(Alternative title: The Lazy and Cheap Girls Guide to Making a Difference Both to Her Own World and the World Around Her. But obviously that title is too long. And most of the things on this list apply to both men and women.)
Being socially and environmentally conscious is a lot easier when it’s easy. Right? When part of the work has already been done for you. When you are getting something out of it, as well as it being a good thing to do. With that in mind, here are four simple things we do, and one thing we’re planning on doing.
1. Food Connect
Buying local and organic is one of those things that seems like a great thing to do, but in practice is not always achievable. Enter Food Connect, providing support to local farmers working towards sustainability, by providing you with locally sourced organic and pesticide-free produce. They give you the option of delivery or pick up, and once off, weekly or fortnightly boxes in a range of sizes as well as other staples. The fortnightly option is particularly useful for us, as it gives us so much more flexibility in terms incorporating things we are growing in our garden, buying extra things for our particular tastes (like 20 apples a week) or just making things on a whim. In the end, there’s very little waste. And when we end up getting ingredients we wouldn’t normally think to use, or end up with a few random things? The internet comes to our rescue with a whole host of websites where we can enter the ingredients we have on hand and get suggested recipes. Here is one great list compiled by Instant Fundas of helpful sites. Support local sustainable farmers and reduce our chemical consumption? Done.
2. Who Gives a Crap
I mentioned back here that we use these guys. Sustainable toilet paper that saves the world delivered to your door. Saves the world might seem a big call, but really, half their profits go towards WaterAid, an organisation who’s mission it is to provide access to sanitation and clean water across the globe. To quote the toilet paper boys again, “2.5 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population and means that diarrhoea related diseases fill over half of sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill 2,000 children under 5 every day.” At a very minor additional cost to us, it just makes sense, and it’s just so convenient for us, as it’s just one more thing we never really have to think about.
3. The Ethical Consumer Guide
I think one of the barriers to shopping with a social conscience is that for whatever reason we just don’t put the time into researching the options. It’s so much easier to make socially and environmentally conscious decisions when someone else has done all that researchy hard work for you. The Ethical Consumer Guide rates brands on a number of levels, giving you details of why they’ve given them the rating they have, and also some of the more nuanced issues, such as when a company may be doing some good work, but it’s international parent company may not be. Such a useful website, but a particular favourite of mine as you can get an app for it. Easy peasy.
4. Diva Cup
Moon cup, Juju cup, Lunette, The Keeper… a menstrual cup. In short, it’s an alternative to pads and tampons. It operates a bit like a diaphragm, but it’s for your period. If you’ve been using pads or tampons for umpteen years, it can take a bit of a mind shift, but I absolutely recommend it. Both from an environmental and health standpoint, and also for the convenience factor. It’s cheap ($30 – $50) and eco-friendly (it only needs to be replaced every ten years). It has no GMOs, chemicals or other nasty materials. It’s also more convenient, as it can be worn for 12 hours at a time. Interested? You can read more here.
This organisation provides micro-finance loans to people across the globe. This is one thing we’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I will now convince both you and myself to go ahead and invest:
Money tight? Can’t afford the $30 – $50 a month to sponsor a child? What about $25? I mean, the same $25. A once-off payment that gets repaid to you, and you can reinvest over and over? So much more doable. All the money given goes to the person you are providing the money to, and 99% of the loans are repaid. And the benefits go beyond the $25 you invest, of course, as you have provided a long term solution.
Alrighty, I’m off to make a change now.
Tell me, do you have any other suggestions to add? Easy ways you are making a difference?