21 little ways to change the world in 2021

Green, Nature, Holidays with more heart

Posted by Kate W on 7th December 2020

Newquay view - little ways to change the world

As part of our Holidays with more Heart series, we are raising awareness of responsible travel and partnering with companies and groups with similar initiatives in place. We've also spent more and more time considering what we can do on a smaller scale, in our day-to-day lives, to make this world a kinder place to live.

Responsible days out, connecting with those around us, and even doing a bit of gardening are all easy ways to take care of our immediate surroundings and the planet as a whole. 

If you're wondering what you could do this year to have a positive effect on the world around you, and aren't quite sure where to begin, take a peek through this list. We've covered a few better-known daily tasks that you could work into your routine and a few more unique ways you could be kind to the planet and to others around you.

For inspiration of where to stay on a socially responsible holiday, investigate our collection of holiday cottages that are eco-conscious - each with a special way to lessen your carbon footprint while travelling. 

'Kind to the planet'

Read our collection of thoughts and ideas to be inspired by all the little ways you could change the world in 2021. 

Find a water bottle you'll get lots of use out of and ditch the single-use plastics

1. The plastic problem...

Incredibly, only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are recycled. All plastics that end up in landfill or in our seas take up to 1,000 years to decompose, so opt for refills, reusable and recyclable items where possible. 

If you're keen to reduce your plastic waste, you could take on our challenge to go plastic-free while on holiday. 

2. Think twice before buying a new item of clothing.

The fast-fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits of global pollution. It takes about 7,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans and, on average, a woman wears an item of clothing just seven times before throwing it away, so think carefully before you buy a new pair of jeans or a jacket. 

To make the clothes you wear even more socially conscious, join the Marine Conservation Society's campaign #StopOceanThreads, which calls for microfibre filters to be fitted in all new washing machines, preventing microplastics from clothes entering our oceans.

3. Plan a day of meals with no waste.

Over a third of all food produced globally goes to waste so try and plan ahead for a day of zero waste. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

A beach clean is a great excuse for a family day on the sand

4. Pick up three pieces of litter today.

It’s estimated that 1.9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. We can’t stop others from littering, but we can minimise the amount that ends up polluting our environment with litter picking. 

There are always litter picking events going on across the UK, perfect for those who want to contribute, get outside, and keep fit - a wonderful way to litter pick is to get involved in a beach clean.

5. Bring your own coffee cup to the coffee shop.

A whopping 70% of the world’s paper still comes from diminishing forests, and not from plantations or recycling. Reusing and recycling are excellent but preventing overuse of our planet’s resources is better.

6. Plant a tree or shrub.

Why not make gardening your New Year's Resolution? 1.5 acres of forest are cut down every second and it’s estimated that in 100 years there’ll be no rainforests left, so simply by planting one tree, you'll be making a contribution to the future.

7. Support and stay local. 

Shopping locally helps reduce the air miles used during transport of your products and can provide valuable support to small business in your local community. Holidaying locally and responsibly can have the same effect as you can shop at UK high streets and discover new, small, local brands you might otherwise never have known about. 

Read more of how to love where you stay so locals can love where they live. 

Seal in ScotlandYou could support a cause you care about, like the Marine Conservation Society - they protect our seas and the creatures that live there. 

8. Support a cause you care about.

There are so many remarkable charities out there doing amazing work, but none of it would be possible without the support of volunteers and donations. Give your time as a volunteer or join as a member - our partners at the RSPB and at the Marine Conservation Society both offer a membership pack and magazine subscription so you can see how you're supporting important natural habitats across the UK and the world. 

9. Change a light bulb.

Don’t allow old lightbulbs to waste energy. Change lightbulbs regularly and you’ll save money by using less electricity: if you go so far as to swap to LEDs you might even be able to save over £200 a year.

10. Go vegetarian for a day.

A vegetarian lifestyle can cut your carbon footprint in half and the best time to try new things is while on a relaxing holiday, so why not give it a go on your next getaway? You don’t give up meat altogether if you don't want to; simply going veggie one day a week will have a huge impact.

Get outside and switch off

11. Switch off for an hour a day.

Get away from the electrical appliances and interact with those immediately around you; it's critical for your own mental health, will save you money on electricity bills and goes a little way to saving the planet. Even when in stand-by mode, an appliance continues to use about 85% of its energy so switch it off completely.

12. Try car sharing on your way to work or into town.

If you know of a colleague who lives nearby or on your route to work, offer to give them a lift every day or simply a couple of times a week and you could get some socialising in before your day begins. 

You might be able to organise a car share where you take alternate turns driving, which would save on petrol, or happen to be meeting a friend in town and could offer them a lift - a great way to lessen the amount of emissions going into the atmosphere. 

13. Pay a stranger a compliment.

Especially useful if you are feeling down as giving a compliment forces you to think about those around you instead. When meeting for coffee or chatting to the cashier, give a sincere compliment to build trust and cheer up the recipient - it’s likely you’ll get a compliment in return.

14. Donate any old clothes or toys to a charity shop.

Millions are raised every year for good causes by charity shops and their patrons. It’s a great way to ensure your unnecessary items are going to a good home instead of ending up in landfill - you can even donate large items like old furniture, bikes, and electricals.

15. Say no to plastic carriers.

After the 5p charge was introduced on the plastic bag, England’s usage dropped 85%. However, some countries have already banned the use of plastic bags altogether, so if you're in that remaining 15%, why not pick up a beautiful reusable shopper for your next trip to the market?

For more ideas on ways to reduce waste, take a read through our blog post full of sustainable swaps for travellers. 

16. Buy three food items to donate to a food bank.

More and more of us are being forced to use foodbanks after finding ourselves in tricky situations, so when doing your supermarket shop, buy dinner for someone who desperately needs it. You never know, one day you might find yourself or someone you know in a similar situation.

17. Send a letter to a friend instead of a text.

You know that feeling of receiving a special card from someone who’s taken the time to write and post it to you personally? Don’t wait for Christmas or a birthday; send them a note any time to make them feel special.

18. Write a letter to someone poorly.

The same goes for those who aren’t feeling 100%. Send a letter to cheer up a friend or to make a stranger’s day! For example, with Post Pals, you can send a letter to a child who’s in hospital and a few words of encouragement may make all the difference.

Early morning at Kelly Hill Tarn in the Lake District

19. Take the time to appreciate the sunrise and sunset.

Admiring a sunrise or a sunset can have huge positive effects on your mental health, not to mention, the colours of a sunset are ever-changing with each going down of the sun as unique as a fingerprint. For a special adventure, why don't you seek out the rare phenomenon of the double sunset

For some inspiration, take a look at the winners of our competition: The World Cup of Sunsets 

20. Don’t complain about ANYTHING for 24 hours.

We’ve all been on the other end of someone’s bad day or know that one person who can turn everything into a complaint. Well, don’t be that friend. Instead, resolve to see the bright side and you might help others to see it too. 

21. Be kind to yourself.

Treat yourself like your own best friend. You wouldn’t do a friend down for making a mistake, so why tell yourself off? You can’t save the world if you’re feeling down so spend time taking care of yourself in order to better care for those around you.

Small steps for changing the world

So, there you have it. A whole range of small ways anyone can make a big difference.

You could ditch disposable bottles, plant a tree, or buy dinner for a stranger. How do you plan to change the world this year? Let us know!

Responsible travel

Responsible travel

At holidaycottages.co.uk, we are working towards becoming more environmentally responsible and socially conscious by supporting causes we believe in. One of the ways we are doing this is by helping the RSPB to fund the vital restoration of over 100 hectares of coastal habitats and the regeneration of 80,000 square metres of native woodland in the UK. This will provide homes for wildlife, store carbon to protect the climate and strengthen the forest for future generations.

Another way we enjoy making a difference as a company is through our charity days – which alongside raising money are great fun too! Take a look at how we've donated a day and it may spark other ideas of ways you could help out this year.

Eco cottages: Vivianna (top left), The Beach Huts (top right), Bryn Canaid (bottom)

If you're considering a UK break, explore our collection of holiday cottages that are kind to the planet. Whether by making use of fallen oaks during the building process, adding solar panels or a rainwater collection system, or adding a special treat like a wood-fired hot tub, each of these properties has something special to offer guests looking to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Eco-conscious cottages

We've curated a unique portfolio of rural retreats where you can soak up the natural beauty of the UK. Uncover a remarkable selection of holiday properties in our Showcase Collection: Closer to Nature.

Closer to Nature

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.