Make 1 Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: What’s Veganuary About?

What’s all this stuff about Veganuary?

Veganuary is a commitment to try the Vegan diet and/or the Veganism lifestyle for the 31 days of January this year or every year.

How do you pronounce Veganuary?

Almost like Jan-u-ary, except it’s Vee-Gan-You-Ary!

Why January?

Well that’s when lots of us make ‘New Year Resolutions’ to do better, eat better, be fitter, be more healthy, isn’t it?

And as a Vegan diet is plant-based, it’s recognised as one of the healthiest and kindest diets. It’s not only healthy for you, but it’s also healthier and kinder to animals (you’re not using or killing them for meat, milk and eggs) and to the planet.

What’s Veganism got to with the planet?

Where and how your food is grown, fed, harvested and killed affects the natural environment.

Bulldozer clearing forest

From the pesticides and herbicides used prolifically on our food crops and the crops fed to animals kept for meat, milk and eggs – to the slashing, burning, clearing and deforestation of large areas for grazing for those animals as well as space to grow crops for them to eat – to the loss of habitats and biodiversity, and the resulting species extinctions – to the large-scale disease, use of antibiotics, and pollution caused by keeping billions of animals confined – to the major impacts of animal agriculture on climate change

Anything and everything we eat and drink has an impact on the planet.

This sounds bad. But humans have to eat. So what can we do about it?

Commit to being mindful about where your food comes from, how animals were treated from birth to confinement to slaughterhouse, and what chemicals were used on your and their food.


Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese image thanks to viva.org.uk

Consider changing what you eat. Maybe try Veganuary (even if it’s already halfway into, or past January, it doesn’t matter – have a go). Or maybe try eating less meat, eggs and dairy, or having some meat-free or diary-free days every week.

Don’t do nothing! There’s plenty of support from groups on social media as well as websites with advice, support, challenges and tasty recipes (such as this Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese). You can do this! 🙂

What’s this about the Vegan ‘lifestyle’? Isn’t it just a diet?

Get the long and the short of all things Veganism here.

What are your experiences with Veganism? Have you tried it? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

https://www.facebook.com/Veganuary
https://www.forksoverknives.com/longevity-diet/#gs.XTEasLk6

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/21/lifestyle-change-eat-less-meat-climate-change

https://veganuary.com/

https://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk/recipes/easy-vegan-spaghetti-bolognese

https://www.viva.org.uk/


 

Single-Use Plastic – 5 Ways To Reduce Yours and Save the Earth

plastic waste on a beach

Single-use plastic is what it says:

Plastic that’s been designed to be used once only, then thrown away.

What a waste!

We all know it’s a huge problem.

single use plastic - plastic bottles, cups, bags, tubes and lids

Billions of tons of waste plastic lies about as litter, clogs up the oceans, and animals get caught and injured or killed by it.

Plus plastic is made from fossil fuels (oil) and takes decades or centuries to decompose…

And even then, it doesn’t fully decompose – it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until we have plastic micro-particles in the soil, water, air, and inside animals and humans!

Examples of single-use plastic are everywhere, in lots of things we buy everyday.

transparent plastic cup with pink liquid, with plastic lid and plastic strawHow many of these do you use?

  • Plastic water bottles and disposable cups for coffee, soft drinks or water,
  • Cling film or plastic wrappings around fresh fruit and vegetables or prepared foods like fresh pizza,
  • Plastic packaging like six-pack rings for packs of canned drinks, or sealed around other packaging like teabag boxes,
  • person walking, carrying plastic shopping bag with fruitPlastic straws and plastic spoons, knives and forks,
  • Plastic containers like yoghurt pots, laundry liquid bottles, toiletry tubes and bottles, and take-away/fast food containers,
  • And of course – plastic bags like supermarket bags, carrier bags or shopping bags from stores.

So what can we do about it?

Here’s 5 things you can do right now, to reduce your “plastic footprint” on planet Earth:

  1. We can’t always help buying plastic packaging for some things. So if you do, save the plastic bags or wraps. Then wash them if necessary and make sure to use them again.reusable coffee cup with yellow sun design
  2. Sometimes when you’re out, you can’t find a recycling bin for your waste. Take it back home and recycle it. Don’t put recyclable plastic waste into a normal rubbish/garbage bin, because it’ll unnecessarily end up in landfill, around an animal’s neck, or in the oceans.
  3. Plan ahead – take a reusable cup and your own set of reusable cutlery, including a reusable straw, with you.Mallard Duck with plastic six pack rings around his neck
  4. Use your own reusable fabric shopping bags (even reusable plastic shopping bags can end up as waste).
  5. Think of our wildlife – cut plastic six-pack rings, tear open plastic bags, cut straws up and open or tear up any packaging that might get caught around a bird’s foot, a fox’s head, a sea turtle’s flipper or a seal’s nose.

Speak up!

plastic waste and litter floating in lily pondWhen you’re paying for your food and groceries, make a comment to the staff, talk to fellow shoppers, or complain to managers about all the unnecessary plastic packaging.

Some people even unwrap their food and groceries while still in the store, and leave their plastic waste there – what better way to get the large supermarkets talking to manufacturers about reducing excess plastic?

Start conversations! 

glass cups with reusable straws

Say no in restaurants and coffee shops – is it really necessary to have a plastic lid and plastic straw with your drink?

When you’re out and about, be seen using your own reusable coffee cup, recycled water bottle, paper straw and washable cutlery – and talk to others about it. Many coffee shops offer a discount if you use your own mug or cup rather than one of theirs, so it’ll save you money too.

It’s a challenge, but worth it.

By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Challenge yourself and your family and friends to use less single-use plastic.

Zero-waste challenges like Zero Waste Life, Apps like MyLittlePlasticFootprint.org, and Social Media groups like PlasticWasteInOceans or PlasticFreeSupport are an informative and fun way to get people involved and motivated.

You can investigate the issue of plastic pollution further with this interactive worksheet all about plastics, pollution and solutions, available to download here.

Here is an infographic from boomerangalliance.org.au – all about plastic pollution around Australia:

Let’s all start taking action today. Here’s to a plastic-free world!

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

They are available on Amazon and major bookstore websites worldwide.


Sources:

https://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2017/12/19/8-single-use-plastic-items-you-can-quit-right-now

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-plastic-is-harming-animals-the-planet-and-us/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic


Photo of litter on beach by hhach of Pixabay.com.

Photo of pink drink in transparent plastic cup by Alexander Kim from Pexels.

Photo of person carrying yellow plastic bag by cocoparisienne of Pixabay.com.

Picture of different types of single-use plastics by maria_johansson of Pixabay.com.

Photo of yellow reusable cup by Michael Frattaroli on Unsplash.

Photo of Mallard duck with plastic by Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK (Please take your litter home!Uploaded by Foerster) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of litter in pond by Hagerty Ryan, USFWS of Pixnio.com.

Photo of drinks glasses with reusable straws by StockSnap of Pixabay.com.

Photo of planet Earth by NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Infographic “Plastic Does Not Go Away” from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/231/attachments/original/1464851954/MicroPlastic-Infographic-Final-2016.jpg?1464851954.


 

WonderWorksheets – Great Learning & Teaching Resources

Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came has been written to be much, much more than just a story.

It’s purposely geared towards learning and doing – especially around environmental issues.

Not only are there information, guidance and websites included at the back of the book, to feed and nurture curiosity, but there are also separate WonderWorksheets (essentially these are worksheets, but with added value) to take it all further.

WonderWorksheets include reading comprehension-style questions based on extracts from the story, with space for children to write their answers and notes, as well as research and discussion ideas, website links, fiction and non-fiction writing activities, and SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) quizzes.

For each chapter of the story, there are four A4 pages of WonderWorksheets, giving you and your children ample exploration and literacy activities once you’ve read the book, or as you read each chapter.

Perfect for teachers, parents, homeschoolers, clubs, private tutors….


Check out WonderWorksheets set A

Happy reading, writing, talking, researching and questioning! 🙂