Psychologies works with selected partners who pay to promote their products and services. Learn More

Small steps to living more sustainably

Living sustainably not only looks after the world, but looks after me and my community.

Small steps I have taken this week to living more sutainably:

In the garden

I’ve ordered some organic bluebells ordered to plant for the spring and the early insects.

I’m reading ‘The One Straw Revolution’ which is all about doing less to grow more (my kind of planting).  As well as being a way of growing veg, it is also a way of living and is very Zen in it’s approach of trying something, watching, learning and seeing what the land teaches us. I’m going to have a go at this approach next year.

That book really recommends planting white clover which, I’ve learned, is a natural fertiliser. So the idea is you plant it with your grass and not only does it attract bees and other insect when it flowers, but it also feeds the soil and you can plant through it  as it supresses the weeds and fertilizes whatever you are growing.

So I’m going to let more of my garden go wild next year and be an ark for birds and insects and the other small creatures I occassionally see in there.  I want to make a sign that says ‘My garden is an ark’ as the website suggests to try and encourage people locally to do the same.

As I’m starting to understand, if I let more of the garden be an ark and if I plant white clover amongs the grass and ‘weeds’ that are already there, then the ground should be ready for planting some veg next year.  Let’s see.  One step at a time.

In the house

My Naked Sprout toilet roll arrived and the kids complained as it isn’t bleached white.  But it is 100% organic, sutainably sourced and it is very soft. Did you know that ‘normal’ loo roll, as well as being wrapped in plastic (this stuff comes in cardboard which is printed with soya ink) uses environmentally harmful chemicals to get the colour we are used to?  Every box I buy, they give a donation to the charity ‘Just a Drop’ and I could get a discount if I subscribed.

My first full Smol delivery of clothes and dishwasher tablets arrived. I decided I had ordered too much and it was dead easy to go into the site and change the frequency of delivery and therefore cost.

I did my first meter reading for Octopus which was easy and almost (weirdly) a pleaure to do because it was so instant and I could see how my usage compared to last month (sad I know!)  Also, it was nice to see the £50 in my account because I came through someone’s recommendation link and to know they also got £50.  It’s like word of mouth which I really like.

I’ve discovered Coffee Logs which are a fuel for fires, made out of used coffee grounds.  They apparently burn longer and hotter than wood and of course are using up a waste resource rather than using other fuels so I’ve emaield them to see if they would do bulk orders for my neighbours and I and asked for a sample bag.

I’ve also looked at replacing my old wood burning stove for something more efficient, but it’s quite a lot of money so I’m not sure on that one.  I’m going to ask wiser people what they think about the cost/benefits of replacing what I have.

I’ve got in touch with a local company (recommended by a friend…word of mouth again) about solar and other sustainable forms of energy for the house.

I’ve started composting again, putting all my old veg peelings etc on what is left of a compost heap in the garden.

I only ate meat twice this week and then very small portions.  I am failing at getting the kids to eat very much veggie stuff so today I’m going to make dhal which at least one of them will eat.

In the community

I did my food shopping on foot, in the shops in the village and so bought only what I needed, didn’t drive and supported local shops who sell locally produced food.

I also supported our local farm shop, local independent book shop and local wholefood cooperative all of whom I love not only because of their products, but because they know what they are talking about.  Booka knows their books and can recommencd for the kids and I (they offer a postal service if you don’t live nearby you can phone and ask and they will help.)  Honeysuckle are a co-operative which I love and again, they know so much about their products and how to live more sustainably that shopping there is also about learning and sharing ideas.

I bought my first bamboo toothbrush from Honeysuckle and actually, it doesn’t feel as strange as I thought it would.  Again, I have failed at persuading the kids to move away from plastic…but these are small steps.

I’ve signed a petition to ask that menstrual products (eg tampon applicators) are plastic free.

I had a thank you email from Trees for Life for my donation which made me smile.

The local community council has agreed to let me go and talk about trees and hydro when they are meeting again (could be a while with covid.)

I am still driving too much.  I could actually get to work on an electic bike I think, if I had one, but most of the trips I do are with the kids and so I can’t imagine giving them a backy to the bus stop and back!


I am loving the Outrage and Optimism podcast; it is witty, informed and fun.

This facebook group is great for practical ideas and it is convened by Isabel Losada who wrote The Joyful Environmentalist which I really recommend you buy through Booka or your own independent bookshop if you want to own it, or ask you local library to get it in for you (they need support too).

Next steps;

  • See if there is any interest in a local sustainability group
  • Look at how I can cut back on driving so much.  One of the downsides of living in a village is that we all use cars so much.
  • Amazon. Hmm. Taxes. Hmm.  I haven’t bought anything off Amazon for 18 months now on ethical groups but then I sell some of my books through there.  I haven’t found an ethical, on-line publisher that does what they do…but need to keep looking..any ideas welcomed
  • Find food the kids will eat instead of meat at least once a week.
  • Ask my pension company where they are investing my pension…I would hate to find out I was ‘accidentally’ investing in the arms trade or Monsanto.

Feeling good

You know, although I clearly have more steps to go, I feel so good for the small steps I’m taking.  It makes me feel like I can make a difference to climate change even though I am just one small person.  I am controlling my controllables more and more and if we all did that a little bit more then change would happen.

Also I’m learning loads (I hadn’t even thought that my teachers pension could be supporting fossil fuels, logging, arms…it might not be…but I had never even thought that it could be so I’m going to ask.)  I feel more informed about things.

Taking account of the small steps is really important too, just noticing what I have changed and am doing, gives me energy to do more.

Then there’s all the great on-line, Honeysuckle, converations with friends and neighbours I’m having, where we share what we know and tips and ideas.  I love that sense of community and problem solving.

I honestly do think (and the research shows) that our mental health is completely affected by our environment, and of course, physically, if we destroy our world, we destroy ourselves. Looking after the world bit by bit, feels like small steps in self-care, global care and care for all the other humans and creatures I share the world with.

Which makes me smile.

And now for breakfast.

Have a good week.



Julie Leoni

Julie Leoni

Coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Yoga and psychology teacher, learner

I have over 30 years of experience and qualification in various therapeutic and meditation/mindfulness based approaches. I work with change. Some changes we chose, others happen to us.  Sometimes we know we want to change but don't know how. Sometimes we don't want to change but external events or people are forcing us to change. The menopause, children leaving home, the end of a relationship or job, becoming a parent, coming out, bereavement are just some of the personal changes I support people with. I also work with people who want to make changes to their life and wider world in response to social issues such as Covid, the climate crisis and racial, sexual and gender inequalities. Times are changing whether we want them to or not and we need to be nimble, agile, curious and open in order to part of the new story emerging. Work with me to get clear on what matters to you, what makes your heart sing and what kind of future you want for yourself and those you love. It is possible to live differently, get in touch to explore how.

Show all articles