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Ten ways to live more greenly

I recently returned from Greenpop's Festival of Action volunteer programme in Zambia, which aims to address and educate locals and volunteers on the severe deforestation issues that the country faces. It was a truly heart- and mind-opening experience that included numerous plant and mural days at local schools, college and co-ops. Amongst all the feel-good fuzzies I learned some serious practical tips on how to live a more eco-conscious life:
  1. Eat less meat: I first watched Cowspiracy, a docci that exposes the devastating impact that the agricultural industry has on the environment at the launch in Cape Town. After viewing this I immediately swore to turn vegan overnight. That didn't happen, but after watching it again in Zambia and surviving on 80% vegan meals for two weeks, I am really aiming to cut my intake of meat down and shall save juicy steaks and burgers for special occasions.



  2. Upcycle: A step up from recycling, upcycling aims to transform waste into something new and useful before it is disposed of. For example, old T-shirts can be converted into bangles, headbands or water bottle carriers.

  3. Use 'greywater': Use your old bath or dish-washing water to water your garden or pot plants.

  4. Plant permaculture: Okay, so not all of us city dwellers are lucky enough to own a piece of land, but if you do, plant fruit, veggies and herbs instead of decorative flowers. Not only should you be able to harvest your own veg, but by planting different varieties of plants you echo the natural eco-system where different plants support one another and herbicides or pesticides should not be necessary. If living in a flat, many herbs and veggies can be grown in troughs or pot plants.



  5. Walk and cycle: I did a local bike tour when in Zambia and was reminded how much fun cycling can be. We covered a lot of ground and saw so much more than if travelling in a car. Getting a killer ass in the process is an added bonus.

  6. Buy vintage: Not only on trend, but buying vintage or via clothes-swopping sales recycles previously loved clothes and cuts down on the purchase of new mass-produced items. For more on the effect of the fashion world on the environment watch True Cost.



  7. Go solar: Use solar-powered lights when possible. Not only are they pretty, they really come in handy when Eishkom strikes.

  8. Shop at farmer's markets: As much as you can, buy your fresh produce from farmer's markets, such as the Oranjezicht City Farm Market and Neighbourgoods Market. Not only should the produce be healthier and cheaper, but you will be supporting worthy local businesses.

    Image sourced from insideguide.co.za

  9. Get acquainted with the moon cup: This is one for the ladies. The average woman uses over 11,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime. That is a crazy amount of non-degradable waste. The moon cup, or variations of, is a silicone cup that can be reused and can last up to five years. Far more friendly on your pocket and the environment

  10. Gift a tree: Greenpop has numerous gifting and corporate tree-gifting options, check them here.

For more practical greening tips check Greenpop's website and blog. Viva the Greenlution!
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About Ruth Cooper

Ruth is the production manager at Bizcommunity, as well as a editor of the Lifestyle section.
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