Forming new, sustainable habits and activity ideas.

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By now, many of us are starting to settle into working from home, but finding a new routine can be a bit of a struggle. However, this time spent at home can be used to form new habits and take up new hobbies that have a positive impact on ourselves and the environment. We’ve put together a list of ideas for how you can support the environment and feed your mind from the comfort of your home.

Activities

Build breaks into your day by taking part in a Wildlife Watch. Whether you look out into your garden or spend some time watching the Wildlife Trust webcams, being inside doesn’t mean you can’t connect with nature.

It can be tempting to spend weekends streaming the latest Netflix crime documentary or watching re-runs of your favourite show but this is time that can be spent feeding your mind! Whether you’re into documentaries such as Chasing Coral and Planet Earth or prefer reading through The Conversation’s Environment + Energy articles, there are plenty of online educational resources to watch and/or read.

If you’re more into games, check out the Global calculator. Although not technically a game, this online simulation allows you to create a pathways to tack the world’s climate crisis. With many factors to consider such as carbon capture, land use and transport, the aim is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Habits

With the latest government advice being to shop for only basic necessities and as infrequently as possible, it’s important that we utilise and don’t waste food at home.

Plan ahead – plan before you hit the supermarket and take a list with you. Think about what you are going to cook and how you’ll use any leftovers. Whether you use them the following day, freeze for later in the week or try and create a completely new dish from them, don’t throw away leftovers! Casseroles, stir-fry’s and soups are simple dishes that can be made out of leftovers.

First In, First Out – when unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires. While unpacking, check your fridge temperature. Your fridge should be kept below 5°C as food, especially milk, will go off much quicker if it’s warmer.

Befriend your freezer – you can freeze food such as bread, milk, sliced fruit or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.

Still recycle – recycle any food waste that you might still be left with. Also remember to recycle all your food packaging that can be, including plastics, cardboard and tins.

Take a look at the Love Food Hate Waste website for tips on food storage, latest recipes and many other useful tips and recommendations.

Unplug devices once they are fully charge and switch them off when they aren’t being used to eliminate vampire loads.

It’s spring which means more sunny days, warmer temperatures and opportunities to save energy! Make the most of the weather and the spring breeze by drying your clothes outside. It’s also a good time to check the thermostat and turning it down a few degrees – remember to layer up as it gets cooler in the evenings as opposed to turning the heating up.

Many of us now have the opportunity to slow down and maybe try something new that we’ve always wanted to. For some that may be cooking; did you know that using pan lids not only speeds up cooking but also saves on energy! You can find out more at home energy saving tips here.

It’s a job that many of us avoid doing…clearing our mailboxes! Just like our wardrobes, sometimes our mailboxes need a bit of spring clean. After unsubscribing to newsletters you no longer need, here are some you may enjoy. From the group that brings us Clean Air Day, Global Action Plan mailing send out monthly emails. If you’re looking to stay up to date with climate news, subscribe to The Conversation’s Imagine newsletter and The Guardian’s Green Light. At the start of each month, the Sustainability Unit send out a sustainability warble. Keep an eye out for portal announcements to read the latest edition!

Social distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting which is why the Sustainability Unit has set up a fortnightly digital Climate Café (every other Friday, 1.30pm – 2.30pm). During each climate café, students and staff are invited to join the call and talk about a climate topic that interests them. We’ll focus on one topic each week; if anyone would like to join or has ideas of topics to discuss, please email Green Chester

If you have any more sustainable living tips, share them with us on social media. If you’re starting to adopt a new habit, don’t forget to tag us in a picture!

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