How to Change the World, Week 2

This is the second week of my happiness and sustainable deed diary where I aim to write down one thing that makes me happy and one sustainable deed, however small, that I have performed each day for a month. This week I started to think more deeply about the nature of ‘sustainable deeds’. Often when we improve our behaviour in one aspect of life, we perform less well in another. This paradox is known as a rebound effect. Direct rebound effects occur when increased efficiency lead to more extensive use of a product – for example, when a more efficient shower system leads to people taking longer showers due to the reduction in water expenses. While, indirect rebound effects occur when consumption shifts from one category to another – for example, when savings from giving up a car are spent on more air travel.

I can recognise an indirect rebound pattern in my day to day life too. For example, the confidence I had in the few sustainable decisions I made prior to this exercise, such as cycling to University, sorting my recycling and being a vegetarian, gave me licence to relax my behaviour in other areas of life. So far in the diary I have tried to perform a different sustainable task each day which has forced me to think outside my usual comfort zone.

If you are interested in making small sustainable changes to your life too, check out the UN’s “Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World” for lots of small and mighty ideas.

Week 2:

Monday 15th January

Happy For: Finally managing to focus for an hour of productive work after a day of feeling frustrated and tired. Sustainable Deed: Unplugging my electrical items before leaving the house.

Tuesday 16th January

Happy For: The sun shine, feeling the coldest temperature I have so far experienced (minus 7!) and watching the sunset at 5pm. Sustainable Deed: Buyíng a couple of old handkerchiefs from the charity shop to use instead of disposable napkins at lunch time.

Wednesday 17th January

Happy For: Seeing a greyhound dressed in hat, coat and boots on my way to school. Sustainable Deed: Walking to school -not letting the snow defeat me!

Thursday 18th January

Happy For: Walking through fresh, untouched snow and the satisfaction of seeing my imprint on the land. Sustainable Deed: Using a menstrual cup.

Friday 19th January

Happy For: Dressing up and seeing friends. Feeling the happy, hazy edge after 3 glasses of wine. Sustainable Deed: Remembering to use scrap paper for my rough work.

Saturday 20th January

Happy For: Good company and dancing in a forest blanketed in snow. Sustainable Deed: Choosing to go for a walk over a consumption based activity.

Sunday 21th January

Happy For: The feeling of awe instilled from time spent in the Temppeliaukio Church and being able to share that with another person. Sustainable Deed: Making use of borrowed clothes.

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