Do you ever feel like you can’t do much? That you’re so consumed in the craziness of family life that you don’t have the time to make the changes, or fight for the causes that you really care about?
Like the oceans are full of plastic and you’re swimming against a tide of single-use spoons and supermarkets who are paying lip service to the things you care about?
If you’ve ever seen your little one change flip from a devastated heap to a smiling angel - just because you kissed their hurty better - then you already know the secret of being a changemaker. Little things do make a difference.
Armchair activism is awesome. Mainly because it doesn’t sap your time. And yet it can be so, so effective at getting your message across to the people who need to hear it.
There are lots of things you can do to make the world greener - like switch to a green electricity supplier or use search engine Ecosia - but sometimes, you want to make a stand. To SHOW people you care. Here are our top ways you can be the difference:
1. Ask for no plastic
Last year we wrote about an order we received that included the note “Could you please avoid using plastic when packaging my order? Thanks!”. Doing this every time you order sends a loud, clear message to retailers about what’s important to you.
2. Leave your packaging behind
Leave your excessive packaging on the checkout at the supermarket. If you stand at the end of the check-out removing packaging, you’re giving the supermarket a right headache. You’re slowing down the check-outs (they HATE that). You’re making them spend their time and money on disposing of the waste. You’re highlighting the excess to other customers, which makes the retailers worry about their all-important ‘brand image’.
Ridiculously, this is more effective at getting the message across to the supermarket than buying unpackaged veggies.
3. Show off your cloth bum
Reusable nappies will only become the new normal if families see them being used in everyday settings by everyday people. At toddler groups and play places, putting your little one in a t-shirt instead of a poppered vest means other parents get a little peek at that gorgeous new print. Pulling clothing down/up when you’re doing a sniff test is an unsubtle - but effective - way of getting that cloth bum noticed.
4. Give amazing gifts...that aren’t ‘stuff’
If you have children over about three years old, you already know that other parents will be massively grateful if you’re the mum who doesn’t give yet more Peppa Pig/lego/cheap games that will be used once and instantly forgotten.
For children, this can mean arts and crafts, seeds and gardening gear or even funky candles for the birthday cake. For new parents, a reusable nappy or nappy gift voucher. Having a tree planted is great for any significant occasion. Play to your own strengths to make your gift personal. If you’re a gardener, give herbs and planters; if you’re crafty then the possibilities are infinite.
Make it clear as you pass over the gift why you’re doing it - so that the message gets passed on that great gifts don’t have to fall into the “It costs about a tenner, so that will do” category. (If you have a child over five - you’ve been there.)
5. Say no
Ask for no straw or stirrer when you’re out at a bar or restaurant. Use your reusable bag. And coffee cup. Simples.