Written by Dawn Chan
Earth Hour 2018 is coming up fast (Saturday 24 March, 8:30 pm your time). And this year, it's all about helping us make stronger links with our lovely planet: the shared home for people and nature! More and more people around the world are living in towns and cities and, while you might think it's hard to get in touch with wildlife and the environment, we’re here to show you it’s not as difficult as you think.
If you’re looking at how you can make a better future for our planet, read on to discover six ways you can #Connect2Earth.
1. REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC USE
From grabbing takeaway lunch at work, to using disposable coffee cups, it’s no secret that single-use plastics make life convenient for many of us.
Unfortunately, plastics are horrible for the environment. When plastic isn’t disposed of properly, it often ends up in the ocean, where it endangers marine life. Even if it does make its way to a refuse site, plastic generally takes hundreds of years to break down. And if you burn plastic, you often release poisonous fumes that are bad for your and wildlife, in addition to contributing to global warming.
The easiest solution is to cut down your plastic use! Switch to reusable shopping bags, and avoid using plastic plates,utensils and straws. Another solution is to prepare your own food at home and bring it in reusable containers. After all, it’s healthier for both you and the environment.
2. GROW SOME PLANTS
There’s something really therapeutic about growing plants. Flowers offer a nice pop of colour between the tall buildings and grey pavements. And if you’re living in the city and find yourself too busy to look after a pet, flowers and plants are a great alternative! Another bonus point? Plants require way less maintenance than animals. For example, cacti are much easier to look after than dogs, or even roses and orchids.
Some plants are associated with peace and meditation such as the bonsai tree, which is often seen as the icon of zen and tranquillity. If you have enough space, you can even set up your own garden - a peaceful haven where you can relax after a hard day’s work.
But the best thing about growing plants is that plants are part of nature. By looking after your plants, you're getting a deeper connection with the incredible nature that surrounds us.
3. GO HIKING OVER THE WEEKEND
If you’re not someone who is keen on gardening, no worries - take a walk through nature instead and appreciate everything around you. Look for a park, discover a trail or go on an adventure to a national park with your friends and family.
There’s something so relaxing about walking. Use the time to disconnect from your everyday life for a while and connect to the trees and nature around you. Or walk along the beach, feel the sand between your toes and listen to the crash of waves against the seashore. And if you’re up in the mountains, breathe in the fresh cold air and look at the gorgeous scenery all around you.
Nature is beautiful and it’s all around us. Even in a bustling metropolis, it’s not impossible to find. Just set aside some time this weekend and have a look at what you might discover.
4. EAT SUSTAINABLY
There are some foods people eat that are endangered because of how popular they are! Did you know that bluefin tuna might be overfished to the brink of extinction? And millions of sharks are killed each year to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup.
Even if you don’t eat any of these foods, many of us waste food, which is a drain on the environment’s resources - so remember to only order what you can finish.
Trying to reduce our meat intake also goes a long way in helping to protect our planet and its huge variety of life - meat production generates more emissions than crops, which adds to our carbon footprint. So remember to select the foods you eat wisely.
There are so many ways to #Connect2Earth, and showing that we care for it through the choices we make will contribute to global efforts to secure the future of Earth and its biodiversity.
5. TAKE ACTION FOR OUR PLANET TODAY
What better way to #Connect2Earth than at Australia’s most iconic natural wonder? Sign up for Earth Hour now and go into the draw to win an unforgettable trip for you and a friend to visit the Great Barrier Reef with WWF-Australia and Intrepid Travel. Experience a guided trip packed with once-in-a-lifetime activities, as you cruise up the coast of Australia’s sunshine state.
6. INVEST ETHICALLY
Last but not least, use the power of your pay packet and make sure your superannuation is invested in fossil-free funds.