30 day Sustainability Challenge: actions towards a more conscious living

June 2021 _ 30 day Sustainability Challenge
Main illustrations by Cristina Estanislao

There’s nothing like a challenge to shake-up your lifestyle.

 There are many ways you can create change and build awareness, whether it’s the way you eat, how many steps you take a day, what you wear, when you go to sleep, meditate, waste-free, technology-free, you name it, there’s probably been a challenge made for it.

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A CHALLENGE TO SHAKE-UP YOUR LIFESTYLE. THERE ARE MANY WAYS YOU CAN CREATE CHANGE AND BUILD AWARENESS, WHETHER IT’S THE WAY YOU EAT, HOW MANY STEPS YOU TAKE A DAY, WHAT YOU WEAR, WHEN YOU GO TO SLEEP, MEDITATE, WASTE-FREE, TECHNOLOGY-FREE, YOU NAME IT, THERE’S PROBABLY BEEN A CHALLENGE MADE FOR IT.

Participating in one is a great way to shine light on your daily decisions. Is this thing I always do good for me? Does this harm the environment unnecessarily? Could I do, buy, experience this another, better way?

So we wanted to create a challenge for 30 days, that we could all do together, shining light on something that we at SAYE care deeply about - sustainability.

We have focused on the big 5 - Transportation, Waste, Food, Water and Energy.

Taking these little steps may not seem like you’re going to change the world any time soon, or certainly in 30 days, but as you consciously make these shifts... knowledge is found. Light is shone. And these little acts exponentially improve one’s way of living, moving and interacting with nature and your environment.

So, wherever you are in your life, whether you’re the ‘hippy’ friend that only showers once a week, or you’re a suit wearing CEO who drinks coffee from your keepcup, these daily suggestions are easy to perform actions that can provide long lasting change.

DAY 1

Make the pledge.

Today is solely dedicated to setting your intention. Spend the morning tuning into your environment, pause to look around and see all of the things you have, feel grateful.

You may not write very often, but we encourage you to pick up a notebook, put pen to paper and coin your own personal pledge for the next 30 days.

Some journal prompts:

- I want to participate in this 30 day challenge because…

- The 5 changes I would like to see in my lifestyle and environment are…

- We must preserve nature because…

SIGN-OFF... I pledge to try my very best over the next 30 days and complete each day with consciousness and humility, I understand that I may not always succeed, however I intend to continually impact my environment positively, signed…

DAY 2

Find a local organic grocer or farm.

There have been many documentaries shining a light on the agricultural industry and the importance of eating organic produce (and a primarily vegetarian/vegan diet). Not only is eating organic great for your body and the environment, the food tastes better.

Check out the organic shops in your local area and source an organic farm that can deliver weekly or fortnightly boxes of fresh fruit and veggies. Nourishing your body with wonderful produce will improve your relationship with yourself, with food and you’ll also be supporting a local business.

Documentaries to watch: Kiss the ground all about soil regeneration and how this can be a solution to the climate. Well Fed and Licence to Farm a documentary exploring the role of science, sustainability and food safety in modern agriculture.

DAY 3

Clean-out your products.

Use of chemical body-care or cleaning products affects the indoor and outdoor environment, can lead to pollution and waste, and often create severe health problems.

Head to the shops or online and buy GREEN cleaning products with these things in mind...

- Biodegradability.
- Low toxicity.
- Low VOC content.
- Minimal packaging.
- Produced with less energy.

DAY 4

Refill your green eco-friendly products.

While you are on the eco-friendly products train, go the next step and find a local shop that refills your bottles, instead of having to buy more plastic every time you run out.

These sustainability shops are popping up around all major cities and are a wonderful way to save on unnecessary waste.

DAY 5

Set up your recycling system.

Recycling feels good. There’s no two ways about it. And if you aren’t already recycling in the year 2021, well you have a lot of catching up to do. Focus some time today on setting up a fail-proof system that is EASY to implement. This is key. If you have to walk to the other side of the house down the stairs and around the bend to throw plastic in a bin, then you’ll get lazy and simply not do it. Setup for success!

DAY 6

Save your things to reuse.

As you move through the 30 days, be aware of what objects you are throwing out that you can potentially re-use, repurpose or recycle. Glass jars for refilling, egg cartons for art and crafts, or find plastic containers that you can use for the next take-away you order.

day 7

Shorten showers for the rest of the month.

A shorter shower not only saves water, but also saves on the energy used to heat that water. An easy way to bring the length of your showers under control is to install a timer in there with you. Experts say 5 minutes is the optimal amount for healthy skin, an added bonus, so keep it under 5.

day 8

No more plastic water bottles.

Keepcups and refillable bottles are the way forward! And these days ordering a daily coffee in a single use cup seems so damn wasteful. So look for an alternative in your kitchen for your water bottle (glass jars can work) and invest in a keepcup that you can re-use for years.

day 9

Donate to a cause.

Supporting movements whether it’s with your dollar, your time, or your energy, can be the pivotal point when it comes to deep societal change.

Find a cause that resonates with you and reach out to them to see how, when and what you can collaborate on to create a positive impact.

day 10

Repair something broken.

These days it seems easier and cheaper, if something is broken, to simply buy another one again. However, why not just fix it? The value behind fixing something that is broken, as opposed to throwing it away and buying a new one is incredible. You’ll feel satisfied and gratified from the work too!

day 11

Plant a tree.

Today is a great day to plant a tree! Trees don’t only help to purify air by removing carbon dioxide, they also store carbon, and release oxygen into the atmosphere. If you live in a city and don’t have access to land, look into sponsoring a tree planting company like Tree Nation.

day 12

Repurpose leftovers.

Food waste is a tragedy. They say between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten, and the value of this wasted food is worth over $1 trillion. Be aware of how much you buy, the portions you are cooking and make sure to keep tabs on what you have in the fridge. Be creative with leftovers and figure out a way to eat everything you buy.

day 13

Go Vegan this week.

Meatless Mondays have taken off over the last few years and we think it’s wonderful. Most people can easily understand how eating meat for every single meal may not be the most sustainable of practices.

Do you think you could eat no meat for a whole week?

Try planning your meals a few days in advance, find delicious recipes that will inspire you, order your weekly veg box and enjoy the challenge.

day 14

Go through your wardrobe.

We really don’t need half of the clothes, shoes and accessories that we have and every few months it’s great to have a bit of a wardrobe cleanout. Pop some music on, pour a glass of your favourite drink and go through all your clothing to see which pieces you can give away to friends, re-purpose or donate.

day 15

Swap to online instead of paper.

Most companies have made the move to communicating with their clients online. But there’s always more ways to save on wasting paper. Think bank statements, magazines, newspapers, and any form of communication that you may receive or purchase and look at making the switch online.

day 16

Get rid of stuff.

Minimalism is a growing movement and for good reason. Consumerism is a pandemic in itself and the amount of things we own as a modern society is overwhelming. We simply don’t need everything we have.

Use today to review your belongings and take the plunge to give away or donate anything that is not serving you. You’ll not only be helping someone else in need, you’ll be clearing space in your home and feel lighter and free.

day 17

Get outside.

You’re just over halfway through the 30 day Sustainability Challenge and you deserve to get out and enjoy the fresh outdoors. Plan a hike, get out in nature, hug a tree. Perhaps do all three? Breathe nature in and feel connected.

day 18

Join a charity, environmental activist group or like-minded community.

There are a myriad of environmentally-based charities, organizations, and groups, looking for members and volunteers. They participate in a wide range of activities relating to the environment, such as reforestation, conservation, and educating the community.

day 19

Grow your own herb or edible plant.

Bringing more green into your life is awesome, and green that you can actually eat and cook with is a BONUS. Make sure you commit to planting a herb that is easy to tend to first, so you gain momentum and a few weeks in, once your herbs are flourishing, look at adding more.

day 20

Save water.

You’ve already made a massive difference with the reduced shower times, however we can always be creative and go one step further. Be aware of how much water you use to wash dishes, clean your teeth, and look for ways to recycle used water e.g watering your new herb garden.

day 21

Walk instead of driving or taking transport.

Walking is fun! It’s relaxing, you breathe in fresh air AND you avoid adding to the crazy amount of daily pollution that is being expelled into the air.

If you can’t walk to work today, find another time throughout your week that you can swap a car, bus or metro and choose to use your legs or a push-bike instead.

day 22

Buy nothing new.

Buying nothing is so liberating! Try it and you’ll see. This is a wonderful exercise that will really encourage reflection on just how much money, energy, time is spent on buying and consuming.

day 23

Pledge to travel locally or consciously.

Traveling to far-flung places is exciting, but the cost on the environment to get there can be devastating. If we all committed to traveling by long-haul flight less, and spending some more time exploring our neck of the woods, well the environment would be very grateful for it.

day 24

Household energy use.

Whether it’s installing a water filter, changing to natural gas, energy saving light bulbs, eco insulation instead of heating - today is the day to look into it and make some changes. The way your living situation is setup can make a huge difference to your health, that of your environment and even your weekly bills. Search for the weak link and make a change.

day 25

Money is energy.

Voting with your dollar is powerful. Have you thought about where, what and who you buy or invest your money in? What’s your favourite brand of clothing? Is your bank ethical? What companies do you invest into? So be cautious who you give your money to and research into their intentions.

day 26

Vote.

This may seem like a weird point in a 30 day sustainability challenge, however, voting for the people representing your community that align with your values on climate, education, waste, the list goes on, is one of the more powerful things that you can do.

So spend today researching representatives in your local area, or your city and state, and hone in on what they are striving to change and do in their community.

day 27

Turn off your heating and aircon.

Today is simple - if it’s cold put a jumper on, if it’s hot put your bikinis on. Using a heater or aircon is nice on an extreme day, but it’s really not always needed. Think scarcity when it comes to using all of your appliances, abundance doesn’t have room here.

day 28

Clean Australia Day.

No, we are definitely not suggesting that you fly to Australia and clean it up. But the country does have a great initiative. Every year residents in Australia stop for a full day and are encouraged to ‘clean up’ their areas. Whether it’s the beach, a nearby park, a roadside spot, it’s all about picking up trash and making the streets beautiful. Get a bunch of your mates together and do the same.

day 29

Upcycle something old.

Make something beautiful again. Trump tried to do it with America, why can’t we try and do it in our homes? Upcycling is a great concept that can be applied to a lot of areas or things in our life.

Here are a few ideas to inspire!

day 30

Reflect.

You did it! Congratulations on making these fundamental steps in making your lifestyle more conscious. Today is a day to reflect on your experience, on the process and everything you’ve taken away from the month that was dedicated to sustainability.

Grab that notebook again and write down your key take-aways.

“We do not
inherit the
Earth from our
Ancestors, we
borrow it from
our children”

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