28 Ways in 28 Days
Biophilic design expert Oliver Heath and the team at Oliver Heath Design believe everyone should be doing their bit for the planet, no matter how tiny the action may seem. They’ve put together 28 small, simple ways to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly existence.
For day one, start propagating! Create a propagation station from cuttings – spider plants work brilliantly. Re-plant them and pass them on to plant-loving family and friends – this is a great way to give a sustainable gift and increase connection to nature.
2. AVOID FAST FASHION!
Spend some time on day two browsing charity shops: say no to fast fashion and the damage it causes our planet! If you don’t already, why not take a look at second-hand options or ethical brands before heading straight to the high street? There are always some preloved hidden gems to be found AND the money goes to a good cause. Win-win!
3. SEED SWAPPING
Sharing is caring! Seed swapping at Seedy Sunday – Britain’s largest community seed swap – is perfect for day three. It promotes seed diversity and sovereignty – both of which we need to have a happy and healthy world. Even a small urban garden can help to support bees, pollinating insects, amphibians and other wildlife!
4. WEEKDAY VEG
Going vegetarian or as fully plant-based as possible during the weekdays is our own version of the 5:2 diet! Every day in our office, we use veg bought from independent green grocers (we plan to start ordering veg boxes soon to help keep this going!) and make a fresh soup in our beloved soup machine. A fun and easy way to eat healthily, support local businesses, come together every day and help the environment. Now that’s what I call
5. MOVIE NIGHT
For day five, our team attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the beautiful Brighton Dome. It got us all thinking about past skiing trips, mountain adventures and times enjoyed out in nature. Why not get together with friends and have a nature-inspired movie night! Even small, indirect connections with nature are proven to boost health and wellbeing.
Having your own compost heap or bin is a highly effective way to reduce your CO2 footprint as it avoids producing greenhouse gases such as methane. Composting also replenishes and revitalises your exhausted soil for a happier, healthier garden!
7. LITTER PICKING
To end our first week of 28 ways in 28 days, we spent our lunch break scanning the beach for litter. The UK’s Department for Environment reported that, on average, 744 items of litter were found on every 100 metres of beach from 2016-2017. Whether it be a Brighton beach clean, a litter-pick session around the block or just stopping and picking up litter as you go about your day, every little helps towards creating a cleaner environment.
8. DRAFT PROOFING
Howling winds today have reminded us how much heat can be lost – and energy wasted – by unpleasant drafts. We decided instead of turning up the heating, we’d save energy by draft-proofing our windows to block out the chills. Ventilation is an important element in controlling air quality and is a necessity for enclosed spaces. However it’s the unwanted, uncontrolled air that drains the energy usage needed to heat the space to a comfortable temperature.
9. BUY LONELY BANANAS
Buy the ugly fruit! We’ve discovered that 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste every year in the UK, with 40% of crop vegetables being disregarded just to meet the aesthetic requirements of supermarkets. At OH we want to normalise purchasing and consumption of less appealing fruits and veg that are still entirely edible. Next time you see that lonely banana at the shop, don’t just take the pretty bunches – grab the individual bananas that otherwise might get left behind and thrown away!
10. ENERGY METERS
Day 10 of 28 ways in 28 days: get a grip of your energy use! We know if a tap is leaking and wasting water, but not if we are wasting electricity – it’s hidden and silent . A cheap energy meter gives you a live feed on your domestic energy use, saving money and carbon emissions and highlighting energy vampires like phone chargers and appliances left on standby. A study by the Energy Saving Trust revealed that homes are wasting £50-£86 a year on these items – equivalent to 9%-16% of the average electricity bill.
11. REFILL REVOLUTION
In the UK an estimated 800 plastic bottles a minute either end up in landfill or as litter. Many of them make their way into our waterways and oceans. With that in mind, the OH team is committing to cutting out plastic bottles and using sustainable alternatives to carry water around with us. Have you heard about Brighton’s #refillrevolution campaign to reduce single-use plastic consumption? Don’t worry, it’s not just here – there are
now over 100 Refill Schemes across the UK and the Refill Revolution has is going international too.
12. BRING YOUR OWN
Today we’ve popped into our local plant/café/workshop space (yes, it is all three!) Between Two Thorns, Brighton to grab a coffee in our eco-friendly travel mugs. Lots of cafés around the UK now offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable coffee cups, so you can help reduce your environmental impact and save money at the same time!
13. BE PRESENT IN NATURE
As part of 28 ways in 28 days, we can’t ignore how our minds can affect the way we act in nature. Take a mindful moment, switch off and be present in nature without distractions. Did you know that 64% of workers feel distracted by their phones? Consider designating some phone-free time to improve your concentration and reconnect with nature.
14. HOMEMADE GIFTS
Instead of buying our loved ones cards this year (covered in unnecessary plastic wrap), we’re making our own cards! Who doesn’t love a handcrafted gift? It’s better for the environment and a very thoughtful way to show your love.