New Year = New Me: (ECO)nstructive Resolutions for 2020

SAY ‘NO’ TO PLASTIC

FTN is trying to rid the world of single-use plastic one straw, grocery bag, and roll of cling film at a time. We’ve run campaigns trying to educate consumers of the effects plastic waste has on the environment. Earlier this year, Capetonians met a fish named Faithful at the V&A Waterfront. The 4.5m-long by 2.5m-high installation was intended to show the public that plastic ends up in the ocean and pollutes our marine life.

We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk too. 

Giving up plastic entirely is incredibly tough – our whole world has built around the use thereof – but times are changing, one product at a time, and this means that – so can you. Bring your awareness to the ways in which we use and interact with plastic is an incredibly mind-opening experience. Starting with some of the main (and easy to tackle culprits) like a takeaway coffee cups is and great start. And from there the use of plastic products, in general, will start to drop drastically – and logically. It’s not impossible. One of our Faithful journo’s has some practical and actionable tips on how to replace single-use products with more sustainable ones. 

REMEMBER: when you get rid of your plastic items, do so responsibly. If there’s a way to repurpose them, then do so, if not then definitely recycle.

PLANT A TREE

For some reason, we’ve stopped talking about the devastating fire that consumed California and the Amazon for weeks. And now, Australia is experiencing fires on an even larger and more catastrophic level. The belt of forest in the Amazon can be seen as the earth’s lungs and we need to consider how to deal with the aftermath because when we lose it, we will begin to feel the effects of our CO2 emissions in distressing ways.

Planting a single tree might not save the world, but if we all decide to sow a single seed, we are investing in our future.

In Mozambique there were mango trees lining the streets and, it being summer, the fruits were ripe enough that any passing pedestrian could pick to their heart’s delight. Why not cultivate a fruit of vegetable plant until it becomes a seedling, then re-pot it in municipal land that is accessible to the public. It might take a year or two to bear fruit, but when it does, homeless people will have the option of feeding themselves something nutritious. While it is developing, your little project will be doing its part to inhale carbon dioxide and exhale breathable air for humans. A bonus is that the humble honey bee has something to pollinate and there is nectar for it to feed on, who knows how many organisms your initial action will be helping.

ECO-SHAMING 

Eco-shaming is a bit of new concept but you get the idea. We have walked around for long enough politely letting people know what kind of reckless behaviour is no longer appropriate for the successful growth of the earth. It is time the politeness goes out the window. The plight of the planet is now fully known, we’ve been singing this song for long enough for ignorance to no longer be a thing. And furthermore, the plight of the planet is a shared one. It requires collective thinking and action to create the shift needed.

So you no longer need to worry about the awkward moments created or the demoralising interactions shared with retailers who refuse to accept any responsibility. 

Show people how and continue to educate with the eco-fire that is needed to set our hearts and actions alight. We don’t have the time to place and shift blame as to who is responsible for the state of our planet. We have to act. Right now. Collectively.

Educate your loved ones and you’ll be amazed at what they begin to do with the information. 

PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE

Full cups overflow. When you are at your best, you are your best for those around you. The planet needs your best efforts. Don’t wait until your burnout to get help, you’ll only end up reaching for quick-fix solutions that aren’t sustainable for yourself or the planet. 

Have you considered incorporating micro self-care practices into your day-to-day? Something like spending just one hour a day outside. And not outside as in dashing from my apartment to the deli downstairs for a cup of hot chocolate or waiting five minutes at the MyCiti stop. No, I intentionally put my phone on aeroplane mode and spend 60 uninterrupted minutes walking along the R27. It’s mostly at sunset because the view of Table Mountain across the bay is magnificent. The fresh air and Vitamin D make my lungs and skin happy. The cardio gets my muscles working; I also get a healthy dose of endorphins and dopamine. It’s all absolutely free and beats wasting electricity binging Netflix on the couch.

UNCLUTTER YOUR LIFE

An ex of mine once told me that we are given things to share. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had planted a proverbial seed. Now, I make it a point to get rid of as many new things that I buy. Last month, I treated myself to a beautiful jumpsuit from poetry, and two pairs of earrings. When I got home, I placed a pair of sneakers, a sweater and a summer dress into a paper bag, dashed to the store and bought a loaf of bread, a carton of milk as well as a toothbrush and some toothpaste. The care package I put together went to a homeless person who frequents the park near my apartment building.

If we all donate, regift or repurpose things we don’t use anymore, the demand to keep producing will certainly decrease drastically. Most of the clothes in my wardrobe are hand-me-downs from my mama. My cutlery and crockery are antique items she’s collected over the years too. The only things I really spend any money on are food and cleaning items. Heck, I sold my car because the public transport system in Cape Town is so impressive. 

Get into the habit of getting rid of things that you don’t use habitually. You’ll find you’re less stressed, you save more money and help Mother Nature in the process.

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