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7 Surprising Ways To Save The World For Free

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Author of How To Save The World For Free, Natalie Fee, outlines the small and simple ways in which ordinary people can take the power back into their own hands to help avoid climate catastrophe at no extra cost.

She is a big believer in the fact that, whilst a lot of the responsibility lies with governments and other powers that be, we cannot sit round and wait for them. What you have in your bathroom, how you get to work and what you water your plants with all adds up to give you the capacity to create a greater positive impact than you think. 

Here are a few of Natalie's top tips to help you save the world for free. 

Phoebe Young 8 November 2019

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"We all know that to really save the world, ideally in the next 11 years, we’re going to need our governments and big businesses to pull their fingers out and get cracking. Stopping fossil fuel subsidies and putting a tax on carbon, allowing for subsidies for renewable energy, public transport and organic farming, which can help transition us to a mostly car-free, mostly meat-free world would be a great start. But since there’s no indication from governments worldwide that this is going to happen any time soon, here are a few ways we can take the power back and be the change we need to see in the world," says Natalie.

Individual action is ultimately the most powerful tool you’ve got, from how you treat yourself, to how you treat others, to how you treat the earth. 

We’re social creatures and we like to fit in, be accepted, be loved. And when we see that more and more of our peers are carrying reusables bottles, or growing veg, or choosing a staycation – we start to shift our behaviour too. And that creates a trend, and trends drive demand, and demand drives investment or divestment! People power works.

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World For Free Natalie And Book Cover

Individual action is ultimately the most powerful tool you’ve got

1. Planet Friendly Pensions

Just a few clicks can show you which companies your pension fund is invested in. A few more will enable you to ensure your money is not involved with anyone who is contributing to the climate crisis. 

Natalie explains how:

Happily, a growing number of pension funds across the world are now divesting from companies that generate revenues from oil, gas and coal. To check yours, log in to your pension online and search for ‘fund choices’. It could take you just one incredibly well-spent minute to make the switch to an ethical fund within your company pension scheme. If you have, or are looking for a personal pension, look for terms such as ESG (which stands for environmental, social and governance) or SRI (socially responsible investment) as these forms of investment actively look for companies that are part of creating a better future.

Click here for more ideas to make your current and savings accounts greener

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World For Free Pensions

It could take you just one incredibly well-spent minute to make the switch to an ethical fund

2. Good Exercise

Saving the world requires energy, stamina and strong mental health. Natalie explains that exercise is crucial for maintaining all of these things. What’s more, she identifies four ways that you can get your endorphin fix, whilst literally helping the planet at the same time:

Good Gym

Good Gym is one of my hands-down favourite ways to save the world for free. Set up by a group of runners in the UK who believe gyms to be a waste of energy and human potential, Good Gym aims to redirect that energy towards neglected tasks and people in our communities. Basically, you meet up with a bunch of people, typically lovely types who will enrich your life, run to a community project that needs some extra pairs of hands, do said mission for around 45 minutes, then run back. 

Parkrun

Another free and fabulous way to get fit and stay active is to sign up to Parkrun. This organisation runs free, weekly, 5km (a little over 3 miles) timed runs all around the world.

Peddle Power

Ever thought that all those calories burned in a spin class could be harnessed? Well, some smart cookies around the world have worked it out and you may just have a ‘human-powered’ gym in your home town. Instead of all that energy you’re generating in your workout just vanishing, it actually powers the very machines over which you’re working up a sweat and any excess energy is sold back to the grid. 

Online Workouts

If you want to save money and don’t need the motivation of a gym membership to get you working out, try having a look online for free workout classes that fit into your schedule.


Click here for more fitness hacks that help the planet.

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World Running

A free and fabulous way to get fit and stay active is to sign up to Parkrun.

3. Save Water At Home

There are plenty of very simple switches you can make in your bathroom to ensure that the oceans are kept plastic free and that you also optimise your energy. Natalie’s top four are:

1. Water Saving Shower Heads 

To give you an example, if every American installed WaterSense-labelled showerheads it would generate annual savings of over $1.5 billion (that’s about £1.15 billion) in water utility bills, more than 250 billion gallons (approx. 950 billion litres) of water and around $2.5 billion (£1.9 billion) in energy costs for heating water.

2. Find A Bath Buddy

Sharing a bath with someone you love, or at least like a lot, has got to be one of the most rewarding world-saving actions for marine life you could take.

3. Beat The Beads

Microbeads and other microplastics – tiny particles of plastic from paint, car tyres and synthetic clothing – are forming a great toxic plastic soup in our oceans.

The simplest way to avoid microbeads in your bathroom products is to choose organic products using ingredients such as apricot kernels, or to make your own facial scrubs.

Click here for more DIY skincare recipes.

4. Toothfairies

Enter the bamboo toothbrush! You can repurpose the bamboo handle afterwards when making homemade ice-lollies or as plant markers in your blossoming veggie patch. 

50 brands to help you go zero waste

You can repurpose the bamboo handle afterwards when making homemade ice-lollies

4. Greywater Is Green

Using greywater is a great money saver as well as a way to help the world. Your garden plants aren’t fussy about the type of water they drink. So, save the fresh stuff for yourself and use your perfectly good washing up and bathwater on the veg patch.

Aside from helping to prevent ocean pollution, water shortages and flooding, harnessing the rainwater from your roof and the greywater from your sinks, baths, showers, dishwashers and washing machines is a must for any worldsaving wannabe. 

Greywater makes up between 50–80% of a household’s waste water and really doesn’t need to travel miles and miles to go through an expensive treatment process when it could, literally, work wonders in your garden or on your houseplants. But unless you’re building a new eco-home it can get a bit complicated and expensive to replumb your house or apartment, so a simple solution is to throw your washing-up water or bathwater in the garden. Try to stick to natural cleaning products, since you don’t want a load of chemicals in your soil.

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World For Free Header Image

Throw your washing-up water or bathwater in the garden

5. Eco Friendly Driving

As Natalie explains elsewhere in the book, cycling, running and walking are far more eco-friendly transport options. Still, if you have to drive, there are several ways you can make your miles more planet-friendly:

Car Pools

Car-pooling, car-sharing, or liftsharing – essentially sharing your ride – is by far the most fun way to get about if a car is your only option. You could even get there, on average, twice as fast, as many cities have HOV lanes (which is short for High Occupancy Vehicle, not High Octane Vroom as someone I know calls them); you get to meet people as extraordinary, or even more so, than you are and you save money.

Car Shares

Then there’s the other type of car-sharing: car clubs. The kind when you offer out your car for others to use, and get paid for it, or borrow someone else’s. Or you could join a city car club as an alternative to owning or renting a car. Car ownership is becoming old school. 

Electric Car-hire

Electric vehicles are surging in popularity these days, partly because of concern over greenhouse-gas emissions and partly because they’re cheap to run. They’re thought to be far better for our air quality than traditional combustion-engine cars, since they emit minimal tailpipe pollutants, such as particulates and carbon monoxide. 

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World Driving

Car-pooling, car-sharing, or lift-sharing is by far the most fun way to get about if a car is your only option

6. Working from home

Working from home a few days a week cuts down your carbon footprint in more ways than just minimising your car miles. It might make you more productive too.  

When you don’t have to commute, you have more time to get down to your to-do list. You’re less distracted by your colleagues who, although they may be brilliant, can also nibble away at your concentration levels with stories of their girlfriend’s recent chocolate-brownie disaster. 

A report by the Carbon Trust says that, by working from home two days a week for a year, an average UK employee can shave off just under 4% of their personal carbon footprint, save 50 hours’ commuting time and also save £450 per year in travel (almost US$600) and other costs!

How to combat your daily carbon emissions by planting trees from your phone

Working from home is good for the oceans too, as you are more likely to whip up some leftovers for lunch and make your own coffee instead of buying on-thego, over-packaged food and drink.

Starting-up? Create an inspiring eco-friendly home office in 7 easy steps

How To Save The World For Free by Natalie Fee is out now on Laurence Press.

7 Surprising Ways To Save The World Working From Home

By working from home two days a week for a year, an average UK employee can shave off just under 4% of their personal carbon

Are you keen to change the system as well as yourself?

Here's everything you need to know to take action this autumn

You could combine your grey water with your home office

Here are some top tips for getting your indoor gardening project thriving

Looking for other inspiring reads?

Check out these 5 books that will fuel your inner activist in 2020

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