“How do we create a future in which both people and nature can thrive? We open our eyes to this moment in history, think on a planetary scale, embrace the challenge we face, and do something we humans are very good at – change the world”
– Sir David Attenborough
Like most sane people, we’re very inspired by David Attenborough. He makes us want to be a better bunch of humans and, luckily for everyone, he even tells us how to do it.
Back in 2017, Sir Dave shared the seven changes he thinks humanity needs to make in order to stop crash-burning our Earth:
If we want to fly this planet better, we should all be listening to him. But unless you’re in a position to change global policies (in which case please treat these as an urgent to-do list) these actions can feel a little out of reach. Creating no-fishing zones isn’t something many of us are capable of doing. Not meaningful ones anyhow. Your bathroom doesn’t count.
We are transforming Locavore into NXT because we realised we need to be the change that we want to see in the world. We’re going to be trying a bunch of different ways to work with nature as our ally and inspire a better way of running food systems.
If you feel the same way but don’t know where to start ticking off the ‘I’m a good human’ list, here's our suggestion of ten pretty easy things you can do.
Well, easier than changing global politics. Try them for a month and see how you go.
1. Harvest freebies.
Total no brainer. Who doesn’t like free things? How you consume resources is giving a powerful statement as well helping the planet a little at a time. Every time you’re about to buy something new, check first that someone else isn’t giving it away. Join Facebook groups for second-hand furniture, clothing, technology… there’s one for everything. Go to Really Really Free Markets (RRFM) instead of shopping malls – or if there isn’t one where you live, set it up. Keep an eye out for boxes on the street full of goodies. That means they’re for the taking. Do a bit of research and go urban foraging for edible leaves and flowers. If you’re brave enough, go dumpster diving behind supermarkets and bakeries where they throw away totally edible (still-sealed) food.
It goes without saying that giving away your own stuff is also a nice thing.
2. Have a compost heap.
You’re throwing away your food scraps anyway – why not compost them and create new nutrients for the soil? Use a section of your garden or get a composting bin for your kitchen… or ask a neighbour with a compost pile if you can throw them on theirs. Sharing is caring. If you want to be a real pro, you can even get some pet worms to frolic around in there and help break it down for you. This will make the plants in your garden or pots thrive and be happier and healthier too.
3. Keep chickens.
Okay, we lied. You should probably try this one for longer than a month. You probably won’t even be able to help yourself, because chickens are cute as well as mighty useful. They eat your leftovers, naturally till and fertilise the soil, get rid of unwanted insects (cockroaches we’re looking at you) AND provide nutritious sunny-side-ups in the morning without supporting factory farms. Win win win win. If you’ve never done this before, get the know-how by searching “keeping chickens” online. See if you can find a local one-stop-solution provider too, as you’ll need a bit of equipment, and some chickens of course…
4. Eat the stems and leaves of your vegetables.
A lot of perfectly edible nutritious food gets wasted when people peel their veggies. Try to be more careful about what you’re scrapping. Carrots, leeks, beets, asparagus… all these can be eaten from root to stem. The leaves of broccoli, cauliflower and celery are packed with good stuff. The stalks in herbs – basil, mint, parsley – can be thrown into the pot if you’re using them to cook. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, just look it up first.
5. Put a brick in your toilet... or pee outside!
Water might well be the greatest currency one day. Putting a brick in your toilet makes it use less water per flush, and peeing outside reduces that amount to zero. If you go for the giving-back-to-mother-earth option, you’re also fertilising the soil, as urine is full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Well done you. Some plants thrive more on pee than others – lime trees love it – so try to aim wisely. Of course, only in your own garden!
6. Avoid being greenwashed.
”Eco-friendly” and “sustainable” are buzzwords used very liberally these days as companies want to sound environmentally responsible and make you feel like a hero for buying their products. Try to avoid the half-truth traps and marketing tricks. The best way is to do some of your own research on anything calling itself environmentally friendly. Us included.
7. In fact, avoid all washing.
Are we joking though? We’ll stop short of giving you personal hygiene advice (shit shower shave and save the dolphins – who said that?) but many of us could help the water tables out with some easy changes to our laundry routines. If you’re washing your jeans after every wear out of habit rather than necessity, consider not doing that. There aren’t many noses at knee-level who care about bad smells anyway. Do you really sweat out every T-shirt every time you put it on? We’re just asking the question. You decide.
8. Only eat local food, wherever you are.
The closer your food source, the better. It’s fresher, it’s more likely to be seasonal, it supports your local community, it has less preservatives and bad stuff added to it, it’s less manufactured, it has a softer carbon footprint, and it’s probably way more culturally interesting. If you find yourself craving a dish that isn’t native to where you live, get creative. Lots of ingredients can be substituted when you put your thinking/chef’s hat on. Or if all else fails, consider moving to the home country of your favourite cuisine.
9. Plant pollinating plants.
Long live the bees! And the butterflies, and the hummingbirds. And the wasps, we suppose. Having flowers and other pollinating plants around helps make a happy environment for nature to thrive. They don’t look half bad, either. All you need is soil, sunlight and water.
10. Make pickles.
Or any fermented food. Fermentation is a super low-energy way to preserve ingredients that will go off soon and allows you to still eat your favourite ingredients when they’re out of season. Bacterial cultures are also great for your gut and for warding off illnesses, so you can be healthy as well as really cool.
Good luck! Time to make David Attenborough proud…
“Nature is our biggest ally and greatest inspiration”
– Sir David Attenborough