Before we jump in I’d like to emphasise that this list is not meant to cause additional pressure during these already stressful times. Remember, you can’t do or change everything everyday, and any one small thing that you can do is already great.
What unique times we’re living in. With increasing restrictions being placed on our daily lives for our safety, it can start to feel as though you’re living in a bubble isolated from the rest of time and society. Stay strong, stay safe, and remember to stay at home if you can. Although we are apart, we are in this together.
Despite the pandemic it is important not to forget the climate question. There has been plenty of speculation about what will happen once the current restrictions are lifted and our lives return back to “normal”. Will we use this as an opportunity for change, or will we step into fourth gear with our emissions while we quickly boost the economy? Luckily at least Finland, along with the rest of the EU, has indicated that they will not be forgetting their pledges to combat climate change when helping businesses bounce back from this recession.
But what are some things that we can already do during the quarantine to help with our everyday fight against climate change? Here are some ideas for Eco Actions that you could make a part of your current lifestyle. Pick a one or two and see if you can integrate them into your routines, and then if you can make them stick after things return back to normal!
This list is not exhaustive so if you have any additional ideas for Eco Actions do leave them in the comments or get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram!
Things you can do during corona quarantine that double up as Eco Actions
🚲 Walk or bike when you can, avoiding public transport if possible. Things might actually be closer than you thought. For example, I’d never realised that my 30 minute bus ride to campus is also a 45 minute walk, or a 15 minute cycle away. Since it’s actually faster for me to bike there maybe I’ll continue cycling once I actually need to be on campus again!
🍎 Buy local when you can. Not only does this often have a smaller carbon footprint, but you will also be helping local businesses during these tough times.
🥡 If you’re not in a risk group, walk/bike to get your takeout. You’re saving the fuel it takes for them to drive to you! This also prevents the delivery services from being clogged up for those who really need them. #SupportYourLocal
🥬 Store food correctly. Since many of us are now buying food in bulk, it is important that you’re storing it appropriately so that the food doesn’t spoil and lead to massive amounts of food waste. This is true especially for fruit and veggies, which tend to spoil very easily if not stored correctly. Always google how to best store your food – this is an example of a great website. You can also already help reduce food waste in the store, by buying the slightly tired looking veggies or some of the more battered cans of beans.
🥕 Learn some new recipes and make use of veggies that have already seen their best days. Instagram and the rest of the internet is filled with inspiration, how about scrolling through some vegetarian accounts, or flicking through an old cookbook you have at home? We’ll also be sharing at least one new vegetarian or vegan recipe to our Insta story every Wednesday, make sure to check it out!
👚 Go through your closet, you might find some old gems. Spring cleaning might lead you to find some t-shirts you’d forgotten about or those trousers that didn’t quite fit you right, but now they do! Be bold and try some new outfit combos with what you find. For the things that you no longer need, maybe you could donate or sell them onwards after the quarantine is over.
👖 Sew up those holes, patch those jeans. Give your clothes some TLC and see if you can stretch out their wear – embroidery is also a great way to update their look. The fashion industry is a huge polluter with a terrible track-record for human rights issues; the best thing you can do to reduce these effects is to consume less and use what you already own for longer.
🌍 Calculate your carbon footprint and/or figure out your personal Earth Overshoot Day. Your carbon footprint is the total amount of emissions that get released by living your normal lifestyle. Since we have plenty of time on our hands, now is a great time to figure out what your carbon footprint is, as well as how many Earths we would need if everybody had your lifestyle. There are plenty of calculators and other tools available online to help you do this. Psst! There will be another post coming out with more tips about tracking your carbon footprint very soon!
💡 Switch to a renewable electricity plan. Most energy providers in Finland now have the opportunity to switch partly or fully to using renewable energy. How about using this time to investigate which one works best for you?
🧦 Save water and wear your socks/t-shirts twice. No one is going to see you in any case – and it will also slow down the endless laundry cycle.
🛁 Try to go for longer without washing your hair. Again, since no one is gonna see you, now is a great opportunity to try not washing your hair for a bit longer. Challenge yourself and see if you can stretch it a day further between each wash. By doing this you’ll be saving packaging as well as cash.
♻️ Set up a recycling system and/or get creative and reuse something that you hadn’t thought to reuse before. This is an especially great point if you’ve gone back home to your parents and they haven’t set it up yet – you could use your expertise to help set it up!
🧼 Practise making your own deodorant or cosmetics. If you have the ingredients at home, why not make this a fun DIY project. In the long term you’ll end up saving money as well as plenty of packaging materials.
🌜People with periods, this is a great time to practise using a mooncup! Did you order a mooncup but then never got around to trying it? Now you have a great opportunity! You’ll always be in the comfort of your own home so no need to stress about having to find a bathroom for any adjustments you might have to make.
🌲 Go outside and into nature if you can. Breathe it in, soak it up, this is the Great Outdoors. Not only will your head likely feel clearer after the oxygen and the movement, but let’s not forget that spring is unfolding all around us. Participate in Kevätseuranta and keep track of the arrival of spring. Do bear in mind safety and follow the government’s official regulations – just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you’re protected from the virus.
📚 Take some time to learn more about issues that matter to you. Read some articles, books, watch some documentaries, take some courses, listen to podcasts – now is a great time to educate yourself on topics that you care about (such as the environment! 😉)
🤓 Attend online webinars, seminars, and events. There has been a huge increase in online webinars and conferences, so now is the perfect opportunity to “go” to that international conference you’d been eyeing but couldn’t quite afford or didn’t want to fly for. If you find any interesting ones in your field, make sure to share them with your coursemates!
🧘♂️ Attend online yoga / sports / arts classes. Many local businesses have taken their classes and workshops, and even exhibitions, online – instead of taking the bus or driving to get there, now you can attend from the comfort of your own home. #SupportYourLocal
🏝️ Simulate your cancelled holiday from your couch like this couple. Cancelled holiday? Doesn’t mean the holiday vibes are cancelled. This budget alternative is also eco-friendly!
📣 Use social media to share your Eco Actions, participate in campaigns, and spread the word about environmental issues. Participate in campaigns, such as Fridays for the Future and 🐝 Pelastakaa Pörriäinen to raise awareness for these important causes.
🌻 And don’t forget about our Menovinkit! At the start of each month the Environmental Committee releases a list of environmentally themed events that we think sound interesting. The events that we’ll share over the next months will naturally be ones that you can attend online. If you spot any online that you think we’ve missed, DM us on Insta or Facebook and we’ll spread the word!
🌱 Come join the Environmental Committee’s meetings & let’s organise some environmental events together! Oftentimes if something worries you, taking concrete action the best thing you can do to relieve it. Come join our monthly Zoom meetings, and keep an eye out on our Facebook group to hop on board of a project. We’re currently working on Zero Waste September amongst other things. We’d love to hear your ideas!
Given the current state of the world, something like climate change can feel very distant. However, let’s make sure to keep doing even small things to keep doing our part for our planet. 🙌
Have you been doing any of these Eco Actions already? Are there any you’d like to try! Let us know in the Facebook comments! 🌏
Image & text: Katja Kaurinkoski