20 ways to save the world when you're self-isolating

Natalie Fee wants you to make the most of your time in lockdown - stay safe, stay sane and go sustainable

Stay safe, stay warm and stay sustainable

If you’re working from home to stop the spread of COVID-19, or you’re self-isolating because you’re in the high-risk category, you may have already been whacking on the heating (if you’re in the UK) and boiling the kettle fifteen times a day. Despite the temporary effects of restricted travel on reducing global pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the need for us to adjust our daily lives to combat climate change hasn’t gone away. So, if you’re safe and well, here are a few simple ways to save energy and money … and hopefully lift yours and your neighbours’ spirits whilst on lockdown.

  • If you don’t have one already, set up a WhatsApp group for your street or apartment block. Beyond caring for each other through the pandemic, neighbourhood WhatsApp groups are an amazing, future-proofing, resilience-building tool for sharing resources like food, tools, seeds and skills. Head to the Covid-19 Mutual Aid website to get cracking.

2. If you’ve had any flights cancelled this year and aren’t rebooking, add that ‘saved’ flight as a pledge to the Flight Free 2020 campaign to make it count. And sign up to to put pressure on the government to introduce a flight tax once we’re all feeling better.

3. Don’t throw away all those toilet roll tubes! Turn them into seedling pots instead and get growing herbs, veg or bee-friendly flowers for your garden. No garden? Use a sunny windowsill instead.

Toilet tube seed pots

4. Offset all the additional CO2 emissions we’re all now generating from the massive increase in data from video conferencing, Netflix binging and whatever else we’re streaming. If your business isn’t financially affected by Coronavirus but your employees are working from home, use the money you would be spending on tea and coffee to offset the data emissions.

5. With all this extra hand-washing, we’re using a lot more water. Keep a bowl in your sink to catch the water as you wash your hands then use it to water your plants. Or with all that extra time on your sparkling (er, dry and cracked?) hands, add a bit of tea tree oil to it to wash your floors. Oh and when it comes to the loo, if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.

6. If you’re avoiding public transport and tempted to jump in your car, don’t! If you’re physically able, get some panniers and get on your bike instead. Cycling is the perfect way to stay fit, get some fresh air and do some low-key, local shopping.

7. Use a spunk rag (or clean socks) instead of tissues. Sorry boys, this is not the time to be using copious amounts of precious loo roll to mop up after self-pleasuring or withdrawing. Let’s save our bog roll for the all-important nose-blowing and bum-wiping.

If you are self isolating with a lover - why not make some homemade natural lube while you are at it and take things to the next dimension? Check out this video -

8. If you’ve got some ‘white space’ in your diary, block some time out to actually do some online switching: switch to an ethical bank, switch to a green energy provider, and switch to an ethical pension.

9. Feeling chilly at home? Layer up to stay warm instead of whacking the heating on. Put some long-johns or tights on under your jeans and wear a beanie or warm hat (maybe not when on Zoom or Skype, unless it’s a good look for you).

10. Learn stuff about the environment you didn’t know before by watching online documentaries. Full list of films to keep you learning and engaged here.

_Guys - put the loo roll down and _switch to green energy now. It's easy, feels good and will also save you money

11. If disinfectant is in short supply and you wanted to go more zero-waste anyway, now’s the time to make your own cleaning products. Bicarb (can be bought in bulk or loose from your local refill shop) in water with a few drops of essential oils will do the job just fine, as will white vinegar – again with essentials oils to stop your house smelling like the local chippy.

12. Stay away from the shops, support the soil and support your local growers by finding and ordering an organic veg box.

13. Whatever you do, ‘Be a Good Asshole’ and don’t flush those wet wipes. Most wipes are made of polyester and won’t break down in the sewers or water treatment centres (or in rivers or seas when our sewers overflow), so we really shouldn’t be flushing them. Get yourself set up with two bins in your bathroom, one for wipes and period products and one for anything recyclable. [** Editors note** - If you want to progress to the **next level** - considering going paper free in the bathroom and use a douche instead - it is cleaner and will save you money. See also - Piss Politics

14. Discover (or rediscover) your local shops. Lots of shops, pubs and cafes are starting up home delivery services to stay in business. Get in touch with your local refill shop for packaging-free, home delivery services for food and household items.

15. Remember to switch off your electricals at the socket (not the fridge or freezer, obvs) at night to save energy and money. And you’ll probably sleep better with the WiFi off anyway. “Alexa, stop listening to my conversations and using a shit ton of data to do it”.

Natalie's advanced levitation meditation

16. Meditate often. The better we feel inside, the less likely we are to a) stockpile, b) start buying loads of stuff online we don’t need and c) get sick. There are some amazing, free programmes online at the moment to help you with staying happy, relaxed and healthy.

17. When making those never-ending cups of tea, make sure to only boil what you need, as kettles use up a serious amount of energy. If you forget and overfill the kettle, stick the rest in a hot water bottle or in a flask for herbal tea later in the day.

18. Learn some fitness routines online, then take them offline to save energy and data. Workout in your yard or garden, or head to the local park and jump around. Invite your neighbours if you’re going for a run or park workout, so long as you stay at a safe distance apart and don’t do any heavy breathing on each other.

19. Carve out some time to declutter and sort cupboards, particularly waste electricals which can be recycled and their precious metals recovered. Clothes can be sorted too, creating a bag for charity shops or your local pre-loved clothes shop once the High Streets are open again.

20. Grow some veg at the weekends. Get some fresh air, get building a vegetable bed and get chatting to your neighbours on WhatsApp about sharing tools (if you give them a courtesy wipe-down before handing them over) and seeds.

For hundreds more ways to curb your emissions whilst boosting your happiness levels, check out Natalie’s book, How to Save the World for Free. She also shares tips and ideas on Instagram.

Dig for victory (and happiness)