The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

24 April 2007

Downshift today

21 to 27 April is National Downshifting Week. These were the 7 ways they suggested for slowing down and greening up:

1. Money: Cut up a Credit card
We are surrounded by the 'Buy Now, Pay Later' credit culture and have forgotten the value of our true earnings. Curb your debt and prevent future overspending by cutting up a credit card.
Mantra - The more money you spend, the longer you need to work to pay for it.
Remember - The very best things in life are free.

2. Time: Reclaim an hour of time this week
Everybody can claw back time pockets here and there. When you change your perspective on the best ways to spend it, a whole new world opens up. You don't need expensive gadgets, gizmos or toys with plugs on. What happened to hangman, board games, reading, talking and interacting as a family? We have simply forgotten how to do them.
Mantra - What's the point of a fortune, it you haven't the time to spend it?
Remember - The most important gift of all, is time.

3. Waste: Start composting or recycling
Running taps, bulging bin bags, lights left on - you might find yourself going automatically greener as your pace slows down. Composting is an easy one to get started with - coffee grinds, tea bags, veggie and fruit peelings will all turn into 'black gold' potting compost, ideal for your first spring plant out.
Mantra - Get a handle on refuse and energy use and watch your waste!
Remember - Landfill is one stroke away from land full

4. Giving: Donate time or things to a worthy cause
An incredible sense of contentment comes when you give something back to your community. Whether it's volunteering or donating at the local charity shop, or doing a bit of gardening in the hospice, you cannot imagine how much light you shine in the lives of those less fortunate.
Mantra - Make this your year to volunteer.
Remember - Kindness is infectious, give someone else the bug.

5. Food: Cook a simple meal using fresh local ingredients
Celebrate the fantastic revival of simple, wholesome dishes. Consider organic and free range too. Cooking from fresh is cheaper and can often be quicker than the processed options, with taste and health benefits beyond anything in a box. Relax if you don't have all the ingredients, substitute it or leave it out, but above all, enjoy putting your meal together.
Mantra - Peel it, chop it, stir it, stuff it, love it!
Remember - Ditch the fear and indulge the fun and fantasy of simple, home cooking.

6. Community: Purchase produce from a local shop
Through local shops and vibrant markets flows the lifeblood of our communities; they need our support more than ever before. By making one new purchasing decision each week, that favours local seasonal produce, you are helping to breathe new life into this precious resource.
Mantra - It's time to explore our super markets!
Remember - A high street without decent, local shops, is a street that's lost it's high.

7. Enjoy: Start doing something just for yourself
Have you ever wanted to unleash your concealed talents? With so many great ways to unwind your mind and simply feel good, it's just a question of giving yourself permission to have a go. Greetings card making, painting, gardening, am dram; whatever rings your inspirational bell, go ring it!
Mantra - There is a life outside of the commute.
Remember - How will you ever know what lies within, unless you make the time to scratch the surface?


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