October may not seem the most exciting month- nights get longer, the breeze feels a little cooler, and Halloween takes over almost everything on our High streets and in our supermarkets. But it can actually be a very green month, with environmental events in October drawing attention to a number of good causes which are easy to get involved with. Why not use this October to make some positive changes which could change make a difference in your life, the lives of others and the environment around us?
We are all well aware of the harmful effects smoking can have on the body, and the habit also has a negative impact on the environment. Since 2012, thousands of people in the UK have pledged to give up smoking for 28 days in October. Giving up smoking is a huge challenge which defeats many, but knowing that you aren’t alone in your struggle can be huge motivation. Along with this, Stoptober, send regular motivational messages and issue a support pack at the beginning of the month.
According to Stoptober’s research, you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking for good if you are able to quit for 28 days, so if you’re a smoker who wants to quit, taking part could be the first big step to a smoke-free life.
To have a go, or look for support on how you can give up smoking for the benefit of both yourself and the environment, visit www.stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk
Go Sober for October
A health and wellbeing-related cause, “Sober for October” is a great way of dedicating a month to being healthier, clear-headed and saving money. Sober for October is organised by Macmillan Cancer Support, so as well as bringing yourself all the benefits of a sober month, you can gain support and sponsorship which can help those who have been affected by cancer.
The alcohol industry, like any large industry, has a huge impact on our environment, with farming, brewing, bottling and transport all contributing a high level of carbon emissions. Alcohol is also expensive, and a regular drinker will often spend over £2000 a year on alcohol alone.
In terms of health, any excessive drinking is unhealthy and can contribute to problems ranging from dry skin to liver disease. Whilst alcohol in small amounts can be healthy, enjoyable and reduce stress, spending a month sober is a great way to clear your head and could even lead to you becoming fitter or more productive. For an extra environmental twist, try using the money you save from not drinking to experiment with some delicious new organic ingredients, some house plants to bring fresh air to your home or a new eco gadget to help you live more efficiently.
International Vegetarian Month
October 1st is Vegetarian Awareness Day, which kick starts a whole month of promotion of vegetarianism around the world. For those who have been considering making the change for a while, October is a great chance to start, with plenty of resources available to mark the time of year. Try giving up, or even just decreasing the amount of meat you eat for October to help decide if you could give up for good. There is a huge range of reasons why vegetarianism is better for the environment, and going without meat for one day a week is enough to make a difference, so try taking October as an opportunity to have a go and see if vegetarianism could be right for you.
International Day of Climate Action
One of the biggest events of the year for promoting environmental action takes place in October, with a number of days of action planned between October 11th and November 11th. Around the world, events take place to increase awareness and place pressure on the politicians who have the power to make a change. Supporters have adopted the number 350 as their emblem (the number of parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that is safe for humans) and it is used to represent he whole movement and its work. Events include everything from protests on the streets to tree planting, large-scale dancing and even snowboarding and hiking events, the most notable probably being a banner of the number 350 being unfurled on top of the tallest mountain in Antarctica!
Use the International Day of Climate Action as an opportunity to make your own change for the environment and encourage those around you to join in. It could be anything from signing or starting a petition to a local MP for changes to environmental practice in your area, to pledging to give up meat, recycle more or start growing your own vegetables. Sometimes, we need a day to remind us of the importance of climate change, and a set day dedicated to the cause makes it much easier for us all to do our part.
Image sourced: 350.org