Finding Joy In Difficult Times

Joy is that intense rush of positive emotion, that sends an electric spark of feel-good vibes throughout bodies. It has this marvellous ability to appear at any moment, inspired by the smallest of things. But, the real magic of joy is that it does not rely on the big picture of what is happening around us. Joy has the ability to share space with other emotions; we can find joy even while we are feeling fear, sadness or anger. Joy can be found even in the middle of the most challenging times, and this is important to remember. 

In this time of upheaval, uncertainty and global crisis, it can be hard to stay in a happy state of mind. But the ability to feel joy is always available. Joy needs no reason. It carries no burden or expectations. Happiness is connected to what’s happening to us. Yet, joy can exist regardless of the external circumstances, which is why we can be surprised by joy even in the most difficult moments. This little spark of feel-good-vibes is a small unexpected gift when we most need it.  

Joy can be sparked in so many ways; seeing the sun shining through your window, or listening to the birds singing in the garden. It can pop in for a visit any time of the day or night and comes at the most unexpected times.

We can also actively seek out joy and inspire it with our senses; the sight, touch, smell, sound and taste of things that bring pleasure. Knowing how to find joy in this way means we can add pockets of joy into our daily lives and the lives of others. 

We can find joy in the sight of a cat lying in the sun, or in a photograph that brings back a happy memory. 

We can find joy in the feeling of a soft blanket wrapped around us, being hugged by someone we love.

We can find joy in the smell of freshly baked bread or the aroma of a hot cup of coffee.

We can find joy in the sound of a favourite song or the laughter of our children.

We can find joy in the taste of a piece of chocolate or a freshly picked strawberry. 

Joy can be found all around us, and if we pay attention, we can find it in the most simple things or the most usual experiences. The key is to find the things that bring us joy and add more of them into our lives. For it is these moments of joy that will help us weather any storm and remind us that there is always light to be found even in the darkest of times. 

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Seven Timeless Truths To Help In Strange Times

The right words at the right time can help us get through the strangest of times. These timeless truths serve to encourage us by reminding us that as a human race, we have overcome challenging times through innovation and adaption, and we will again. 

1. Imagination is everything. 

Regardless of the limits we might feel in this pandemic, our imagination and creativity are limitless. Albert Einstein understood the power of this when he said:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

It is through our collective imagination and creativity that we will create new ways of living within the limitations of this pandemic and beyond.

2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Extraordinary claims must have robust and exceptional evidence to support them. We are all clutching at straws in the hope that a miracle treatment will quickly rid the world of COVID-19. It is because of this hope for an escape that we can easily fall into the trap of believing every article or information pushed by someone with a medical degree or an important-sounding title. Wait for the evidence. If something is real, it will be proven with solid and sound evidence. Until then, it is only a theory. 

3. Actions speak louder than words.

What you do defines you. It does not matter what you say or what you believe; it will be your actions that others hear. This timeless advice relates equally to our leaders; we hear your actions louder than your words. 

4. Learning Curves Can Be Steep At First

The human race is always learning and growing. Much of what we considered to be a scientific fact even 100 years ago is no longer valid. When there are new facts, the learning process is often one of trial and error. The learning curve about COVID-19 has been steep and happening at light-speed. What was considered to be a fact two months ago may not hold to be true tomorrow. Be comfortable that this steep learning curve is normal as new information is learned. The curve will flatten. 

5. Adaption is in our DNA

Every one of us is alive today thanks to a long line of survivors. Our ancestors survived through impossibly difficult upheavals in our world, and as the descendants of this endless line of survivors, we have learned how to adapt in order to survive. Consider how quickly we have adapted every part of our societies to cope with this pandemic. It is in times of dire need that our innate ability to adapt to survive comes to the front through innovation and reorganisation. 

6. Professionals are amateurs who learned from their mistakes.

L’amateur in French is someone who does something because they are passionate about it. Now we have more time on our hands to do the things we love. We do not have to be productive all the time and can instead embrace this chance to be an amateur. Take time to enjoy honing and perfecting new skills, for it is in embracing the passion of the amateur that new ideas, creations and opportunities are born, and new professionals are formed. 

7. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

This is the Golden Rule of humanity. It reminds us to treat others with the respect and kindness we would expect to be treated with. More than this, it reminds us to be considerate of the impact our actions have on others. Wearing a face mask is a modern parable for this rule. I wear it not because it protects me, but because it protects you. And, if we both wear one, we keep each other safe and protected. 

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

Charles Darwin 

How and When Did The Quest For Profit Become More Important Than The Lives of The Workers?

Here at ILNI, we strongly believe in workers’ rights. We object to the exploitation of workers for profit.  Our articles on fast fashion have placed a spotlight on the plight of workers placed in unsafe conditions by companies that pursue profit over worker safety. But, never did we imagine we would be writing about these issues in relation to workers in the world’s most developed nation. Yet, here we are, two months into a pandemic and we are already witnessing CEOs and a President choosing economic profit over human lives. 

Perhaps ethical manufacturing seems a little less abstract now we are talking about American workers. This issue might feel more real to us now the workers we expect to go back into an unsafe meat packing plant are citizens of a developed, democratic nation.   

We are in shock that an executive order of a President can force meat processing workers back to work in an unsafe environment. We cannot comprehend that the largest economy in the world can insist their people return to work without protection from a virus that has already killed thousands of their fellow citizens? In this executive order, the President points out that the closure of a single large beef processing facility will result in the loss of over 10 million individual servings of beef in a single day. Yet, his order does not mention the 5,000 meatpacking workers and 1,500 food processing workers who have tested positive for Covid-19, nor their 20 co-workers who have tragically died from this virus. Working in a meat processing plant was already one of the most dangerous jobs in the US before the pandemic hit. Now, these workers must choose between risking their lives to keep the meat industry profitable or losing their jobs, their benefits and their health insurance. 

The most modern, developed nation with the biggest economy in the world has now valued the production of meat above the safety of the workers.

How did this happen? When did the quest for profit become more important than the lives of the workers? 

It started to happen when we were apathetic to the plight of workers in developing nations. When we continued to buy products produced by companies who were content to put workers in unsafe working conditions to cut costs. This choice of profit over worker safety happened far away from our home nations, where we could quickly put it out of our minds. It continued to happen because we did not make brands pay an economic cost for their unethical decisions. We did not effectively boycott the brands or call out the CEOs. And, now the same calculations of profit over life are happening closer to home. So, will we finally start to get angry about it? As we should have done when it was happening to workers in developing nations.  

Will we demand a change to the calculation that values profit above life? Will we get more serious about it now that we are talking about the safety of working-class American citizens?  

Is this what it takes for us to finally understand that the quest for profit should never outweigh work safety, regardless of the location of the factory? 

We can only answer these questions by our actions. As consumers, we can send a strong message of change; we value life above all, and will only buy from companies who feel the same. Only by the force of our collective purchasing choices can we ensure that companies will never again place profit before worker safety. 

To be free, the workers must have choice. To have choice they must retain in their own hands the right to determine under what conditions they will work.

SAMUEL GOMPERS, Founder of the American Federation of Labor 1886

Five Of Our Favourite Books In Lockdown

A common side-effect of being under stay-at-home orders is the amount of extra time we all seem to have on our hands. It is a great time to dive into a new book for a little escape from the reality of our four walls. Here are five great books we can recommend.

A Very Stable Genius – Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America

By Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

There is one thing this pandemic is showing us: leadership matters. This book is a deep-dive into the shambolic presidency of Donald Trump, chronicling his pathway to the Presidency, from the moment he rode down the escalator to announce his candidacy to the revelation of the phone call he made to the president of Ukraine. 

Co-written by two NY Times reporters, this is an eye-opening depiction of what happens when a man rises to a position of power in which he comes to believe that he can do anything without facing the consequences. An incredible outline of how the US ended up with the wrong person in leadership at the wrong time. 

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

By Jen Campbell

If you sometimes find yourself shaking your head in amazement at the stupid things people will say and do, this book is for you. A fantastically funny collection of genuine questions recorded by the proprietors of two independent bookshops. Be ready to laugh-out-loud at some of the unbelievably cheeky or outrageously weird things people say in bookstores. A great book to read if you need a little distraction from these strange times we are living through. 

 Quote from the book:

 CUSTOMER: I’ve been looking through your geography section – I can’t find any books on Atlantis.

 BOOKSELLER: You know, I think we managed to lose those.

The Muse 

By Jessie Burton

From the author of The Miniaturist, this book intertwines art, mystery and intrigue with historical fiction and feminism. An elegantly written tale of passion and desire following the lives of two women: Olive, a young artist, with a natural inclination towards painting, who feels the sexist society of Spain in the 1930s represses her talent, and Odelle, a young poetess from Trinidad growing up in England in the 1960s who faces many obstacles triggered by the colour of her skin. A beautiful story of two strong female characters and a powerful mystery that ties them together.

Very British Problems – Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time

By Rob Temple

Very British Problems is a fabulous book to lose yourself in and pleasantly pass the time in lockdown. This book is a loving self-portrayal of the weird and quirky habits of the British. Every page will make you giggle if not howl with laughter at their constant need to apologise and their obsession with queueing. Enjoy being entertained by the British addiction to tea and biscuits and their preoccupation with the weather. In the chapter “Repressing One’s Rage”, Temple outlines the perfectly beautiful British ways to deal with annoyance:

 Dealing with a queue jumper by staring fiercely at the back of their head.

 Becoming so furious that you beg someone for their pardon.

Thanking people under your breath as punishment for them not thanking you.

A Paradise Built in Hell –The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

By Rebecca Solnit

If there was a small silver lining to this pandemic, A Paradise Built in Hell, would be the place to discover it. This wide-reaching book examines how disasters have changed the societies that survive them by birthing new social possibilities and highlighting the best side of human behaviour. Covering major calamities such as the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, this book uncovers how disasters can result in vast outpourings of altruism and philanthropy allowing the positive sides of humanity to shine through. With many examples of how strangers will go to extraordinary lengths to help one another, this book gives us hope that humanity is more durable than the current crisis that faces us. 

We hope you are staying safe and well in your homes and can take some time out to relax and lose yourself in a great book. 

Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness, we return to books: to find words for what we already know.

Alberto Manguel

Our Favourite Comfort Food Recipes For Surviving A Lockdown

While we cannot be together around a dinner table, we can connect via food. Here at ILNI, we are sheltering separately in our homes during this pandemic but, as a team, we have enjoyed sharing recipes and indulgences that are giving us some comfort in these crazy times. Sharing food has a way of keeping us connected, and so today we are sharing our favourite lockdown comfort food recipes with you too.

Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake

When we need comfort food, we cannot go past this decadent Carrot Cake recipe with cream cheese icing.

Nachos with Homemade ‘Cheese

This Nacho recipe is loaded with all the good stuff that will ensure you don’t feel any guilt at indulging in a second helping!

The Plantpower Way Potato Salad

Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food when in lockdown, and we love this plant power potato salad recipe with olives! 

Griddled Vegetables & Feta with Tabbouleh

Have you ever tried to BBQ feta? This fantastic recipe from Jamie Oliver will make you want to try. Pulling out the BBQ to cook in the garden is a great way to liven up dinner time while under stay at home orders.

Tear and Share Bread with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Black Olives and Mozzarella

We are rediscovering the joy of baking bread while in lockdown, with varying levels of success with our loaves. This easy-to-make, and easy-to-eat tear and share Bread is almost a no-fail recipe that everyone in your household will enjoy.

DoubleTree Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies

To help us all cope with the lockdown and our overwhelming desire to bake comfort food, the DoubleTree Hotel Chain decided to release their famous cookie recipe. This recipe is for the same signature cookie that every guest receives on arrival at one of their hotels, and now we can enjoy them from the comfort of our sofa. Be warned: you will want to eat more than one!

Vegan Chocolate Pots

Because we all know that in lockdown you can never have enough chocolate, we have included our favourite Jamie Oliver recipe for Chocolate pots with lime, vanilla, rum and chilli. Enjoy!

Please stay safe and well during this challenging time.

With kindness from all of us at ILNI.

Nature Takes a Breath, And We Get A New Perspective

Amid a pandemic that is disrupting our world in ways we never imagined possible a few months ago, it is important to focus on any positives. One of the silver-linings of this industry-stopping pandemic is that, while most of the world remains under stay-at-home orders, the planet is getting to take a quick breath. Today the sky is a perfect blue, devoid of the usual white contrails of passing planes and the birds are singing loudly outside the window.

The sudden and dramatic stopping of the majority of industrial activity has resulted in an equally dramatic reduction in pollution levels all over the world. With most of us working from home and many large industries shuttered, the highways are empty of cars, the skies are brighter, and the air quality has improved. This phenomenon is producing incredibly clear skies above cities like Beijing, Mumbai, LA, and Paris. In Italy, one of the hardest-hit nations in this pandemic, the lack of tourists means the gondola-filled canals of Venice are cleaner than they have been in living memory. Locals have also spotted rarely seen fish inhabiting the canals again.

We do not kid ourselves that this pandemic is somehow fixing the climate crisis, but it is at least giving the planet a small break from the impact of the intense human industry we have built up over the last hundred years. Equally important, it is offering us a chance to gain a new perspective on the importance of our health and that of our planet.  One surprising upshot of life under stay-at-home orders is that we are all noticing nature again. People are making the most of any chance to be outside in wide-open spaces where we can walk while keeping a safe social distance. We hear the birds singing more clearly now without the noise of traffic. We have slowed down and started noticing the world around us. The air smells fresher, and the skies are brighter. In the midst of this disaster, we look outside, and we finally see our world.

It is almost as if our planet has been patiently waiting for us to notice it, and this crisis is allowing us the time to stop and smell the roses. We are noticing more of the things that really matter, our health and safety, and those of our loved ones. As we look around our communities, we feel a new care for the health of those living in our towns and cities, and we concern ourselves with our health as a nation and a race.

When this crisis is finally over, we hope that we will remember the days when the skies were bluer, the bird songs louder, and we took the time to notice the blossoms on the trees. As we rebuild from this economic and social shock, it is our chance to reimagine a healthier world and a future where economic decisions are made by also considering the impact on our health and that of our planet.

This virus has given us a shared sense of humanity in facing a common threat. We believe this new-found solidarity can also give us a new perspective on our world’s problems and challenges and how we can work to solve them; together. May we emerge from this crisis with this renewed sense of humanity intact. And, may we move forward with a common goal to protect the future health and well-being of our planet and all who dwell on it.

You may say I’ a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

– John Lennon

Staying Socially Connected While Physically Distancing

In this crazy time of lockdowns and social distancing rules, it is vital to do our best to stay connected socially. Not being able to interact with friends, family, and co-workers, as usual, is hard for everyone. The silver lining in this situation is that many of us have a lot more time on our hands. Let’s use this time to ensure we all stay connected socially despite the distance between us. We have a few ideas for how we can all stay connected and feel linked to others through this time.

Video calls: Having a morning coffee date with your mother or best friend via skype/messenger or other video platforms is a great way to spend time with your favourite people. Set up a virtual happy hour in the evening and catch up with a friend over a glass of wine via video call. Whatever you can do to keep a connection with others will help bring a sense of normalcy to your days.

Help Out: At this time, the most important thing we can do is protect our most vulnerable from this disease. That means the elderly and immune-compromised must stay safely in their homes. We can help them do this by offering to collect their groceries for them, dropping a card in their letterbox, and also giving them a daily call to check in on them. By helping others and contributing to their wellbeing, we feel more useful and connected to our society in this challenging period.

Online forums: Many of us have forgotten these online forums still exist. But, the need to feel connected has reignited many online discussions based around interest groups. Find a forum or two where like-minded people are gathering and join in the banter. Our only caveat is to be wary of any groups sharing inaccurate or harmful information about the pandemic situation. If the group descends into the realms of weird or uncomfortable or offensive, simply leave the discussion and find another group

Connect with nature: While some of us may be limited to staying close to home, we all can take a step outside for some fresh air. Take some time each day to get outside, feel the sun on your face, listen to the birds, and perhaps feel the grass under your bare feet (for the lucky ones who still can).

Write To Someone: Now is the perfect time to reach out and reconnect with people you have lost contact with over the years. Send an email or letter to an elderly aunt or an old high school friend. Write an email to someone you know in the healthcare services, thanking them for their hard work.

Even connecting virtually can change our mood for the better. Connecting with others lets them know they are important to us, and we want them to be safe and feel supported. We all have enough time to make an effort to reach out, so let’s do it.

I get by with a little help from my friends

– The Beatles

We Are Waves Of The Same Sea; We Are In This Pandemic Together

Last week the Chinese electronics company, Xiaomi, donated tens of thousands of facemasks to the Italian government. And, in the most touching display of solidarity from one country suffering the impact of the coronavirus to another, the boxes were labeled with the words of the ancient Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca:

We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden.

Siamo onde dello stesso mare, foglie dello stesso albero, fiori dello stesso giardino 

Someone involved in this donation decided to add these perfect words to every box of masks, and the ripples of kindness spread across the world. 

In this time of global panic, it is too easy to isolate ourselves and pursue a purely selfish attitude of putting ourselves and our needs first. This is not the time to try to hoard essentials or procure vaccines exclusively for one country. This is not the time to place blame on other nations’ citizens and accuse them of ‘seeding this virus in our land’.

Now, more than ever, is the time for the world to be together in solidarity, facing a common foe. It is time to work on defeating this virus together. 

It is the time to offer support, kindness and patience to others. 

It is the time to stubbornly refuse to give in to the worst of human nature. 

It is the time to stand together, resilient, and with a determination that we will get through this – together.

Take a breath, take care of yourself and your family. Then look out your door to others in your circle who need help. Check on your friends, family, and neighbours.

We know there is a need to keep a physical distance, but this should not mean that anyone is left socially isolated. We all live in a community, and this is the time when the most vulnerable in society need the most community support; the elderly, the sick, the young mother with a newborn baby, the newly arrived immigrant, the worried teenager, the laid-off hospitality worker, and the exhausted nurse. 

We urge you to look for the little ways you can help those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask someone how you can help them. We must remember that it is a basic human need to be connected, and therefore, it is essential that no one feels disconnected or on their own in this pandemic. We are in this together, as a world, as a human race. Seneca, the philosopher, had another quote that seems particularly fitting for this difficult time: 

“There is no great credit in behaving bravely in times of prosperity when life glides easily with a favoring current, neither does a calm sea and fair wind display the art of the pilot. Some foul weather is wanted to prove his courage.”

Seneca reminds us that it is through the hardest times that the best of our human nature can shine. Let us, therefore, shine with kindness, compassion, and community as we set the path together through these unsettling times.

There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.  

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Adding The Happiness Factor- 11 Ways To Put A Spring Back In Your Step

At the moment, it can feel like everything we read in the news is about doom and gloom. There is so much bad news coming from all around our globe; climate change is hitting, a potential pandemic on the loose, political decisions have angered us, long-established unions are pulling apart, and we could go on. All of these events can have a significant impact on our happiness levels. 

Rather than dwell on the negative, we thought it was high time we focused on ways to increase the happiness factor in our lives. We have put together 11 fantastic ways to factor more happiness into your life and put a spring back in your step. 

1. Start something new

Get interested in learning something new; such as a new sport, a new hobby or a new interest area. Our brains are wired for learning, and it feels good to be focused on something new and exciting. The challenge of picking up a new skill can be mentally stimulating and is far more fun than continually scrolling through live news updates online. 

2. Become an expert at something 

Take a skill to the next level by putting extended time and effort into perfecting it. You could focus on something enormous like becoming a skilled mountain climber or focus on something small like baking the perfect pancake. Whatever you choose, become an expert at it. The sense of accomplishment you will feel can boost your self-confidence and is an excellent way to up your overall happiness level. 

3. Help someone out

Helping others is scientifically proven to raise our own happiness levels. Whenever you volunteer your time to help someone else, you walk away with a little more spring in your step. So find a way to volunteer some of your time this week to someone in need. 

4. Spread a little kindness

Random acts of kindness feel great to receive, and they also feel fantastic to do. Find ways to show small acts of kindness all the time. It can be as simple as always holding open a door for someone or sending flowers to a friend or loved one. Read more about this in our post Be Kind.

5. Finish something

We all love the feeling of crossing off tasks on our to-do list. Get busy finishing something you have been putting off for a while. Feel the happiness boost from the sense of satisfaction when you can complete that lingering task and can strike it off your list. 

6. Declutter

Having a good clean out and making more space is proven to boost our feel-good vibes. Simply clearing your desk of paper can give you a great shot of happiness to start the day.

7. Breathe

There are endless benefits to taking time out of your day to focus on your breathing. A few minutes in a zen-like relaxation can help you feel calmer and happier. Give it a try. 

8. Laugh

Find something that really gets you giggling and enjoy laughing out loud. Laughter triggers a release of endorphins in your system and laughing out loud is such a great way to express that joy, that you cannot help but feel happier as you do it. 

9. Sing

Line up your favourite tunes, turn up the volume and sing along. Listening to your favourite music reduces stress, and singing along makes you feel even better. Do it in your car, in the shower, in the kitchen, or anywhere you feel like letting your inner diva out. Bonus happiness points if you also break into a dance. 

10. Count your blessings

Gratitude is a fabulous mood booster. Focusing on what we have and feeling thankful for is an excellent habit to get into every day. Start by simply writing down three things you are grateful for every morning and get your day started positively, before reading the news. 

11. Catch Happiness

Spending time with happy, positive people is a great way to catch some happiness of your own. Joy is contagious and should be shared. Therefore, arrange to call or meet up with one of your most positive friends and get fully infected with their happiness. 

Happiness is so much better when it is shared. As you boost the happiness factor in your own life, spread it all around to everyone you meet. The world is going through a tough time right now, and when we can share happiness despite all the negative, we become more resilient to the impact and better at working together to find solutions.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha

Our Eco-Bucket List For A Greener 2020

Now is the best time to start the new year off with some excellent, good for the planet, intentions. We have eleven ideas to help you get started on an eco-bucket list for 2020.

1. Ditch the one-use plastic

Now is the time to go all out and load up on reusable shopping bags, reusable takeaway coffee cups, paper straws and more. Every piece of plastic you avoid using is one less piece of plastic polluting our planet.

2. Take the train

Whenever you can, book a train ride instead of a plane this year. Not only are you saving the planet from more unnecessary carbon emissions, but you also get to explore the world from a different perceptive out the window of a train. 

3. Build a sustainable wardrobe

Give yourself a new look this year by investing in a sustainable new look. Choose ethically made clothes from brands you trust. By ditching the fast fashion pieces for clothes that are made to last, and are made with minimal impact on our planet, you can look great and feel great about your choice. 

4. March for the Climate

Join a climate march this year and make a stand for the future of our planet.  

5. Switch to renewable energy

Consider changing your energy supplier to one that provides green energy from renewable sources. Alternatively, investigate the option to install solar panels and produce your own electricity from our ultimate renewable resource – the sun. 

6. Get on your bike

Make it a goal on your eco-bucket list to walk or bike to any destination within a few miles/kilometres from your home. Not only is this better for the local environment, but it is also fantastic for your health. 

7. Grow a garden for the bees

Bees are crucial pollinators who are having a hard time surviving in our changing world. Help them out and encourage them into your garden by avoiding the use of pesticides, having water available in the garden, and keeping plants such as lavender, honeysuckle and foxgloves.

8. Learn how to cook fantastic vegan or vegetarian dishes

By removing meat from some of your meals, you can reduce your environmental footprint by a significant amount. Try out some new recipes, invite some friends over and enjoy a change!

9. Start buying local and organic produce

Find out where to buy produce from local growers, by visiting their farm or their stall at a farmer’s market. Learn more about what fruit and vegetables are in season and plan your meals accordingly. Buying local seasonal fruit and vegetables reduces the distance our food must travel and there-by the carbon footprint of our food. As a bonus, local and organic produce is often much fresher and higher in nutritional value. 

10. Visit a national park

National parks are unique places set aside by our governments to ensure the protection of vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems. Support these national parks by visiting and learning more about your nation’s land and wildlife. 

11. Book a holiday off the beaten track

Skip the most obvious tourist spots that are drowning in tourists and find a new location to explore. Stay in a locally family-owned b&b, eat at a locally-run restaurant and take a tour with people who grew up in the area. This way, you will get to know the local culture resulting in a more authentic and enriching experience rather than feeling like just another tourist. 

2020, the beginning of a new decade, is an excellent time to start thinking more about the impact our lifestyles have on the planet. While having an eco-bucket list of eco-intentions is a step in the right direction, acting on these intentions is the crucial step. By turning these intentions into actions, together we can make a giant leap forward for the health of our planet this decade. 

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. 

– Chinese proverb