How To Save The Planet In 30 Days
Earth Hour on the 24th of March, is all about creating awareness of how unnecessary energy consumption contributes to global warming. But energy management isn’t the only impact humans have on the planet and that is why we want to help you do more to preserve the environment. We have put together a list of actions you can take to minimize your impact and accelerate global awareness over the course of one month, from Earth Hour until Earth Day on the 22nd of April. Join the #climateforchange.
Energy Awareness Week
The main cause of climate change is the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities like energy production, manufacturing, and transportation. Use this week to dramatically decrease your own carbon footprint.
24th Sat – Commemorate Earth Hour: The most common cause of greenhouse gas emissions is electricity and heat generation. Turning off the lights and if you have friends or family over light some candles for dinner.
25th Sun – Plant A Tree: Together, soil, oceans, and forests, act as ‘carbon sinks’ which suck this harmful substance out of our atmosphere. Plant a tree native to your region to boost your own area’s carbon reduction properties. If you are interested in studying how trees increase our planet’s resilience to climate change why not join one of our environmental conservation projects around the world, like those in Costa Rica, Thailand, and Seychelles, where staff and volunteers study mangroves.
26th Mon – Switch Off: Outlets and appliances that are not being used waste energy. Be sure to turning off all lights when you leave a room, turning off any appliances that are not being used like computer monitors and TVs, and turning off power outlets at home, at school, and at work.
Further Reading: What Are The World’s Biggest Problems And How Can I Help?
27th Tues – Adjust Your Indoor Climate: Aircons and water heating accounts for an incredible amount of energy expenditure. Set your aircon for as close to outside temperature as possible without it being too uncomfortable. Wash dishes and clothes in hot water only when you are looking to sterilize the items, otherwise only use lukewarm water.
28th Wed – Replace Your Light Bulbs: Energy-efficient lights are not only good for the environment, but also for your electricity bills. Get yourself some compact fluorescent bulbs and replace the lights in your room or home.
29th Thurs – Speak To Your Building Manager: Is your apartment building, school or office wasting electricity? Speak to your building manager about installing energy efficient lighting and policies about conservative lighting, outlet, appliance, and aircon usage.
30th Fri – Make Thursday Your Sustainable Transport Day: Transport is the fourth most common cause of greenhouse gas emissions. If you have safe public transportation options, use them. If you know someone at school or at work lives close to your area, ask if you can carpool. If you live close enough to work to walk or cycle comfortably do.
Plastic Prevention Week
Over 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Plastic is not biodegradable and simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces that continue to harm wildlife, organic environments, and human health.
31st Sat – Get Your Plastic-Free Kit Ready: More than 33% of all plastics are used only once and then thrown away, using your own containers is the first step is to reduce your own use of single-use plastic. Get yourself a reusable takeaway cup, water bottle, straw, knife, fork, spoon, cloth napkin, shopping bag, and a bread bag. Use these throughout the week. If you have Tupperware keep them, but if you don’t buy yourself glass or metal takeaway containers. While glass takes on average a million years to decompose, glass is more easily recyclable than plastic. Metal can be taken to scrap yards where it will also be recycled.
1st Sun – Join A Plastic Clean Up: Join a local plastic cleanup, whether it is at a public area, street, park, or beach. You’ll not only be helping stop plastic pollution but you are likely to make some friends along the way. There are many events organized around the world and the can easily be found on search engines, social platforms or just by asking around. You can also join one of our marine and coastal conservation programs around the world, in Mexico, Seychelles, Fiji, and Thailand to participate in regular beach and ocean floor cleanups.
2nd Mon – Recycle: Even when you try to live plastic-free, inevitably there will be times when you need to use plastic, especially at the start of your commitment. See which items can be recycled by checking the packaging. If it is 1 or 2, you can put it in the recycling bin, if it is 4 or 5, it is not always recyclable, so don’t but that in the bin. 3,6, and 7 are not recyclable. You will find that most sweets and chip packaging is not recyclable. What do you do with non-recyclable plastics? There are many innovations in this area. See one we are trying ourselves called the eco-brick project.
3rd Tues – Spread Awareness About Hidden Plastics: Many exfoliators contain tiny little pieces of plastic which get into the sea and harm coral, fish and the chemistry of our oceans. Glitter and chewing gum do the same. Let your friends and family know not to use these items and if you see one in a shop, tell the shop owner.
Further Reading: Why Volunteer?
4th Wed – Hold Brands Accountable: By now you will probably have realized that some items you use to buy often are now unacceptable. Tell brands you have stopped buying from why on their social platforms. The more they know about your reasons the more likely they will be to come up with innovative eco-friendly solutions.
5th Thurs – Try Alternative Sanitary Items: While this topic might be a bit sensitive, due to its impact on the environment it, unfortunately, needs to be addressed. Disposable paper and plastic pads as well as cotton tampons are considered contaminated items and cannot be recycled. Reusable cloth pads, cups or sponges are the more environmentally sound option.
6th Fri – Eco-friendly Takeaways: Getting pizza takeaways? Did you know that cardboard, paper, and napkins that are contaminated with food is not recyclable? The next time you are buying pizza speak to the manager of the restaurant about getting biodegradable boxes which can be used to make compost. If it’s a franchise be sure to use social media to ask for compostable materials.
Water Conservation Week
Clean water is a precious resource. Treating contaminated water and removing salt from ocean water are processes that require a lot of energy and therefore natural resources. By preserving your own use of water you prevent how much water is contaminated putting less strain on the environment. If you would like to learn about alternative means of attaining water security why not join our water harvesting project in Fiji.
7th Sat – Use Waterless Washes: Does your bicycle, motorbike or car? Take it to a local waterless wash business or buy your own waterless washing liquid.
8th Sun – Only Wash Full Loads of Laundry: Yes, you now have our permission to let your laundry pile up. If you are washing by yourself make sure only put the machine on for a full load and if you are washing at a laundromat, partner up with a friend to create a full load.
9th Mon – Shower: Showers use less water than bathing. If you cut the average shower time in half you can save even more water. A good tip is to put on a fast-paced song to shower to or to make a game of it if you live with your family, roommates, or other students.
10th Tues – Turn Off The Tap: When washing your hands and brushing your teeth, never keep the water running. The same goes for washing dishes, use the sink instead.
Further Reading: 7 Ways You Can Help Save The World’s Oceans
11th Wed – Minimise Flushing: While this isn’t the most pleasant of topics, it needs to be addressed because flushing toilets are the most common household use of clean, drinkable water. There are a few practices which can prevent the unnecessary wastage of water in this way. One, never use the flushing function as a rubbish bin. The second is to use water recycled from buckets in the shower, basin, and kitchen sink to flush. The third is to only use the flush function for solid waste. A more long-term solution is to install a compost toilet and to create more awareness around why all new building developments should have compost rather than flush toilets installed.
12th Thurs – Minimise Water Used For Gardening: If you have a garden start using water from the shower, basins and washing machines, just make sure that the clean agents you use are not harmful to the environment. If your parents, school or business has a garden ask them to look at the issue either by installing a more efficient irrigation system that maybe relies on grey water or by looking at gradually replacing a garden that requires a lot of water with one that is endemic to the region. Plants that are native to a region are adapted to the climate, which means they will look good no matter the time of year.
13th Fri – Fix The Leaks: Ask your parents, landlord, or building manager to check the building for leaks and get some water-efficient faucets and showerheads. If funding is an issue, consider starting a fundraiser.
Food And Biodiversity Week
Many everyday items that can be found in nearly any store and in any household are incredibly harmful to both humans and the environment. Many species are under threat of extinction and toxin-related diseases are common. In addition, millions of tons of the food which takes an incredible amount of natural resources to produce is wasted every year. By reducing your use of synthetic chemicals and minimizing your food waste, you can help protect both wildlife and other people from harm. You can also participate in environmental education initiatives on our underwater or land conservation projects around the world or help to build community gardens as part of our construction and community development projects in Fiji and India.
14th Sat – Clear Out Your Cosmetic and Toiletry Bag: Check all your cosmetics and toiletries for harmful chemicals. Ingredients to look out for include petroleum in lip balms, sulfates in soaps and shampoos, parabens in sunscreen, triclosan in deodorants, and synthetic fragrances altogether. No longer invest in aerosols or wet wipes. As a rule, seek out cosmetics that use natural pigments and fragrances and that promote themselves as environmentally friendly.
15th Sun – Clear Out Your Cleaning Cupboard: Many detergents contain phosphates that are incredibly detrimental to the environment. Luckily there many very effective ‘green’ cleaning options on the market which you can use instead. Caustic products like drain cleaners must always be avoided. Call a plumber to remove the block manually. Another common item you should completely avoid is chlorine bleach. Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are also great alternatives.
Further Reading: A Global Look At Food Waste And How To Make A Change
16th Mon – Check For The Sustainable Palm Oil Label: The palm oil industry is responsible for clearing many hectares of rainforest. Many common products from chocolate and ice cream to detergents and shampoos contain palm oil. Make sure that any product you use which contains palm oil has an RSPO or Green Palm label before purchasing.
17th Tues – Buy Organic: While you might have debated whether the price of organic produce is ‘worth it’ for your health, the reality is that if more consumers like you demanded organic products, manufacturers would be forced to produce more items without the use of pesticides. The extra amount you pay for organic produce shows that you think about environmental considerations when making purchasing decisions.
18th Wed – Buy Only What You Need: Take stock of your eating habits. Which items do you purchase often which spoil regularly? When making a meal, do you often have extra food which gets thrown away? Make a meal plan, buy only what you need, and rather make a little less than a little more. If you have food left over, from a meal or takeaway, consider donating it, rather than disposing of it.
19th Thurs – Start A Composting Bin: Band together with your roommates or fellow students to get a composting bin and start putting food scraps into the bin.
20th Fri – Speak To Your Grocer: Many products are actually still safe to eat after their expiry date. While your grocer might not be comfortable selling the food to customers they might donate it to organizations like shelters which need food. Find out if your favorite grocers donate their expired items and if not, let them know it is a concern for you by speaking to the manager and posting on your preferred social platform.
Grow The Movement Weekend
While you will have made massive strides in the past 28 days to reduce your own impact on the environment, we need more people like you to create change on a global scale. This final weekend is about expanding your range of impact.
21 – Take Stock: Which of the changes did you find most difficult and most easy to implement? What were you most surprised by throughout the journey? Make a list of new goals for the next month, based on what you were able to accomplish and what you haven’t been able to get to yet. Share your successes and new knowledge with others using either Instagram or Facebook.
22 – Join A Specific Movement: Joining an organization that works on a mission you are most passionate about can not only help you grow your skill set but also help you to work on saving the planet. Join either a local organization or one of our marine or terrestrial habitat conservation programs in eight locations around the world. You can also fundraise locally to support international organizations like the GVI Trust that help the environment.
- Cape Coast
- Cape Town
- Chiang Mai
- Community Development
- Fiji Islands
- Gap Year
- GVI Live
- Kampong Cham
- Limpopo and KZN
- Luang Prabang
- Mahe and Curieuse
- Marine Conservation
- Personal Development
- Phang Nga
- Responsible Travel
- Service Learning
- Study Abroad
- Under 18
- Wildlife Conservation
- Women's Empowerment