The "One Day a Week" Challenge

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Quite often the environmental impact we have (positive or negative) can be linked to the actions and behaviours we exhibit, ie the way we live our life. What we eat, how we cook, how we travel, what we buy and from whom, etc, etc. The way we live our life is not only important for ourselves, but also for those around us. If the people around you see you changing your life to make it better, it empowers them to change too.

The way we live is also linked to the habits we have developed over the course of a lifetime, particularly if you are, like myself, of a more mature persuasion, and habits can be difficult to change (ask any smoker!). I myself have wanted to change my life for the better and to reduce my load on the environment but found breaking old habits and creating new ones difficult. So, where is all this leading you ask?

We have found a way to make changing our lifestyle easier and less painful, but still heading us in the right direction. We challenge ourselves to make the change for one day a week, hence the “One Day a Week Challenge”. We decide on the change we wish to make then commit to doing at least one day a week until the change is locked in. Once the change is locked in, it can be extended to more days, or you can leave it at one day and go for another challenge.

As an example, we started out eating a meatless meal one day a week, but that has now been extended to the point where we will eat 3 to 4 meatless meals a week and the transition has been almost pain free! I can’t see us becoming full time vegetarians, but I am happy that we have been able to reduce our environmental impact due to meat consumption considerably.

Your challenge day does not necessarily have to be the same day of the week, so long as you commit to one (or more days if you like) day every week and then stick to it. That is the challenge.

Following are some suggestions for “One Day a Week Challenges” which you and your family might find interesting, and worth committing to -

Food & Drink

  • Eat vegetarian
  • Eat local (100 mile radius)
  • Eat Organic
  • Eat from the backyard
  • Eat no processed food (Make from scratch day)
  • Drink home produced beverages
  • Drink only water

Energy

  • Cook with an alternate energy source ( sun, biomass)
  • Cook with low energy methods
  • Lights off one night a week (Renewable energy only)
  • No heating day (use energy conservation – put on more clothing, use blankets etc. – winter only)

Water

  • Use only rain water
  • Flush only with recycled water
  • Shower with a friend day
  • Catch the warm up water (for use elsewhere, like watering plants or flushing toilets.)

Waste

  • Buy no packaged goods
  • Compost the food waste

Transport

  • Car stays in the garage (Car free day)
  • Ride a bike to work
  • Walk to work
  • Walk to the shops
  • Catch Public transport to work

Consumption

  • Shop from locally based retailers
  • No-buy day
  • Buy only locally produced products

Community

  • TV & Computer free day
  • Invite the neighbours over for a meal

So if you want to change your life for the better, give the “One Day a Week” challenge a go with something that makes sense to you, either one of the above suggestions or your own idea. However it works, I would love to hear from you. Maybe even put up an article on the site of your experiences. In any case feel free to email and tell me how it worked for you.

Note: a form with the above challenges and a bit of room to include your own can be downloaded here


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