7 Day Green Challenge
Don’t you hate when people say “oh recycling is too much work” or “being eco friendly is expensive and I just don’t have time for it.” Being uneducated about a green lifestyle can lead to reactions like that. In my daily interactions with people, I’ve come across way too many of these comments lately. A green culture is actually quite simple to lead but just like with anything else, it takes a little practice. You may find yourself falling back into your old ways but perhaps my 7 day Green Challenge can help to fortify some important elements to your green lifestyle. If you feel you are a strong eco-minded person already maybe you want to help influence others around you. Like the famous lines say “Be the change you want to see in the world” and “Build it and they will come”…okay so maybe that last one really doesn’t apply…but you get the idea. People are drawn to ideas by example.
Much like a diet this is going to take some dedication and consistency. With my 7 day Green Challenge you will be asked to perform tasks of all sorts each day with the environment and health in mind. When the challenge is over it’s up to you to carry it through the rest of your days. With a little dedication this could turn into a fun and gratifying experience. It’s a great way to get involved with kids to inspire them to make important sustainable living decisions. In fact, the whole family can participate. I’ll just name a few reasons why you might want to get started like…yesterday!
- Environmental benefits this includes – energy reduction, carbon offset etc.
- Health Benefits – cleaner & safer household environment, eating well & Organic
- Stress reducing – crafting therapeutic projects, physcological rewards
- Strengthening your good green habits and breaking bad old ones – fighting urges from the past
- Further educating yourself and others around you – providing future hope to others and affirmation to yourself that you’re doing the right thing.
Let this challenge be a reminder to love our earth and to live a healthy life. The last thing we want is for something that’s meant to be fun turn into a dragging chore. If that turns out to be the case it’s likely we will quit mid week. So stay motivated and commit and make it fun! Ok let’s go over the tasks for the week.
Day 1 – Crafty Monday
This day we will dedicate to the principles of reusing and recycling. Look through your recycle bin for cartons, plastic containers, paper products or anything that you could use for a project. A while back I started a crafts drawer and just stuck any old thing I thought I could use for a future project. It helps to start a craft drawer so that you have variety. If you don’t have a craft drawer, now is the perfect time to start one! Having more stuff can allow you to be more creative with DIY projects.
The idea for this day is to craft something you could actually use. It doesn’t have to be functional though, it could also be a project you and the kids decide to make for a father’s/mother’s day gift or whatever holiday is around the corner.
Day 2 – Delectable Tuesday
The aim with this day is to try something new in your diet. Your local farmers market is the best choice for fresh and organic produce. Once you have determined where to shop, come up with a brand new recipe using only natural organic foods. Its always fun to try something new. Eating healthy is an important staple of life. We have to learn how to cut out as much contaminates, pesticides, and unnatural additives in our diet as possible. We can do this by integrating sustainable food choices into your everyday life so that you can reap the benefits of health for you and your family.
The other day I found this little gem of a recipe that is super easy and SO delicious and requires hardly any cooking! Simple Kale Recipe.
Day 3 – Contribution Wednesday
Dedicate this day to donating anything you have to give. Even if it’s just going through your closet and taking a sack of clothes to the goodwill. My suggestion with the holidays here is to donate canned foods to your local shelters. The other day I was at Fresh & Easy doing some grocery shopping and walked right past a bin that was taking donations for can foods. Now that I know it’s there I plan to make a second trip for my contribution. Most grocery stores are equipped with bins like this during the holidays.
Donating these days can be as simple as typing in a quick Google search of your favorite charity or environmental cause. I know money is tight around this time of year but even the smallest contribution could go a long way. Winston Churchill rightly said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Here is an example of a cause to donate to that I personally care about: The World Wildlife Fund could use your support.
Day 4 – Stone Age Thursday
This might end up being the hardest challenge in the week. The objective for this challenge is much like the idea of lent (but just for 24 hours) and in return these beneficial things will result from it: you will – spare the air, spare your wallet, spare the environment, and make a symbolic statement. Have you ever tried to go a whole entire day (assuming it’s your day off from work) without driving? watching TV? surfing the net? cooking? turning on the heat? doing laundry etc.? Of course not. Why would you? Most of these things are staples to the average American daily routine and seem quite unrealistic to live by from day to day. The challenge is more to symbolize the idea of our carbon footprint nearly disappearing for one day. I have to admit this one was a toughie.
First, for this challenge you will need to go around the house and unplug every appliance from the wall – Lets just exclude the fridge and stove as it would be wasteful to have all your groceries spoil. So with the few exceptions all your general appliances need to be unplugged. Other things you can’t do as a part of this challenge…using the stove, driving, checking your facebook, watching TV etc. What to do with this time you ask? Well think back to the days of yester-year, where the only form of technology was the telephone and a typewriter. You can take this time to read a good book, spend some “anti-technology” time with your family, get outside to play with your kids (or in my case my kids=my dogs), brainstorm your greatest ideas, document this experience in a journal, exercise, or meditate. Oh and as far as the no cooking rule..Plan ahead for what you can make that doesn’t require the stove top or the microwave, examples of such – Salads, sandwiches, and so forth. Good luck!
Day 5 – Petition Friday
So now you’re back to reality. Whew. You got your laptop glued to your hip, TV on in the background while your boyfriend/girlfriend or significant other is whipping you up a great gourmet dinner. Okay, maybe not gourmet, but God bless them for trying. Life is normal again. So this day is dedicated to doing something that may help impact future generations. It sets a great example for the little ones or your partner and can be done with a few clicks of your mouse.
The petition I signed was to Stop the Dolphin Slaughter in Japan. But please take some time to think about what is most important to you. If you want to tell Obama to clean up toxic mercury you can do so by following that link. There are so many topics like deforestation, animal rights, or pollution and if you can, by all means sign more than one.
Day 6 – Hippie Saturday
Planting a tree sounds like the ultimate hippy-ish thing to do. So embrace your inner hippie and get to shoveling! Just kidding. We all know that the main job provided by trees is to purify the air we breathe. With thousands of acres of burning forests I think planting a tree is certainly a deed that has some longevity. Find a tree planting organization in your area, and volunteer to plant or care for trees in your community.
Visit the Alliance for Community Trees to find a group in your town or city. Or if you don’t have a backyard to plant one and you can’t find an organization near you, then you can always participate in the PLANT A BILLION TREES campaign and donate to have a tree planted for you. One dollar plants one tree. Your tree will be planted in the Atlantic Forest and will directly help protect one of the world’s biggest and most endangered tropical forests.
Day 7 – Advocacy Sunday
Use this day to get the word out. With the beauty of social media this can be as simple as posting an article on your facebook profile that is “Green” in nature. Green tips of any kind would be a good post because it can encourage others of how they too can make changes. Also, Twitter is a good outlet as well as an old fashioned email message with a link to a great Eco-friendly recipe idea like the one I just did about homemade laundry detergent *hint hint*. The goal for this challenge speaks for itself really. Educate those around you when you have the opportunity. There’s a reason why I made certain changes in my life and that is because of others. People showed me little things I could do to save the environment which snowballed into a lifestyle over time. Wouldn’t you love to be that person for someone else!
I hope this challenge wasn’t too difficult. We have a responsibility to the environment to go out there in the world and try to make a daily impact in how we live and what we do. It’s important that we stay active in our choices and learn to stick with them. Be innovative in how you approach your green lifestyle. Think outside the box. Don’t let the world around you tell you what choices to make. I’m sure in your heart you know what the right ones are
Some rights reserved by Joe Lanman, adiything, hoyasmeg, cheetah100, Nika, photologue_np on Flickr.