You’ve found your way to the Sustainability in Style ‘Tis the Season’ section of our ‘Take Action’ collection. This page is loaded with ideas on how you can take action this holiday season to reduce your negative impact on people and planet.
From reducing your food waste, to shopping for gifts in mindful ways, these tips should help inspire you to live life in Sustainable Style during the festive season (minus the overwhelm).
Some of the resources on this page date back to the beginnings of Sustainability in Style’s online journey as a personal blog. We acknowledge that ‘Christmas’ is commonly used in older posts due to our geographical locations (Australia) recognition of this holiday time. However, the term ‘holiday’ is now used as the season of celebration expands to be inclusive of other cultural and religious beliefs.
You’ve found your way to the action-based section of Sustainability in Style. The place and space that shares previous action adventures conducted in Sustainable Style.
Whatever it is that you value, we invite you to explore, connect, and tread a little lighter on our planet holiday season.
Celebrate this season with big love.
As the year comes towards its final curtain, we start to reflect. With this reflection, there’s that oh-so-human sense of sadness that one more year has come and gone—the significance of another milestone in that passage from birth to beyond. Depending on the year that was, we may look ahead with a thirst for newness over the horizon. The turn of another calendar year, the opening of a blank new journal page empty with the promise of memory-making adventures. We sigh a (sometimes melancholic) goodbye to the old, and welcome in the new with open arms, a stylish outfit, and party tunes.
The end of year, while bittersweet, is also a time of hope. That what lies ahead, in the great unknown, will be as good, or better than what we leave behind.
When you take the brave path of living life in Sustainable Style it can be a challenge to have hope in the face of (what seems to be) so much adversity. The wicked environmental, social, economic, and governmental challenges we face can seem impossible. Especially when viewed through the lens of our binary based (yes/no, right/wrong, happy/sad) online media channels. Channels that fail to account for the nuances of our lived, loved, learned, and flawed human existence. Diluting the complexities of our humanness down to numbers using formulas and algorithms.
Hope and fear are two feelings we are familiar with. If asked to demonstrate fear, we would likely rise to the challenge with ease. We are well aware of fear (and most of our modern-day media is presented through the lens of fear). If you were asked to explain hope, it may be a little harder to access in your mental filing cabinet. While most of us are aware of what ‘hope’ is, it is not readily presented in our media channels, and it can be difficult to define.
DOWNLOADOUR HOLIDAY GUIDE
The following TED talk is a considered discussion on hope. The definition of it, and how you can use cynicism and fear as leverage to find solutions, new ways to look at existing problems to find solutions, and ways to foster hope in the face of global adversity. Watch it and consider the following “Action brings about hope”.
TAKE THE HOLIDAY CHALLENGE
VALUES MOTIVATORS AND HOPE
We know (and celebrate) that everyone’s approach to living life in Sustainable Style is a little bit different. These prompts are designed to help you take action in hopeful ways no matter what your Values Motivator is.
ANIMAL WELFARE AND COMPASSION
- Spend some time over the holidays educating yourself on what challenges habitat clearing and natural disasters are having on habitats and sign petitions relevant to literature you have uncovered. Find examples of scientists and community groups who are doing good to change mitigate, converse or preserve habitats. Can you take part, share, donate, or join (or all of these)?
- Learn about creating wildlife-attracting gardens and build one (big or small) in your yard, on community land, or on your balcony.
- Investigate how animals are treated for human use. Find examples of industry leaders in animal welfare, or alternatives to products and services that use or exploit animals. Plan a list for the new year of switches you can make to make your daily actions more Animal Welfare and Compassion friendly. Find ways to share this (in a not- too-self-righteous way) with friends and family when they ask you about your switches.
- Start a learning journey into ‘Environmental Racism’ and how injustices have developed due to our global economic model, offshore manufacturing, waste trade, and the tragedy of commons. Find some ways to take action in the upcoming year to remove racial and social barriers. This might mean signing petitions or lobbying government (especially here in Australia where we see ongoing inequality for our First Nation peoples) or choosing to support ‘trade, not aid’ businesses, or education initiatives for those in developing nations.
- Get active in your local area. Choose to be part of your local area’s social initiatives, from starting a craft group to being on your town’s tourism board. Each social step you make is an opportunity to discuss sustainable and equitable futures for folks in your local area. Sustainable change needs to happen at home as each community is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to global sustainability problems.
- Start a social enterprise. The key to this is to start small. It might be a simple produce swap between neighbours that scales up over the course of the year to include parents at your kid’s school and the folks at work. Simple ideas often have the best results. The more people who join in, the more helpers you have. Social capital is key to sustainable success.
- Consider how you can use your body to act in Environmentally friendly ways. You might want to use it for advertising, choosing to buy only sustainable fabric options, purchasing t-shirts with slogans from charities you support (Sea Shepherd do a good portion of their fundraising via merchandise). Slogans and facts on your clothing can offer a great talking point for those who interact with you. You may choose to use your body as a vessel for protest, walking the streets a march, a peaceful sit-in at a logging or pipeline site, or via social media imagery of your Sustainable Self.
- Spend time connecting with nature. For those who are motivated by the natural world. Taking time away from screens and people is essential. Spend quality time in a place that brings you joy simply observing animals and plants do their thing. It can be nice to find a place that has been reclaimed by nature. An old building that’s being taken over by trees and grass, an waste refuge site that’s now a park. Use this as a hopeful reminder that nature always reclaims what was hers when given a chance.
- Join a revegetation or conservation group. These groups are full of hopeful folks who are happy to break a sweat in the name of Environmental Sustainability. There’s nothing like digging a hole, planting a tree, and watching it grow over the years to provide habitat and natural ecosystem processes.
SIMPLICITY AND STREAMLINED LIFESTYLE
- Use your love of life with less (i.e., fuss, stuff, mess) to inspire others. This could be sharing your tips with friends and family. Leading by example by gifting experiences or services only (or requesting that friends gift you experiences or services only). You might start a social media feed to share what your life looks like with less. Encouraging others to consider minimalist living, organised life, or sustainability streamlined. This gives hope to buys folks that they can be sustainable without it taking up all their time and resources.
- Start sharing with your social circles. Take action by getting some sharing services with friends, family and co-workers. If those around you have expressed that they want to live a life with less fuss consider sharing your car, boat, caravan, books, utilities, spare rooms, baby gear, etc. Find an app that will help you keep track of who has what and enable people to book items in advance.
- Frustrated by trying to cook healthy and Sustainable meals? Find ways to fit sustainable food choices into your diet by trialling options available. Choose a new one each fortnight. Examples could be; a meal planning service, bartering or paying a friend to cook, the farmers market, farmers market delivery box, or the bulk-food packaging free supermarket. As soon as you find an option that works for you share it with others. Work through this approach with other areas you would like to improve but don’t have heaps of time to investigate. This action-based approach is a fast-track to identifying what will work for you without all the hard yards of planning and research.
SHORTCUTS TO TAKE ACTION
There’s loads of content in our ‘Tis the Season to be Eco series. Here’s shortcuts to some of the resources we have on offer.