When we were training to be a part of the Raleigh International team of volunteers you realise how even small changes you make can make a difference across the world. When you are staying in National Parks and living in communities, you understand what changes mean to people around the world. There is so much I could write about what I have learned about development and what I now think about the meaning of being poor and how they are not what you would probably expect me to say, but how do you sum it all up in a blog post.
On our return, I have said to many of you that it feels like I’ve never been away and with that comes the danger of forgetting how I felt when I was part of a team that cared so passionately about the environment and society. It is so easy for me to already think, how can pledging to make a change in my life here, affect anything as big as the global issues we have. The point is, without going in to lots of details, they can make a difference. Even if that difference is simply to inspire someone else to volunteer in their own community, or across the world. To inspire someone to look at what they eat, which does actually have an impact on the world. To inspire someone to realise how lucky they are in life and to be happy.
With this in mind and to avoid all my passionate momentum draining away with modern life, I am setting out my Fifteen for Fifteen. Fifteen goals that myself and also Damian are pledging to aim for in 2015.
1 Eat less meat.
To have more vegetarian meals and learn to cook more with seasonal vegetables.
2 Bags for life.
So many times, these are not in the car and I simply want to make sure I’ve always got a bag with me that means I can refuse the plastic, or paper carrier bags.
3 Local fruit & vegetables
With an amazing market in Leicester and a fruit & vegetable stall in local town, we want to aim to buy our fruit & vegetables from one of these local sources at least once every month, rather than taking the easy trip to the supermarket.
4 Recycle more
We do recycle, but we could do this so much better.
5 Less mileage
Can I aim to cycle more in to the local area, or plan my trips so that I do them all on one day, rather than across several? I do hope so.
6 Water savings
We already have a water butt in the garden, but could we have more units in the garden, which means we never have to turn the tap on in the summer. Can we use the dish washer less – of course we could. I also adore our bath, but it takes so much water. I am going to restrict myself to only one bath every 2 months and spend less time in the shower.
I like the idea of composting our raw food items, peelings etc so would like to research if this is possible to do in our garden.
8 Less food waste
We are so guilty of this and having cooked to a budget as part of a team, I’ve realised how much better I could be at using every little ingredient and save a lot of money
9 Dry October
We gave up alcohol for 10 weeks and it was easy. If we calculated how much we spend on alcohol as an average every month, then we could go dry for October and donate that money saved to a charity.
10 Grow your own
We usually try to grow some of our own vegetables, but I would like to look at doing this with more success this year. Maybe even give up more of our garden space to it.
11 Community spirit
I am going to actively look at how I may be able to help with some organisations in Leicester. I also keen to see if I can get involved in some kind of mentoring with the Prince’s Trust. Look at helping local charities with their photography.
12 Raleigh alumni
As part of a huge alumni now across the world, I want to stay involved in what they do and help when and where I can.
13 Fairtrade & Free Range
Having visited a coffee plantation and understanding how much more they pay their employees, I am going to look to buy produce with more ethical responsibility, be it Fairtrade, or any other sustainable organisation. We also always buy free range eggs, but could they come from a local farm source instead? Can all the things we buy be sourced more ethically?
14 Raise awareness
I hope to use my images and our blog to help people understand so many of the things we have learned so they can make up their own mind on what goes on at home and overseas.
15 Live below the line
This annual charity event is something I would like to challenge us to achieve this year. Can we live for £1 a day for a week for all our food and drink. No easy task.
These may seem like little changes and so many of you will already do this, but I thought we also did and realised we don’t try hard enough at this. With little steps to commitment, I hope we can make bigger changes. When everyone makes a little change to one cause, the impact it has is phenomenal so I hope this inspires you.
What would you challenge yourself to change in 2015.