Did you know that every decision you make has the power to make the world a better place for everyone? The simple decision not to use plastic bags can save birds. If you give a friend an experience instead of a trinket made in China, you choose not to support factories that use child labour. Here is a simple challenge – try to be a better friend to the world for a week. Do it now, plenty of good intentions are never carried out. Anyone can do it. Do half the challenge if you cannot go the whole hog. What do you need to do?
- Avoid plastic bags with a passion. For a week, put your things in a canvas bag or just place them on the counter. Why? The world uses about 1 trillion plastic bags in a year and Estonia unfortunately comes first in this scoring table of shame. By avoiding plastic bags you will save the birds, garbage patches and the whole world from trash
. -Drink tap water. Bottled water is a hundred times overpriced, literally. Estonian groundwater is healthy and good for you. If you do not like the taste of water, add berries or lemon. Why? Producing bottled water takes 2,000 times more energy than tap water and it is not cleaner than Estonian water, it just has better marketing.
-Buy at least one product with an ethical label: a pack of fair trade coffee or tea, sugar for jam, or chocolate. Why? 168 million children all over the world work in inhumane conditions. Children who should actually be in school or having fun. A fair share of the income earned on monitored products with an ethical label reaches the producers, so that their children could go to school and enjoy their childhood.
-Sort your waste. Already doing it? High five! Not yet, and feeling ashamed about it? Start from taking the worst offender – packaging – to a packaging container. Or better yet, sign up for free packaging disposal. Google pakendikott to get more information on packaging disposal in Estonia. Why? Packaging makes up 60% of our waste and by recycling it we can save a lot of oil (because it can be used for new packaging).
-Walk. Choose one day to take public transport or walk instead of your regular mode of transport. (DO NOT choose a day that you were going to spend in bed anyway.) Why? Transportation accounts for half of the greenhouse gases emitted in Europe. Taking the bus benefits the world in more ways than one. We promise that taking a walk will make you happier as well.
-Resist the allure of the tropics and buy fresh local food. Fruit, mushrooms, vegetables – choose local! Why? The average banana travels 10,769 kilometres before it reaches you. The world is paying for aviation fuel.
-Skip disposable cups. Life without a hot drink can be bleak, but the world will thank you. Why? Our forests are paying for disposable cups (plastic ones are made from oil). Some plastic is even added to paper cups to keep the hot drink from burning your fingers.
- Give a friend an experience, not a thing. Having the most stuff when you die does not mean you won at life. The world only loses. Why? Because most reasons for climate change are rooted in excessive consumption. The less you buy, the better you are.
Have a meat-free day and eat plants for a change. According to a fresh report by the UN, meat production harms the environment as much as the production of fossil fuels. We all have to eat, but maybe not as much.
2015 is European Year for Development.
Read more about the Europe Aid project
For more info: Margit Säre, margit @ ctc . ee