Do your New Year resolutions involve picking up a new hobby? If they do, try something that is not only beneficial to you and your mental health, but also to the planet. Here are some sustainable tips:
Whether you have a small or large patch of land, a raised bed, a community garden, or a window box, gardening is a hobby that offers a series of benefits.
Spending time getting your hands dirty, in fact won’t only deliver a neatly kept garden, or provide medicinal herbs or fresh veggies for your household, but it can also boost your physical and mental health.
Gardening allows you to take in the fresh air, and be exposed to Vitamin D in the form of sunlight, indirectly increasing your calcium levels and benefitting your bones. Also, according to a study published in 2013 by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gardening can even cut the risk of a heart attack or a stroke, and prolong a person’s life by 30%. After all, gardening is a full-body workout: carrying bags of mulch, pushing a wheelbarrow, picking weeds, planting seeds, shoveling, moving pots around and so on. It’s exercise with a purpose, and again, it’s not only good for your body, but for your mind too.
Research has shown that planting and nurturing seeds is to all effects a natural stress-reliever, improving ones mood, increasing self-esteem and lowering levels of anxiety and depression.
This hobby won’t only benefit you, but if you have children who are not particularly keen on eating their greens, know that introducing kids to gardening has been shown to increase their willingness to eat more fruit and vegetables.
But how about the planet, how is this activity sustainable?
A garden can reduce greenhouse gases by providing green space and also allow you to reduce your carbon footprint by providing you with home grown food and giving you the opportunity to recycle kitchen waste by composting and decreasing methane production.
Other ways to help out the planet while gardening is, whenever possible, to swap gas-powered tools with manual ones, and cut your water consumption by using drip lines, rain barrels, and mulch. Also, turn your yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat and plant flowers that will attract bees and other insects and trees that will absorb carbon dioxide.
Live in an apartment? No problem, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening by taking care of indoor plants.
As we just saw, gardening is a great whole-body workout, but if you’re looking for something else to help you keep fit, forget the gym, and take on other outdoor sports!
Getting into nature while hiking for example, will have all the added mental benefits that gardening brought (fresh air, Vitamin D etc) and it’s absolutely free! Other sustainable activities to try apart from hiking are plogging, strawkling, trash tag, or the green gym movement!
January may be over, and with it Veganuary, but whether you are fully committed to a vegan or vegetarian diet, or whether you still enjoy eating meat and animal products, cutting down on your carbon footprint through cooking can still be a fun new hobby!
Continue experimenting throughout the year with lower impact recipes by shopping locally, eating seasonably, avoiding packaged food, and making it a point to avoid waste as much as possible (and to dispose of it correctly when unfortunately you do find yourself with leftovers).
This one is great if you love arts and crafts! Get creative by up-cycling materials you already have at home, or ask family and friends if they have a project to give you.
This way not only will you be putting your time to good use, but you will also have something unique to give back to family and friends, while at the same time diverting waste from landfills.
The impact the fashion industry, and all the natural resources used to make clothes, has on our planet is huge. A mantra that we’ve stolen from Vivenne Westwood is ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’, but today, we’re going to add ‘…and learn how to sew’!
Knowing how to mend broken clothing will not only prolong that items’ life span, but sewing will also come in handy when it comes to creating Halloween costumes or fancy dress clothes from things that you have lying around your home.
You could even buy new fabric and start making your clothes from scratch, completely stepping away from the fashion industry and their wasteful and harmful practices…how’s that for a pastime?
Do you have any other hobby ideas that will help the planet while keeping you occupied?
Let us know!