New year, new start. A new year encourages us to try new things in the hope of personal improvement. Why not challenge yourself with goals that benefit both yourself and your environment or wider community? Even small changes can make a positive impact. Here are some ideas on how to make a difference in 2019.
Waste Not: Make a Big Difference by Throwing Away Less by Erin Rhoads
Modern society is full of stuff designed to be short-lived and then thrown away – from plastic packaging to coffee cups to clothes and even phones. Many of us are trying to create less waste, but find the idea of being Zero-Waste too daunting (even though we are impressed at the same time). Waste Not is a collection of tips and tricks that Erin Rhoads learnt during her own Zero-Waste journey, covering different aspects of life, including food, cleaning, beauty, entertaining and kids. Many of the ideas are small and very approachable (such as BYO fabric shopping bag) and there are also creative DIY ideas for making your own cleaning products, gift wrapping and much more!
Scraps, Peels and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home by Jill Lightner and Shannon Douglas
Scraps, Peels and Stems is a recipe book with a difference – it minimises food waste by making the most of every part of an ingredient. It shows you how to turn items such as beef bones, broccoli stalks, wilting greens and parmesan rinds into easy but impressive snacks and meals; there are also tips on planning your shopping to avoid overbuying; how to store food to keep it fresh for longer; and guides to composting and recycling. Jill Lightner and Shannon Douglas show how you can make your kitchen sustainable with minimal effort – it’s kind to the environment and kind to your wallet too.
Lagom: the Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne
Lagom is the Swedish concept of moderation – not too little, not too much, but just enough. Linnea Dunne suggests that lagom can deliver sustainable happiness, because it’s a philosophy that promotes balance and shared experiences while minimising waste and extravagance. Lagom: the Swedish Art of Balanced Living is a compact guide on how to introduce lagom into different aspects of our lives. Many lagom activities, such as pot-luck dinners, choosing functionality over fashion, or upcycling, are low-cost or sustainable practices that also encourage mindfulness and living in the present.
Plant-based foods and veganism are hot topics right now, with ideas such as Meatless Mondays and reducetarian / flexitarian eating (people who are committed to eating less meat, without becoming fully vegetarian or vegan) gaining traction. The Reducetarian Solution is a good introduction to this topic, with 70 short essays describing the wide-ranging consequences of eating meat – on health, environment, ethics, even finance. There are also recipes for meat-free meals and tips on how to sub-out meat from your current diet. The Reducetarian Solution offers positive yet non-judgmental inspiration for everyone interested in this lifestyle.
And finally – two super-topical bestsellers that are very much about mindful consumption:
Team Booko have recommended The Barefoot Investor several times now – but its powerful message is worth repeating. Scott Pape does not promise to help his readers become millionaires, but he does show us simple and achievable ways to develop good money habits and work towards financial independence. Whether you are 8 or 80, trying to shake off debts or saving for a goal, you can learn something from The Barefoot Investor. No wonder this has been Booko’s most popular book for two years running.
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
The recent Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has brought a whole new audience to Marie Kondo’s bestselling books. Shopping may be fun, but you can end up with too many possessions that weigh you down both physically and mentally. Simplify your life with the KonMari method of decluttering – systematically reviewing items and only keeping those that “spark joy”. You’ll feel great about yourself, gain new appreciation for the things you choose to keep, and kick that impulse buying habit as well.