. Litter pollution in our seas is a huge problem - there are around 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the seas and oceans (!!!). Even though fall/winter isn't a prime time for people to visit the beaches I guarantee you will still find discarded cigarette butts, plastic wrappers and cans at any beach you visit.
Take an afternoon to your nearest beach and see what you can find and remove from the shores. Although it might not seem like you're doing enough to help on a larger scale, if everyone did this every so often we could prevent the plastic debris building up even more. This reduces injuries and deaths of the wildlife and reduces pollution of our waters. We only have one earth and now is the time to start taking care of it.
3. Invest in a recyclable toothbrush.
Plastic, as I mentioned before, is a huge portion of our waste pollution on earth. In the US, over a billion toothbrushes are discarded and left in landfills every year. Toothbrushes, like all plastic, can't be recycled and end up accounting for 50 million pounds of waste per year in America ALONE.
Luckily, there are many great companies online who make biodegradable toothbrushes which create zero waste and are a perfect alternative to store bought ones!
A few options:
4. Send thank you cards to your local services.
Services are especially busy this year. Take some time to thank them for their work and send them a little thank you card or note so they know that they're appreciated. A quick google search will help you find the addresses of your local hospitals, nursing homes, charities, suicide hotlines, children's homes and any other people you'd like to thank.
5. Purchase a recyclable coffee cup!
Are you someone who visits a coffee store every day and gets a drink in a disposable coffee cup? Minimise your waste and buy a reusable coffee cup or flask to use. Simply take it with you in the mornings and ask them to fill your cup up instead of their disposable ones. Although you may feel silly doing it at first, not only are you reducing the waste you create but you're also saving the coffee shops money. Win-win.
6. Invest in a cloth bag to take grocery shopping with you.
Most times when you're shopping for groceries whether it be in a supermarket or a market stall, you tend to get given your fruit/veg/other fresh produce in plastic baggies. As we all know by now, plastic = not good, so invest in a cloth bag you can carry in your bag and reuse as many times as you like.
Some options online:
- Adnil Boutique
This may seem like a really obvious option, but one that most people forget about. I know a lot of people are strapped for time with juggling work, family and life in general, but if you happen to have any days free its always nice to lend a hand to those who most need it. Perhaps there is a soup kitchen nearby you could spare an hour of your time to help prep or serve food. Maybe there is a non profit art group in town who meet up once a month looking for someone to organise activities or assistance. The opportunities really are endless and varies from town to town. Even sparing an hour of your time once a month can make a huge difference for people who run and use these services.
Do-it.org is a great place to look for volunteer work in your local area if you're based in the UK.
8. Pay for the person behind you in line at a coffee shop. Remember back in 2013 when a stranger decided to pay for the person behind them in line which created a 3 day long pay-it-forward chain? Kindness pays off and a simple act like this is something which could really impact sometimes day and mood. Sure, no ones expecting it to be anything like that incident where over 1000 people ended up joining in. Perhaps it will just extend to you buying the guy behind you a latte, but if you can impact even one persons day then it makes it all worth it.
9. Finally... Be kind to your retail assistants, your servers, your uber driver....EVERYONE!
Remember when your mother used to tell you that manners cost nothing? There have never been truer words. My pet hate is people who are rude to servers at restaurants. Whether they are a mcdonalds employee or hired at a high end bistro, these are people just trying to live their lives and make ends meet and there is no need to be rude.
This extends to everyone you may meet - just smile and be nice. Treat people with dignity and respect. Put love into the world and love will come back to you.