For one of my new courses, ambitiously titled ‘How to Change the World’, we have been tasked with writing down one thing that makes us happy and one sustainable deed -however small- that we have performed each day for a month. The object of the task is to reflect on what we know about the pursuit of happiness and how this relates to sustainable behaviour. While human well being (and ultimately happiness) is dependant on the health of our ecosystems, pursuit of well being in the short term often negatively affects our environment. Through this process we will explore on small scale, how agency and personal values influence one’s ability to make change happen and what is needed to make it stick.
I really enjoyed reflecting on what made me happy this week which was mostly Maria, my flat mate and being outside. Finding a different sustainable deed to perform each day proved to be a little harder but next week I hope to go a little deeper into this.
Monday 8th January
Happy For: Taking a swim and sauna with Maria and catching up on some weeks apart. Sustainable Deed: Letting my hair dry naturally.
Tuesday 9th January
Happy For: Unexpectedly meeting a neighbour on my daily commute and getting to know him as we cycled in the same direction. Sustainable Deed: Cycling in minus 3.
Wednesday 10th January
Happy For: Getting hugs from my classmates after the winter holiday. Sustainable Deed: Choosing organic food where possible.
Thursday 11th January
Happy For: The feeling of achievement after understanding everything in my Swedish class and then the site of the frozen sea on my way home. Sustainable Deed: Changing my writing style to save paper.
Friday 12th January
Happy For: Seeing a red squirrel as I left my apartment building and watching as it danced through the bike shed. Sustainable Deed: Choosing the shortest and coolest wash cycle.
Saturday 13th January
Happy For: Taking a walk with Maria along the frozen coast and seeing patterns of ice in the sand. Sustainable Deed: Separating candle wax from the outer layer of tin for recycling.
Sunday 14th January
Happy For: The sun shining on my way to meeting and then coffee and pullat with the Quaker community. Sustainable Deed: Trying a new water saving washing up technique.
I would encourage anyone to try this and if you have any suggestions for small sustainable deeds please share!