Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sustainability Challenge Week 5

Welcome back!

How is it going so far? I would love to hear about your experience! 

The 10-week sustainability training suggests effective but easy to implement amendments that will neither cost a lot of time nor effort. 

So ... this week ... I hardly dare to write the headline. Why? 

Sustainabliity Challenge


Car? No, thank you!


It's unthinkable for most of us to leave the car at home. But it would make a big difference if we ride a bike or take the bus/train. Let's experiment this week!

The Challenge

  • Try to not use your car at least two days this week. That will be very hard for some, simple for others. If you're living in a rural area, it might not even be possible. 
  • If you don't have a bike, consider buying one. I know they have a tacky reputation in the US, but I am not sure why. They are ideal for fitness, weight-loss and it's fun!
  • Even if you'd have to take your car to work. You can still save on unnecessary trips or short-trips. Consider walking or taking your bike if you're just grabbing something from the gas station 2 blocks away. 

At the end of the week analyze how it felt. 

"Was it fun?"
"Was it stressful?"

Maybe you learn that you enjoyed the short walk. Or perhaps you met someone nice on the train and had a great conversation? If you took the train, you might have claimed back the chance to read a book. And I have an even better suggestion for you - but I leave shameless self-marketing until the end (:

Even if you drove one time less - you have helped our planet! If you can, just keep on doing what you did during the challenge and make it a habit. 

I will admit that the next tip would be hard on me and I would rather walk 50 minutes straight (during a thunderstorm): Consider car pooling. Neighbors, friends, colleagues - try to pinpoint when you can share a ride.

It also counts if you offer yourself as the driver. 

Balance


Air traffic is bad for the environment. But we want to fly to other countries or have to use planes regularly for business reasons. 

This article on Smithonian.com is quite interesting. In Germany, passengers have the possibility to pay about $15 (for a short flight) extra to a non-profit that is focused on reducing the negative impact of our carbon footprint. I read articles in US magazines that imply that they are "testing the water" and check if such a step would be accepted. 

How you help the environment


A car driving 6,000 miles p.a. produces around 4400 pounds of CO2. The sustainable amount for a single person is about 5000 pounds. 

If you reduce the number of trips, you help to protect the climate. 

Until next week!

Love & Light, 


Aurorasa

PS: Are you wondering what you could do while you're on the train? Check out my brand new apps on Google Play!

PS PS: 
Did you miss the first three challenges? You can catch up here: 

Week 1
Week 2




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sustainability Challenge Week 4

Minimalism - Less is More


Minimalism is trending: Give stuff away, buy it used, buy only what you really need. But the group of people who try to use resources responsibly is still small.

To many, it seems like a daunting task.

You know ... we don't always have to go to an extreme. Even if you feel you are not ready to live autonomic somewhere in the woods - every bit counts. Doing one thing wrong does not mean we have forsaken the right to do other things right.

Once you start making some simple changes, you will realize how much better you feel. This week's task is not just good for the planet, it's also good for you. (You will find a download link for the graphic at the bottom of this post.)


Sustainability Challenge Minimalist


Basis task


Part with five items and bring them to a charity shop. It doesn't matter if it's a toaster you hardly ever use or a skirt that does not fit anymore. Sort out some stuff you don't like, don't need or don't use. Home gym items are a great example for when "don't need" does not apply so that I added the category "don't use".

It's important that you don't just throw the stuff away or sell it at a yard sale. If possible, check out a local charity shop, or thrift store.

Donate the items. And look around: thrift stores are not just for people in need. Have a look around. Something you love? Buy one single item that you like. Only one.

Use your network


Lawn mower, snow removal - there are a lot of things you might be able to borrow from a friend or neighbor. We don't need to own every single item in the world. I might set you up for a whole new world of "he did not give me back my blender" (kidding). 

It's more likely that it will lead to improved relationships. 

Buy second-hand/repair


Electronic items are especially harsh on the environment. Most people throw them away when they are in good working condition. Your provider might give you a new phone each year. 

Often we shop to fill a hole. Shopping to fill empty space is not working and only gives us short-term satisfaction. 

Before you buy a new item, consider: what is it good for? Will you use it? Does it offer new functionality you need?

If something breaks - can you fix it? 


How does it help?


You will feel better when you declutter. Once you get rid of things that do no longer serve you, you will realize how much they weighed you down. Does that sound strange? You will know what I mean once you start. 

A basic rule for clothing could be: Anything (besides clothing for special occasions) you did not wear for a year is useless clutter.

As for the environment: The longer we use items, the fewer resources are needed. In addition to that, less toxic waste ends up in our environment. 

Minimalist Checklist


Click on the links to download the graphic and a minimalist checklist: 

Did you miss the first three challenges? You can catch up here: 

Week 1
Week 2

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

10-Week Sustainability Challenge - Week 3

10 Week Sustainability Challenge Earth Consciousness


Welcome back to the third week of our sustainability challenge. If you missed the first two weeks: Please refer to the links at the bottom of this post.

This week we are going to be watchers. Observers, you could say. We need to leave our ego behind this week and look at things without judgment or self-referential assessments.

I think you will enjoy this challenge. It is rewarding without the cost of uncomfortable change. It costs a bit more time than the first weeks though.

10 week sustainability challenge

Week 3: Earth Consciousness


There are many ways that we can pass on our beliefs about caring for the Earth to those we love. With the Earth in the state that it is, we need to do everything we can to spread awareness among others. Let's do it.

Observe the Beauty in Nature


Go for walks alone, and with your friends and family. Observe the beauty of nature, and the diverse amount of wildlife that lives there. Find the surrounding beauty - whether you live near the beach, a forest, streams, or fields. Travel and see the way that other animals and wildlife live and survive. Grow to appreciate everything about the natural habitats that you see, including the climate, the flowers, and all the details around you.

We typically overlook most of the beauty around us; especially the beauty of things we see on a daily basis.

Earth Consciousness Challenge

Get to Know Other Living Beings


In order for someone to care about the condition that the world is in and want to help the animals and other creatures that live within in, they must first be well acquainted with them and feel that they are connected.

Zoos are debated by many (Personally, I boycott them for over 20 years and watch Wrestling instead (; ) , but they might be an option if you have no other alternative to expose yourself to many animals.

Take your children out or explore alone and get to know the pets of friends and family. Teach your children all about wild animals and their needs. Read books about many varieties of animals and help your children learn as much about them as you can find information for.

Observe What Has Gone Wrong


Talk about the things you see that are not positive. You may notice that there is litter in the streams that the fish and birds live in. Maybe you see that the flowers the animals should be feasting on have been picked by pedestrians on the trails. You may notice pollution in the air that will surely come down and affect the life of the animals that live nearby.

Spend a minute thinking about the number of bees (and butterflies, for that matter) you see now as opposed to a few years ago.

Sustainability Challenge Week 3


Talk about the Link between Our Doings and the Outcomes


Find the link between how we behave and what effect it has on the world, including the animals and all wildlife. When you are looking for it, you will be able to see the correlation between our actions and what happens to the Earth and its inhabitants because of those actions.

Observe situations such as litter in the streams, and how trash can become wrapped around the necks of birds and water animals. Things that we may not even think about can have a hugely negative effect, so we must be aware of everything we do. Fortunately, this also applies to the positive actions we take. When we do something like work together as a team to clean up a natural habitat, the animals that live there has a much better chance of health and survival.

Recommended article: 8 Steps to Reduce your Plastic Waste

Caring for nature and animals comes naturally to most people, but we must re-connect. The more connected we are with the Earth, the less we will want to hurt it.

Caring for Nature


In these stressful times, where many people have lost the feeling for themselves, we need to relearn earth-consciousness. How perverted is that even, if you think about the very meaning of the word "nature".

Educate yourself and those around you so that you can work together to have a positive effect on the Earth. Your love for creatures big and small can go a long way. At the same time, you help yourself as you do these mindfulness exercises.

You can also help look after the Earth by supporting local and organic food growers like we discussed in Week 1.

Until next week!

If you missed the first two weeks, you can catch up here:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 4
Week 5