Us Greens know the importance of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling (in that order!!) and now climate change seems to be at the top of the world’s agenda, greening our lives can be a real money spinner.
What I think we all need to be reminded is that we can’t save the earth by buying more stuff. Quite the opposite in fact. It can be quite astounding the number of products out there now that directly claim that you can help stop climate change by buying that product. Even cars!
Of course, reducing is one of the most effective environmental strategies we have available. Thinking twice about the things you buy is a powerful way of analysing your environmental impact. As is speaking up amongst your friends and family about the stuff they buy you.
I recently had a birthday and it was very interesting the conversations that arose when I requested that people give me something handmade (by them or someone else) or nothing at all. Not only did some of my friends surprise me with their hidden creativity, but we had some great chats about the old saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’. After all, what do you think you’re saying you think about your friend, if you give them a cheap, plastic, throw away trinket made in a sweatshop? Personally, I’d rather get no gift.
The skill of making things with your hands is something many of us have little time for these days. But there’s a surprising number of easy, gorgeous looking and most of all useful things that can be made from our recycling bins. And there are a ton of free step by step tutorials on the internet.
It seems to be very easy to make and there is an endless list of possibilities of things to make out of it. Sure, it’s not a material you would want to use in a very damp environment, but newspaper is a surprisingly strong material, and twisted like this would make it very strong. Sure recycling newspaper is good but it’s definitely better to try and give it another purpose first!
Another website worth checking out for inspiration is Crafting a Green World, which is bursting full of inspiration, ideas and well-researched information. They’ve recently started a Carnival of Green Crafts and the latest Carnival is focussed on turning Trash into Treasure. There is so many wonderful ideas in here. I recommend making a cup of tea and settling in for a good read.
Those in the craft world use the term upcycling to describe the art of taking something unwanted, and turning it into something fabulous. And it’s a trend that encourages not only creativity but also a good healthy imagination, which is something we all need to deal with all the issues that we all face locally and globally!
So next time you need to give someone a gift, don’t reach for your wallet, grab your snips and glue and a needle and thread and let your imagination run wild.