Micro Eco Actions

Micro eco actions / Bring disproportionately high satisfaction! / And though they are small, / they affect us all! / And the #GrassrootsGreenMobilization gains traction!

What are some of your favorite micro eco actions?

Here are a couple of mine:

  • When you find yourself stuck with non-recyclable plastic that’s flexible, such as those thick plastic bags that are used as packaging for cereal and crackers, or for potting soil, cut the plastic into suitably sized pieces and use as liner material for plant pots. The plastic helps to hold the water in so the plant doesn’t dry out so quickly. When I’m potting a plant these days, I like to start with a thin bottom layer of plastic that would otherwise become trash, then add cardboard or fabric, then rocks or wood chips, then the soil and the plant. (Once the plant is planted, I usually add mulch on top too.)
  • If you like to reuse postal envelopes, the photo above shows an alternative technique: Take apart the envelope, turn it inside out, and secure it with a bit of Elmer’s glue or glue-stick. Presto, brand new writing surface! This method is great for reusing envelopes that have a lot of stamps and writing on them but are still in good shape; for business reply envelopes you’re not using because you interact with the business online rather than by postal mail, etc.
  • I sometimes enjoy mixed drinks with Coke or ginger ale as the mixer. But I don’t enjoy the single-use plastic bottle! So I take one of those giant “Double Gulp” plastic cups (I have about a dozen that have been left behind by departing guests and housemates) and fill it up at the fountain at the convenience store. And keep it in my fridge where it lasts indefinitely, good for many drinks’ worth. (True, the carbonation doesn’t last, but I’m not that picky; I’m mainly after the flavor.) This is a VERY micro eco action (a more major action would be giving up soft drinks entirely, for example), but it makes me happy because it lets me enjoy a Coke now and then without the guilt of the plastic bottle.

May you take delight in all of your eco actions large and small! As I mention in my book, enjoyment is contagious and may be the best ally of green-minded social movements. Or of any beneficial social movement!

By way of a supplemental reading treat for this post, I offer you this gem of an essay about the power of small local initiatives. This piece is actually the preface to a book by John Thackara, called How To Thrive in the Next Economy — Designing Tomorrow’s World Today. But it stands on its own as a fine essay. Enjoy! (And I think I might need to read the book too.)