Chances are you are getting a bit bored during this lockdown. And if you are like me, you may be thinking, “what else can I do to be even more sustainable during the lockdown?” Ok – I don’t usually do this – but let me share with you a few entries from my journal (edited for this post).
Tuesday, December 31st, 2019. 23:59.
“I’m at a friend’s New Years Eve house party, surrounded by about a dozen or so friends and a few other people I’ve never met before. Big Ben is being streamed live on the host’s large TV, and 2019 is coming to an end. Just a few seconds remaining. I grab a cold beer from the fridge and crack it open, ready to welcome in 2020 the only way I know.
As the final seconds of 2019 tick away, I can’t help but think forward, to the year 2020.
Yes – I’m a walking talking cliché – but as I stand there, eyes fixed on London’s most iconic landmark, I’ve already decided that 2020 will be ‘my year’; The year when I’ll finally get my shit together, quit procrastinating, and start fearlessly making some tangible progress towards my bigger, scarier goals.
2020 arrives! I toast, I hug my friends, I drink, and I smile in excited anticipation of the ‘new me’ that I’ll become tomorrow….
Bring on the New Year! Life is great!”
Sunday, April 4th, 2020. 14:05
“I’ve finally run out of toilet paper – so I use my bare hand to wipe, then I jump straight into the shower.”
Yeah – not cool! This was NOT what any of us had in mind for 2020! The COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent lockdown that has been enforced on most of the civilised world, has been described by many experts as the worst global catastrophe since WW2.
The deadly virus engulfs the entire world like a wildfire. The rest of us have only been able to watch helplessly how around half of the planet’s entire population has been forced into some version of a lockdown. Governments continue to struggle to halt the spread of a disease that has now infected more than 2,300,000 people, at the time of writing.
We’re already learning that life under enforced lockdown is tough; all those stupid little luxuries we took for granted are now being taken away from us. Yes, I am talking about toilet paper – but we’re also seeing other items becoming harder and harder to obtain. Just this week alone I’ve failed to buy eggs, oranges, pasta, and my favourite crisps. All because Coronavirus has damaged the UK supply chain, rendering them largely unavailable.
The good news, though, is that there is a whole lot we CAN do to make this lockdown not only easy but much more sustainable! Here are my suggestions for the top 5 sustainable things you can do during the lockdown.
1. During the lockdown, cut your meals down
Mahatma Gandhi, for example, survived for an astonishing 21 days of complete starvation. According to Medical News Today, an average human being can survive without food between a month and two. People undertaking voluntary hunger strikes have died after 45-61 days. Therefore, I think we can safely assume that you won’t dramatically drop dead if you don’t get your three meals per day (or four or five for some people).
Since the beginning of the lockdown, I have been surviving on 1-2 meals per day instead of my usual 3. And you know what? It’s fine! Not only have I not died, I feel weirdly better. I eat a large but healthy breakfast in the morning. I may have a small, healthy snack like an apple or a raw carrot in the afternoon – but apart from that, my next meal won’t come until dinner at 18:00.
It’s called ‘intermittent fasting’, and minimising food waste is not the only benefit. Studies show that intermittent fasting can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and significantly increase your resistance to stress (very important right now!). This helps to suppress inflammation, decrease overall blood pressure and lower your cholesterol levels. It’s also been proven to improve brain health and memory retention.
2. Sustainable lockdown breakfast? Bubble and Squeak!
If you’re English, you will already know what we mean by ‘Bubble and Squeak’, so feel free to skip and move down the list.
For our foreign friends – Bubble and Squeak is a very old traditional British breakfast. The main ingredients are leftover potatoes and cabbage, but carrots, peas, sprouts, or any other leftover vegetables may be added. All the leftover vegetables from yesterday’s dinner are fried in a pan together with mashed or roasted potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. The dish gets its unusual name because the cabbage makes bubbling and squeaking sounds as it cooks.
I’ll link you my favourite Bubble and Squeak recipe here.
Not only is it delicious and healthy, but it’s also the most sustainable way to minimise food waste, as you can literally throw ANY left-over food into the mix!
3. Sustainable DIY during the lockdown
For now, there’s plenty of food at your local shop. However, why not challenge your lazy, over-privileged brain and re-take control of what you eat and how it is made. Use all of this extra time to (re)discover all the stuff that you can easily do yourself. This is not only much healthier but in the long term, this will also save an extraordinary amount of packaging, energy and money.
Hit Google and YouTube. You’ll find an abundance of learning resources on how to make your own bread, yoghurt, jam, cheese, candles, clothes, soap…. Almost anything!
Of course, it’s much quicker and easier to just go get these items from the store. But there is something magical and rewarding in creating something beautiful/delicious from scratch!
4. Recycling – the opportunity for a sustainable lockdown!
More time at home will likely mean more trash.
In case you’ve spent your entire life living in a cave – recycling reduces the need for extracting, refining and processing raw materials which create air and water pollution. Recycling saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a huge advantage in the effort to tackle climate change.
5. During the lockdown, sustain YOU!
We can talk all day about sustainability. You may have noticed, but it’s kind of a hot topic here at Bagmaya. However, why even talk about taking care of the planet if we’re not taking care of ourselves? Life under enforced lockdown is undeniably tough. Not only is the threat of Coronavirus terrifying, but many people were already battling depression and anxiety long before the pandemic hit us.
Lots of self-employed people have lost jobs or had their incomes severely reduced. Social distancing and self-isolating measures have cut our contact with our friends and family. And then there is the constant concern about our elderly or vulnerable loved ones that are also facing this bizarre and scary reality all alone.
Mind is one of the best mental health charities in the UK. They have some very useful advice about maintaining your mental health as you self-isolate. For additional support with grief, anxiety, or mental well-being, you can call The Samaritans (from the UK for free on 116 123)
Did we miss something? How are you making this lockdown experience sustainable? Let us know in the comments!