This post is a free bonus chapter to go with my book “Greensplaining”. You can get the full book here.
Maybe you are new to the green living scene and you’re looking for some inspiration. Maybe you’re keen to see the things I discussed in “Greensplaining” applied in practice. Or maybe it’s just that time of year again – to list all things that inspired us. Here I go: the list is subjective, and I’d love to see your reactions! This is my list of ten stories, ideas, or solutions which made me enjoy eco-living even more this year.
1. World Bicycle Relief
This charity celebrates the power of the bicycle. I met and spoke to their reps this year on a triathlon show, and I was blown away by how this simple idea (and a sturdy bike build) can have powerful and positive consequences. Every book you buy from me helps me donate to them.
2. Happy Pear
Two dudes who cook and share great, delicious, vegan recipes. Their no-nonsense approach to food means that you get instantly interested in how easy it is to cook food that’s greener and better for everybody. The highlight, for me, is their YouTube channel: two twin brothers in a messy kitchen, finishing each other’s sentences – gotta love that!
3. Jack Monroe
Another food entry (and not the last). But it’s more than just food. Jack is a person for whom, I think, food is pleasure, politics, a mission, an adventure, therapy…the recipes on Jack’s website made me wonder (and salivate) at how easy and inexpensive green cooking can be. Highlight: bean and beetroot burgers.
4. Costa Rica
A story too good to be true: an extremely happy nation, running almost entirely on renewable energy. This was Costa Rica in 2016. Since then, the appetite for driving cars around the country has tarnished the “100% renewable” reputation, but this place keeps its position on my list. Underdogs who dare to go green will always get my vote!
5. The Green Party
Towards the end of “Greensplaining”, my argument and advice to anyone is to “vote less evil”. In many places, this means looking for your local Greens and finding out how to support them. Some good victories for Greens this year (Austria, and Germany), and some pretty encouraging results. But there’s much to be done, and Greens have one more thing going for them: they frequently make politics more human and palatable.
They’re controversial. I admit that. Their campaigns are meant to provoke, to shock you into seeing their point of view. Granted. I’m proud to include them on this list for two reasons. One, their key premise – opposing cruelty to animals – is not something I would ever argue against. And two, their practical advice on skipping meat in your diet is top-notch. Highlight: vegan one-mug microwave dishes, ready before you can say “nutritional yeast”.
It’s been a question that we’ve been trying to answer in our house for a long while now: what makes some Quorn things so fiendishly good? This meat replacement range is seriously convincing to me. Some of their ideas I’ll never come back to – but many are delicious enough to replace their meat counterparts for good. Check them out, or look for your local alternatives. It can really be done!
8. Berta Cáceres
This name should have made last year’s list, but I wasn’t making one in 2016. Fixing this now. Berta Cáceres was one of many environmental activists murdered for their beliefs, actions and campaigns. According to Global Witness, hers was not an isolated case by far. I’m including her here, because I believe it’s important to realize that for many, going green is really a life-or death situation.
9. Rebecca Solnit
If you want to read up, this is the name to start researching. Not just when it comes to eco- issues, either. “Hope in the Dark” and “Men Explain Things to Me” – two titles by Solnit I read this year – helped me see that green campaigns are never isolated, never doomed to fail, and that the violence inflicted upon environments is connected to the violence inflicted upon women, people of colour, and other oppressed groups all around the world. I’m not going to explain this to you. Go and read!
10. Solar power
Renewables are winning big this year, and solar power makes this subjective list for one big reason: it has never been easier to power your life with solar. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest – they’re all full of ideas for harnessing solar power for your sheds, garages, houses (tiny or otherwise), boats… It’s a movement I love to watch unfold!
What did you think, guys? Head over to Facebook or Twitter to share your ideas for your top ten lists.
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