There are so many insightful quotes about the earth, but I think this one captures our true relationship with it the best. I think it’s something we often forget, being at the top of the food chain, and something that is going to lead to our ultimate downfall (which is already quite clear from the multitude of predictions made by environmental scientists around the globe). As much as we’d like to think that the earth is ours, because humanity is so powerful and innovative, the sadness in that belief is that it is as far away from the truth as things can get.
I’ve always loved nature. Not just the magnificence of fully grown trees with their fresh green foliage, or the unfiltered beauty of a sunflower field or the sheer awe-inspiring personality of blue ocean waves and the accompanying salty sea air. No – I’m talking about the dynamic of nature. The flowing, almost seamless and harmonious relationship between the earth and all the creatures in the natural world. I’m deliberately not mentioning people as being part of this relationship because I think we’ve evolved and developed past a point where we have a symbiotic partnership with the earth and the rest of her creatures. The only way to describe how the environment co-exists with animals is magical. How else can you illustrate the wordless agreement among species and their habitats? The herbivores aid in maintaining the structure of the environment, and the predators keep the herbivores in check. No one takes more than their fair share, different species exist peacefully together and as ridiculous as it may seem, every creature has a part to play (even insects). This delicate balance allows the earth to continue regenerating – allowing ocean currents to flow so that they stabilise the climate and provide nutrients, and plant life to support the vast cacophony of animals that depend on it so crucially. How every person isn’t blown away by how brilliantly beautiful animals and the planet is baffles me. But then again, everyone is different.
So you might be asking at this point why I’m writing a post like this? Well, today is Earth Day and so I thought I’d write something related to all the wonders of our beautiful planet. Now I’m not going to lecture and moan about all the ways in which humanity has spoiled the purity of our planet, screwed up the climate, destroyed countless ecosystems and the animals along side them because we already know about all the damage mankind has caused. Also, because I’m not perfect. However, I do try to do everything I can to be more eco-friendly, and encourage (that could be translated as force) my family to do the same. We use the right light bulbs and minimal electricity, there is plastic tax in place for all family members who frivolously use plastic bags or plastic bottles, we recycle as much as we can and limit our red meat consumption. It may not sound like much, but doing all of those small things add up. Today I would just like to draw attention to the changes that have occurred on our planet since the outbreak of COVID-19. While COVID-19 has meant disastrous problems for people, such as economic fallout, quarantining, problems with grocery shopping and working and a litany of other issues, there has been a positive result for the natural world. With planes being grounded, people being forced not to drive or travel much at all and everyone being stuck at home, the environment has had a small window of opportunity to recover from the constant battering it receives. Dolphins have returned to the now blue Venice cannels and pollution levels in major cities has decreased and air quality has increased. However, this may not necessarily have a lasting impact once we start to get control on the virus and global situation. So, given that today is a day to celebrate the planet, I decided to think about all the ways one could be eco-friendly during quarantine … It may be a little more challenging, since we don’t have the luxury of going out to buy seedling to plant trees for example, but there are still plenty of ways that we can be more eco-friendly, even when we are trapped at home. You just have to get a bit creative and take advantage of all the time and supplies lying around.
Learn about the environment and sustainability
If you want to use the time in lockdown productively, why not take the opportunity to learn about the environment. You could read books on climate change, listen to a podcast that focuses on sustainability or watch environmental documentaries. There are dozens of interesting, eco-friendly online courses you could enrol in that could teach you about sustainable fashion or food, some of which are free. Netflix has got a raft of great environmental documentaries (my favourite is Our Planet, maybe because David Attenborough narrates it) so really there are so many interesting ways that you can enhance your knowledge of the world and how to conserve it.
Declutter your space
Being in lockdown is the ideal time to get everything at home organised, and decluttering is a great way to see what you have lying around (plus all the stuff you find that you don’t use, you can donate after quarantine and then you would be encouraging one of the three R’s – reusing). Start with one room in the corner and keep going until you’ve gone through the entire room and organised everything you want to keep and removed the unwanted items. Once you’ve gone through the whole house, look through your pile of ‘unwanted’. Don’t throw them away! (Unless they are seriously broken and cannot be used again in any other way). See if you can repurpose them in anyway, maybe recycle them, sell them online or donate to a good cause/charity – that way, even the things you don’t want anymore can be reused and not wasted.
Create a system for waste and recyclables
Do you recycle or have a way to deal with all the waste that’s created? Whether you live by yourself, with roommates or with your family, now is the perfect opportunity to figure out a way to deal with all of this. You could set up separate bins with labels for different items, maybe start a compost heap or make a bin specifically for recyclables or materials you want to upcycle. Perhaps if you live with other people you could create a schedule for whose turn it is to look after your new recycling station and make sure it’s being done properly. My boyfriend and I are going to try make a recycling station that holds different bins for different recyclables, but it’s still a work-in-progress so I won’t share any pictures just yet. Hopefully it turns out successful instead of something that needs to be recycled …
Start an eco-platform
If you’re new to being sustainable or trying out ways to be more eco-friendly, a great way to keep track of your progress is to document it on an online platform. If you enjoy writing, you could create a blog filled with all of your progress and tips for other newbies. Or, if film is more your avenue of expertise, you could start your own YouTube channel. What’s great about these online platforms is that if you really want to, there are ways of monetising your creative works to keep the bank accounts topped up while the world of work is unstable and unpredictable. Who knows – this might be something you pursue more strongly if it works out well. You never know unless you try.
Try upcycling or DIY
Have you ever been scrolling through Pinterest and came across the most incredible DIY craft made out of recyclable materials and you never got to it because there wasn’t enough time? Guess what?? You have the time now! This is the perfect time to make a compost bin (you’ll avoid throwing out food scraps), learn to knit or take your wine bottles and create an inside, self-watering herb garden. There are so many creative projects you can do that make use of both the time you have at home, and the materials you have on-hand. Consider your hobbies, interests or favourite pass-times, do some research and see what how-to articles, Pinterest posts and YouTube videos inspire you. Maybe you’ll be inspired by empty shampoo bottles and milk cartons and turn them into pen holders? I promise there are dozens of DIY crafts you can do at home with recyclable materials – you just need to think a bit outside the box.
Start a little garden
If you have the space, what better way is there to become more eco-friendly and self-sufficient than starting a little veggie garden? It’s pretty easy to start a veggie patch, but if you are looking for tips and practical advice then there are many online sources you can go to that give very helpful information. Or, if you don’t have the space available, you could grow small things like herbs or even flowers out of unused pots, Tupperware or plastic bottles. You could even get super creative and make a vertical garden out of recycled milk/juice bottles or a rooftop garden? Soon your salads and herbs will all be provided by your beautiful little garden.
Try making zero waste products
So much waste is created through single-use products. Toothpaste, deodorant, cleaning products, soap containers are disposed of and the way they are made are not always environmentally friendly. You could, given the situation, try making your own from all the zero waste recipes out there. It may sound a bit unusual, but there is nothing wrong with making your own soap (I mean heck I make my own bath products like bath salts, bath bombs and body scrubs all the time) and you’ll probably help you save some money, as well as the environment. See that? Two birds with one stone.
Inspire someone else
Unfortunately, connecting with people has now become a solely digital activity because of the need for social distancing. While it may make connecting with friends and family hard, it does encourage more communication via our digital world and so is the perfect opportunity to share your new-found knowledge or advice about going green with the rest of the world (just look at me with this blog post). It’s hard to make a difference when you’re just one person, but if you inspire another person who joins in, that’s now two people. That number can grow and all of those small eco-friendly choices being implemented can add up to making monumental differences. It just takes sharing your thoughts and inspiring someone else to hop on board. Educate people about how we can save the earth and try help them to realise the small things they can do to help save the planet. It’s only a little, but when you add all of those little’s up, it becomes a lot. And that’s the only thing that’s going to help us save this one, beautiful planet that we’ve got.
There may be the idea of moving to mars, but in reality, we really only have this one earth that provides us with the air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat. Sure, the developments we’ve made are astounding and not to be disregarded, but we can’t keep pretending that our actions don’t have consequences. I’d hate to live in a world where the only wild animals I can show my children are pictures on google, and the only future they have is one that resembles Thneedville from Dr Seuss’s famous tale of The Lorax. So please, I implore you, make this Earth Day count! We’re all in this together after all and even if it feels like there is nothing you can do or that what we do doesn’t matter, think again. Every small positive action adds up, and unless we all take action, nothing is going to get better. We will be doomed to live in a plastic world with no animals, and that possible future is too horrific to even consider. Think about the last time you felt helpless, lost and like nothing was going to work out, and recall how dreadful and hopeless it felt. That is what the earth and all the animals we effect probably feel like and more, except they don’t have a voice to plea. Be empathetic to the plants and the animals, so that in the future we still have polar ice caps to marvel at, jungles to study and incredible wild animals (from polar bears, to elephants to sea turtles) to learn about. We have a magical world that we live in, we just need to remember that it doesn’t belong to us. We belong to it, as well as so many other living organisms and it’s time to stop being the world’s worst roommate.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx
P.S. What are you doing for earth day?? Please let me know in the comments section 😊
My family and I are planting a few trees in our garden, as well as attempting to start a compost heap
Also, what is your favourite wild animal? I have way too many to choose from (that’s always my problem) but I’d have to say it would be a very close draw between a dolphin, snow tiger, sea turtle and penguin. What could you do to help your favourite animal survive and stay happy on this planet? Personally, I donate some of my monthly income to a turtle hospital in Florida and I’m hoping to one day make enough to support more wildlife preservation programs.
Thanks as always for the very useful tips. The only thing I find really frustrating at the moment is that I have discovered a super way of using up all these old tyres on our property, BUT I need “paint ” and cant buy.
Have also started cleaning out and now have 4 boxes filled with goodies for the Randburg SPCA’s little shop. Will deliver after lockdown.
Keep well, stay healthy and safe.
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Hi Wendy! Oh no that’s annoying … Wow the SPCA will be so appreciative and so will the animals! You stay safe and healthy as well xxx
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Beautiful article! Making our Earth the best it can be is such an important thing! What lovely ideas and that quote, in the beginning, is extremely powerful!
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