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Eight Lazy Ways to Change the World

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Find out more at or join me at
Published February 12th 2013
(And Still Not Have to Do Very Much)
The sea levels are rising, we are running out of water, there is a hole in the ozone layer, we are all going to die horrible deaths.


Let's face it. The majority of us are one of the three dwarves of inaction: lazy, busy, and uninformed.

So here is my lazy person's guide to changing the world: eight easy things we can all do, that in a small way at least will save the planet.

And you might not even need to get off the couch.

The three dwarves of inaction: lazy, busy and misinformed

1. Avoid Landfill
Rather than shoving all your unwanted waste in the soft belly of the earth, find a better place for it.

For food waste that means starting a compost bin or worm farm in the backyard.

It takes no time for me to put these dead batteries in a bag and one day I will remember to drop them in a proper recycling bin

For batteries it means not dumping them in the garbage but collecting them in a small box and taking them to the nearest battery recycling centre (many shopping centres and local councils have collection points, as do places like Battery World).

Donate your clothes to charities and instead of dumping household rubbish on the verge for council pick up, consider donating the item, you'd be surprised what charities are looking for.

2. Avoid Packaging
If you have kids like me then packaging is probably the bane of your existence. Why do toy manufacturers insist on packaging a small toy in half a kilogram of cardboard and plastic and a whole roll of sticky-tape?

An embarassing amount of packaging from last Christmas

One solution is to shop at local markets, online and in shops specialising in handmade goods as they almost always have less packaging. If you go to op- and second-hand shops, then you will be buying toys that are already packaging-free.

Try making your own gifts at home, this chilli jam makes a brilliant present. Use your kids 'masterpieces' as wrapping paper.

For grocery shopping, remember your 'green' shopping bags rather than taking home dozens of plastic bags. Keep a folding shopping bag tucked inside your handbag or car so that when the shop assistant says 'do you need a bag?' you can say 'no thanks, I brought my own'.

Look for more planet-friendly packaging

Keep an eye out for new products being promoted in new recyclable or smaller packaging such as mineral water that comes in soft packs, and which use 70% less energy to make than standard PET bottles.

3. Shop Responsibly
One of the simplest ways to help is to think about what you are buying? Does it support fair trade? Is it ethical? Is it green?

Consider asking your power company to sell you 'green electricity'. Green power is when the electricity you buy is made by renewable energy: wind, sun, water and waste.

While it still isn't available in all locations, your energy provider might be able to 'buy' it on your behalf, thus giving you a clear conscious that your power is at least not impacting on the planet.

Click here for info on green energy in Australia, the UK and the US.

4. Make a Nice Comment on Someone's Blog/Article
This is probably the laziest way to change the world, and let's be honest, it won't do anything to help the gorilla habitat or extinction of the coral reefs. But it will make one person feel good about themself for a day, and in turn that person might help someone else.

When you read a story or post or article that you enjoy, let the person know. Maybe it made you laugh, maybe it gave you a good idea for dinner that night. Share the love.

5. Avoid Over-Consumption
'More' doesn't always mean 'better'.

We don't actually need new decorations every Christmas, or a new outfit for every major event. Don't shop because you are bored.

One less purchase means less packaging, less impact on the planet and more money to spend on worthwhile pursuits.

Use a shopping list when you go to the grocery store (and try to stick to it).

Swap outfits and accessories with your family and friends rather than buying new clothes all the time.

Do a toy-swap with other families, so your kids get to play with different toys every couple of months rather than buying new ones.

Leave your credit card at home and shop with limited cash.

6. Give
Don't consume. Give.

Give blood.
The UK

Give time and help.
The UK

Friends and I are donating some bras, work clothes, books and glasses to local charities

Give money and stuff.
The UK

Give organs.
The UK

Give a smile.

7. Shop at Op-Shops
There are so many reasons why shopping at op-shops and second-hand shops are good for the planet. All the clothes and goods are being recycled, have avoided landfill and have minimal packaging.

The stores help keep people employed, often those who would find it difficult to find work elsewhere. The money raised is then usually used for charitable causes and to help disadvantaged people.

Finally, you can often get some great toys and clothes for a bargain price.

Save the planet and get a new outfit.

8. Start Small: change yourself
If you look at the list and think it is still too hard, then start small. If you can't change the entire planet, then start with one person: you.

Figure out what needs to change for you to be happy and then actually do it.

Lose (or gain weight). Start exercising. Call your Nan. Go back to school. Start a new hobby. Switch jobs if you're miserable. Join a club. Write that novel. Learn an instrument. Smile at a stranger. Forgive.

We have a chance to heal the world, even us lazy people

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Why? You don't have to be a superhero to save the planet
Your Comment
tip No 4... I love this article

by riaro (score: 0|5) 2543 days ago
Instead of buying mineral water is special packaging, you could just get a bottle and drink tap water. We're lucky to have clean safe water available everywhere, why buy it?
by dogta (score: 0|4) 2542 days ago
Fun and thought provoking! Recycling mobile phones is another lazy way to help. Time to get them out of a drawer and give them to a good cause (CanTeen and other charities collect them).
by Where I Holiday (score: 2|338) 2687 days ago
Fabulous article, lovely
by Roli Kapoor Rodhan (score: 1|17) 2699 days ago
Love this article! Thanks for writing it, going o stick it on my 'wall of inspiration' !
by Salen (score: 1|17) 2696 days ago
I heard that the batteries are not needed to be recucled anymoe. Is that true? They said that batteried these days are made from environmentally safe ingredients...
by Manaswinee Meesawan (score: 2|116) 2694 days ago
Great practical tips, Thanks!
by donna (score: 0|6) 2691 days ago
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