Turn it off! By Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

toothpaste kitMorag Warrack

I found myself in the role of Light-Police recently at a joyous family gathering to celebrate several ‘zero’ birthdays which had been postponed due to Covid.

At our beautiful AirBnB, bathroom lights, shower lights, bedroom lights, corridor lights and kitchen lights were left on even though the family were all outside for much of the time.

My dad grew up in poverty and was delighted to be able to provide for us- we had plenty, and he was very generous, but we learned the lesson young that lights should be switched off if you’re not in the room.  Nothing should be wasted.

By coincidence that same weekend an article was published relating how Greta Thunberg taught her father the same switch-it-off lesson.

Bringing a sense of playfulness and fun to our actions changes everything:  Greta was quoted as saying, “People think activists are serious- but my friends and I are very silly!”
When my own kiddies were small, we used to look for the supermarkets’ tricks, such as putting popular cartoons on tins and packets, which worked brilliantly for avoiding the childish tantrums when they spotted Tom and Jerry or whoever.  “Why can’t we have that?”  turned into “I’ve spotted a trick!” and I was able to praise them for noticing how they were being tricked by the advertising.

Games are not just for children either. Treating things as a game can even save lives as we have seen from survivors of extreme circumstances.

Bio-hacking games or challenges such as, “Can I go up the stairs in the dark?  Can I brush my teeth in the dark?  Can I do it left-handed, on one leg, with my eyes shut?” are all excellent for keeping our brains and our bodies alert, open, active and adaptable- and you don’t need to join a club or even leave home to do it!  You just need a shift in attitude.

It led me to think about other domestic things that we take for granted which can take so little effort to change.  Can we use less water…heat…clothing…cleaning stuff…food…plastics…?

Buy bars not bottles!  Liquid soap pumps, glitter bubble baths or shower gels may look pretty, but the factories that make them don’t- a bar of soap is kinder to nature and uses far less water in the making of it – and a bar of soap doesn’t even need to be recycled.  How’s that for zero-waste?  Ace!

We can now buy shampoo as a block (Lush is excellent), conditioner in a bar, and toothpaste in a glass jar (Vera Bee) – or even as a boxed kit to make your smile glow! (Thegreenboutique).

Play the Game & Make a Change.

Find more ideas at sussexgreenliving.co.uk
Visit us at the Sussex Green Hub on Saturday October 30th in URC Horsham (United Reform Church)



Photo courtesy of The Green Boutique