67 Ways to Honour Mother Nature on Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela once said, “I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.

This year’s Mandela Day coincides with what would’ve been the father of the South African nation’s centenary. So while you spend the day remembering the sacrifices he made to improve the lives of many, dedicate your 67 minutes to giving back to the land you call home. Below are 67 eco-ways to spend your 67 minutes this Mandela Day.

  1. Pick up 67 pieces of litter.
  2. Plant a tree and watch it grow for the next 67 years.
  3. Introduce a community garden into your neighbourhood where residents can grow their own fresh produce while getting to know each other.
  4. Turn off all electronic devices and shut off main power switch at home for 67 minutes (or longer) to help ease the pressure on the countries electricity supply.
  5. Buy a composter bin and commit to actually using it.
  6. Pledge to going plastic-free for 67 days.
  7. Declutter your home. All the clothes, shoes and household items you no longer use can be donated or hold a garage sale with all proceeds going to a conservation charity.
  8. Invest in recycling bins and use them daily.
  9. Look into restaurants and eateries that have gone green, and go for a meal.
  10. Replace 67 items of makeup/cosmetics/cleaning etc products with those that follow an eco-friendly ethos in producing their goods.
  11. Hold an upcycle craft party.
  12. Commit to having more 2-minute showers and fewer baths.
  13. Donate a packet of seeds to underprivileged schools with feeding schemes. 
  14. Start a carpool group for going to work.   
  15. Form a lift club to drop off and pick up kids from school.
  16. Sign up for a South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) card to check that the fish you order in a restaurant isn’t endangered.
  17. Pledge to turning off switches and unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use from now on.
  18. Get involved in the charity work organisations like Living Seeds does. The organic seed company regularly donates seedlings to those in need and they’d appreciate volunteers helping to plant and distribute their seeds.
  19. Ditch the treadmill for the day, go for a run outside instead.
  20. Buy a reusable coffee cup and use that when you’re getting your cuppa-on-the-go every morning.
  21. Replace all your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and LED bulbs. They’ll cost more initially but your electricity bill will go down over the long run.
  22. Bring your own carry and produce bags to the store.
  23. Commit to buying local more. Not only are you investing in your local economy but your carbon footprint will decrease because companies won’t be carting your produce cross-country and cross-continent.
  24. Be a vegetarian for Mandela Day (or implement Meatless Monday with the family).
  25. Take a hike. Or go kayaking, abseiling mountain biking. The point is: go outside and reconnect with nature.
  26. Switch all bills (or as many as you can) to e-bills and online invoices.
  27. Tighten all your leaking taps and pipes.
  28. Stop buying bottled water. Invest in a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle instead and refill that whenever you’re parched.
  29. If you have a garden turn it into an oasis for birds and other creatures.
  30. Make your workplace more environmentally friendly by starting a recycling system, changing out the lights etc.
  31. Put together an ‘Eco-Goal” list to complete by next year
  32. “Adopt” an animal from a wildlife preserve. Your donation will help feed and care for the animal you’ve adopted.
  33. Step away from the plastic straw
  34. Buyana indoor plant for most, if not all, or your rooms at home. It’s a great way to zen up your space and it improves the quality of oxygen you’ll enjoy indoors.
  35. Stop mowing your lawn. I’m not saying let your garden grown unkempt, but rather cut your grass once every three weeks instead of weekly. It’ll make your garden more bee friendly.
  36. Walk when you can. If your local grocer is 2kms away, leave the car keys on the dresser and walk there. Your body will appreciate the exercise.
  37. Go dairy-free for the day, and consider introducing a dairy-free Thursday into you and your families diet.
  38. Organise a community clean up. Get your neighbours involved in tidying up your neighbourhood.
  39. Facilitate a workshop where you can educate your community on the 3 R’s (recycling, reusing and reducing).
  40. Swap out processed snacks for fresh fruit and vegetables.
  41. Start buying loose leaf tea.
  42. Replace single-use coffee pods with reusable ones (at your home and workplace)
  43. Quit smoking. Not only does the tar and nicotine in cigarettes pollute the air we breathe, it does a great deal of damage to your body too.
  44. Recycle old batteries
  45. Host a swap party. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, why not trade your previously loved crockpot for a pair of shoes?
  46. Make as much as you can. With recipes on the net for making your own compost, natural cleaning products, facial soaps, masks, makeup and lip balm etc, it’s worth considering making what you can. You’ll know exactly what’s going into what you use and it’ll be 100% natural.
  47. Pack your kids, and yourself an eco-friendly lunchbox.
  48. Eat out less.
  49. Stop using paper towels. At home, use cotton cloths instead. In a public restroom, head for the air hand dryer.
  50. Go dumpster diving. You might find a great number of reusable things in the garbage.
  51. Talk to your kids about the importance of green living
  52. Switch to grass-fed meat. Not only is it good for the environment but you too.
  53. Throw an eco-friendly dinner party. Serve organic wine, cook with seasonal, locally grown ingredients, create an intimate ambience by turning off the lights and lighting some soy candles.
  54. Go solar. Installing solar panels is an initial expense but you’re investing in the preservation of the planet. In a few years, your eco-friendly decision will have saved you a great deal of money too.
  55. Spend 67 minutes picking strawberries/apples/grapes. If the orchard/vineyard lets you keep what you’ve picked, consider giving your produce to someone who needs it.
  56. Install apps that give you tips and trick to living a more sustainable lifestyle.
  57. Get into the bucket system. Wash your days’ dishes in a bucket of water and have a separate bucket for rinsing as opposed to running the water to get rid of residual soap.
  58. Put the hose pipe down and use greywater in your garden. Some plants and flowers actually flourish with the use of greywater.
  59. Ditch the tumble dryer. Hang your clothes out to dry instead.
  60. Use both sides of the paper. You’ll end up using half as much paper if you just turn the page over as opposed to continuing on a new page.
  61. Use old newspaper as wrapping paper.
  62. Adopt the cup system when brushing your teeth. Fill your cup with water and use that to wash your mouth out instead of running the tap.
  63. Tag team your showers. Whether with your partner or young child, showering with someone will curb your water usage.
  64. Make use of ‘cruise control.’ When you press the button in your car, you stand to get up to 15% better mileage. With the high cost of fuel, your pocket will really appreciate this one.
  65. Donate all your old wire hangers to local laundromat or dry cleaners. They’ll be happy to take them.
  66. Purchase matches instead of a lighter, and when buying matches, opt for the cardboard made ones as they have been made from recycled materials.

    And lastly,
  67. SHARE! What you’ve learnt about eco-living will certainly help your neighbour. Share your knowledge with friends, family, co-workers and loved ones so they can be as environmentally responsible as you are.



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