Last year I set up The Less Is More Challenge to celebrate Earth Day. The challenge contained 10 simple suggestions to help people realise that really really simple changes to make all the difference to the Earth on which we live. It was a great success and will be even better and bigger for 2014. I have a dedicated blog to The Less Is More Challenge and would love you to take a look and even follow. Recently, I wrote a piece called A Less Is More Christmas – a view of Christmas in two ways, both through my eyes. A polished marketed Christmas Vs my Less Is More Christmas. It is funny when you sit back and read. And I can guarantee that you will appreciate both of my views!!
You can read it here.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas xx
The beautiful Winter Woodland scene is painted by Jessica Jenney
Yes, I have made it to the finals of The Blog Awards Ireland 2013. I was short listed for a few categories but made it to the final under the Best Science / Education Blog. I need to get a little greener for next year to make it into the Eco/Green category LOL., but I feel totally privileged to have made it to any category at all, even after only one year of blogging.
The Science / Education category is very strong and to be honest I haven’t a snow balls hope in hell of winning, but what it has done is made me concentrate even more on where my direction should be. I was a bit confused how I made it to this category and not the Eco/Green category, but I am sure the reasons will become clear to me. My goal is to educate the world that we can all make a difference in caring for our planet, and it can actually be a very pleasurable experience in doing so. I also want to become a really great children’s author in writing about Environmental Responsibility and getting children interested in the earth from a young age. So, I suppose, that is the educational aspect covered. I am also an earth scientist, so that is the science bit covered too!!
It is funny how things happen, but only on Monday I was walking the beach and I was thinking about another children’s book that explains about how science is pretty much everywhere. It was the waves breaking on the beach that made me think of this. Actually it is pretty hard core scientific stuff that goes into the process of what seems to be a simple wave breaking!
I always say that people are not to blame on the most part for a lack of urgency for the earths welfare, but it needs to come from the top down. It is education that will get people back into the swing of things again, and I hope to be at the fore front – educating the world about the Earth, the Environment and how to live with a positive, responsible attitude towards it. We all don’t need to become radicals, but just a little bit more conscious that the earth is also a living thing that needs a caring bunch living on her! Not some reckless teenagers (sorry teenagers you are not all reckless) – it’s time the responsible parents (sorry parents you are not all responsible) came home to stop the wild party…LOL but I hope you get what I mean 🙂
Wishing all the finalists the very best of luck 🙂
I am delighted and thrilled to have my blog make it onto the Blog Awards Ireland 2013 – Short List.
It is a lot of work maintaining a blog, similar to a small child, without the mess, but with the constant love and attention a small child needs to grow and flourish! Not only has my blog made it through in the Eco/Green category but also I have been nominated in the Lifestyle and Outdoors category! Yay, I just feel a little validated that yes people do like to read what I write. There was a time (during school) when I would just black out with the pressure of a class room, it was all too much and things just really didn’t make sense. I would have rather spent my time in my Dad’s shed building things and caring for all my animals. But, I got there in my own time and from my own struggles I have learned so much about the way children learn and why they are SOOO important in changing the future of our planet. This is why I am gunning for my dream of becoming a really great children’s author, specialising in teaching about the subjects that I feel I have a really deep and personal understanding – The Earth, Environment, Nature and Animals. I know I can have an effect on the parents that read the books too, it’s two for the price of one!
Looking forward to seeing what the future holds and if I make it to the ‘Final List’ – Oh the excitement…
Yes, it is finally here and I am finally set up to manage my own house-hold waste myself, on site and actually saving money in the process! Getting the house waste free organised and ready was tough and I still have lots to do, but as I said at the beginning this is a lifestyle and my whole house will need to row in behind me. Now I do have a very small tin trash can with a biodegradable (Earth Rated Dog Poop) bag – as the liner, just incase my family or visitors bring me some items that I have not planned for or cannot recycle!
To celebrate the start of this exciting venture for me and hopefully others will follow – saving tones of waste from landfill, I have a copy of ‘TRASHED’ the amazing film starring Jeremy Irons, to give away to one lucky winner.
All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is:
Go to My Waste Free Home’s Facebook page and LIKE it.
If you don’t care for Facebook then please leave me a message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure and keep checking my blog to find out all about my trials and tribulations, how much I am saving, the benefits of taking on a challenge like this to all of your family – bringing OUR waste problem HOME where we can show our children and others that we CAN do something positive to make a difference.
Funny how we forget – just what a feat it is to spin around on an axis, let rain sleet and snow fall from the skies, have molten rock erupt from the center of the earth and produce beauty beyond compare – I am very attractive!! (ha ha) I mean more like the flora and fauna but when you think about it humans are pretty beautiful too.
But we all seem to forget the massive need to KISS this amazing EARTH’s BUTT more than we do. As a mother she is pretty amazing, don’t you think? And, it’s probably the only butt kissing that will have all positive effects.
Why not take a look at the ways you can make a difference in small steps and check out The Less Is More Challenge Facebook page. Or, check out My Waste Free Home – for ways you can reduce your utility bills and trash you send to landfill.
I was lost for words and totally chuffed to pieces this morning when I went to have a peek at my interview for online magazine amia. Editor Jan totally had the element of surprise when I realised that I was Woman of the Month – Totally blown away and honored. Thank You to Jan and all the team at amia for this great recognition. It is sometimes really hard when you are sitting in front of a computer all alone, trying to get your thoughts into action. All the blood, sweat and tears that go into my work can sometimes feel to be in vein – because of the fact that I rarely meet the people I have an effect on it is difficult to see the change or the appreciation for my work. This major appreciation and recognition couldn’t have come at a better time! It is also like a very early birthday present as May is my birthday month and also one of my favourite months – so what better issue to be Woman of the month than May 🙂
amia magazine is a great read with lots of powerful stories that will inspire you, lots of fun things to do and healthy alternatives. The best thing is it is online so no magazine waste, but it is jam-packed with great reading!
THE MAY 2013 ISSUE:
WOMAN OF THE MONTH.
Each month we will profile “unsung heroes” – the kind of women who inspire others around them without realising it. Often, we will go “undercover” to do this as the women we profile will probably not see themselves as heroes. This is our chance to let them know they are.
Claire Lewis is a wife, mum, author and nature lover. She started Claire Lewis Co. to inspire people to connect more with the world in which they live. She set up the Less is More Challenge to coincide with Earth Day (22nd April) 2013 and to inspire people to think a little differently about their use of resources on that day and subsequently. Claire lives in Dublin and says that she was “born an earth scientist and will die an earth scientist” and that her goal is be one who has made a little difference
- Tell us a little bit about your life, lifestyle and interests……
“Going forward, I know that the earth, the environment and living in an environmentally responsible way will become more and more important. Teaching (rather than preaching to) people is why I started the Claire Lewis Company – Making it Cool To Care About the Environment. This is all about giving tips on how to start making small changes, plus ideas to reuse things and DIY projects to get you on your “Green Path”.
“My life is pretty hectic. I am married with a three year old daughter and two dogs. As well as doing my own work, I also work part time in an events company. My main focus in my life is on implementing ways I can make a difference, whilst educating my daughter too. Children follow your lead and I am hoping that she will develop this mentality of doing things with the earth in mind.”
- Tell us about the Less is More Challenge and where the idea came from?
The Less Is More Challenge was born out of a blog post that I wrote on March 30th (https://clairelewisco.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/less-is-more/) I was trying to stir up people’s thinking – to prompt them to think, “How did we get into the situation we have found ourselves in?”
The LESS IS MORE CHALLENGE asks people taking part to do as many of the following as possible:
1. Pack a lunch for work.
2. Use a reusable bottle for your water – Bobble Bottles are great for filtering as you go and are offering a discount during Earth Month.
3. Do not purchase Clothing for one day. But if you have to try and only purchase clothing that give back and make an effort to tackle environmental issues in the production of the product. I don’t think in one day you will in counter a fashion emergency!!
4. Swap a Chemical Based home cleaning product for an ECO alternative, two of my favourite companies are Lilly’s Eco Clean & Ecover.
5. Discover Terracycle and the ways you can help to “Eliminate the Idea of Waste”!
6. Buy local organic produce or pre think your shop for the week to reduce food waste.
7. Plant a Tree and/or a plant that native bee’s like.
8. Cycle to work or take public transport.
9. Watch the film HOME & film Trashed.
10. Just open your mind for one day to the little things you can do to instil change in our world globally.
“Knowing that Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd every year I worked towards setting a challenge that everyone could participate in. I love psychology and part of the challenge for me was trying to impact on every-day people, like my husband, who on a regular day wouldn’t stop to think about the earth, environment, climate change or their own role in all of these issues. So I devised the challenge to contain 10 suggestions that would have a positive impact on the environment – but would also be easily completed by those who took the challenge. I have learned that people will change and listen to what you have to say once you do it in a positive way. If you start preaching about all the negative stuff in the world, this will help no-one and will overwhelm people. This could impact on my drive and the cause would be doomed.”
“It is important to keep positive and strive towards each individual having a positive view of their environment, keeping informed and taking an active role in improving things. Hopefully, one day this will lead to a neutral or positive impact on the earth!”
- What were the main things you are hoping to achieve through the challenge?
“I set out with the view that if I had a positive impact on just one person that would be fantastic! Earth Day occurs once a year and if this one person took on the challenge and succeeded then maybe they might keep up one or two of the suggestions all year. Then when the Less Is More Challenge links to Earth Day 2014, who knows what that person will do to challenge themselves for the next year? For some people, it is a baby step process. There are others (like me) who were born with the switch firmly on, in the quest for the “perfect world” where people have a positive impact instead of all the currently negative ones.”
- What do you think the main successes have been so far?
“Well, I can safely say I have beaten my quota of one person – I have over 420 people taking the challenge via Facebook. The special thing for me is that I set the whole thing up three weeks before Earth Day and the response was amazing and speedy. I even had a school – Coachford College in Co. Cork, Ireland totally embrace the challenge. They even planted a tree in my challenge’s honour. The success was so great that I am building on creating an awareness so that The Less Is More Challenge can be actively completed every day and not just for Earth Day. I would like Earth Day to be more of a celebration of actively participating the whole year round! Imagine that! If my dream came true for this, it would be amazing.”
“I have also set up The Less Is More Schools Challenge, which has slightly different challenge suggestions. More tailored to the student lifestyle and environment. Students are always eager to learn ways that they can make a difference and this challenge is a great way for even one interested class to get the whole school involved.”
“Another great success for me was the eager involvement of big green brands, as I call them. Brands like Ecover, TerraCycle, Lilly’s Eco Clean and the film Trashed (starring Jeremy Irons) were all very supportive and eager to lend themselves, their products and their brands to get on board and create an awareness of The Less Is More Challenge.”
- How do you think more people can get involved in doing things that can make a positive difference to the world?
“To anyone looking to know “Where do I start?” I would say – go online and get searching for blogs, and companies to give you pointers about how to get involved. If people do not actively think about the earth, they will have no idea about all the debates, the hot topics and ideas, how to make changes, etcetera. My company (Claire Lewis Co) is just one example of the type of company I am talking about – I set it up with the view of ‘Making it Cool to Care About the Environment.” I I blog regularly about a whole lot of ways to help you start to personally make a change. I believe that it is not necessarily people’s fault if they do not actively think about the environment on a daily basis – it should be a learned behaviour so should be taught in schools and encouraged by governments and employers.”
“Just like brushing your teeth, 99.9% of people do this on twice a day because we were taught to do so when young to keep our teeth in good condition. Well let’s start teaching that the earth is like our teeth – we need to care for it at least twice a day!”
- What are some of the main things that you think can get in the way of this?
“I find that most people do care about the welfare of the earth and the environment – they just have not learned that their own active involvement means a lot. Similar to my tooth brushing example, we just need to recondition people’s mind-sets and things will change. More people will begin to ask questions and demand answers. For example, we are all brain- washed by large multinationals who for years have marketed products in such a way that allowed them to become market dominant brands. These brands may not have very good environmental practices or be good for the consumers. What we need are consumers who will go to the till and ask questions, such as: –
“How is this manufactured?”
“How am I supposed to know what these ingredients when I am not a scientist?”
“How are your employees treated when they make this product?”
“Why do you use toxic chemicals and how do you dispose of them?”
“People are busy – sometimes governments need to manage what companies are selling. We need to a greater emphasis on greener products and services and this must be government led.”
- Which people have inspired you to want to make a difference?
“The main people to inspire me are Ecopreneur & TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky; Virgin boss Richard Branson and of course my husband Daniel Lewis! These guys are super positive and have “can do” attitudes – they are also not afraid of failing. I also just have this overwhelming urge to follow my passion which concerns all things to do with the Earth!”
- What do you say to those people who say, “It’s too late” or “What difference can I make?”
“I would tell them my snowflake story and let them make up their own minds:
Each tiny snowflake is as individual as you are – beautiful, intricate designs as unique as your finger prints. Some are smaller than others and some bigger. Collectively the snowflakes fall from the sky and can cover continents. But imagine if each tiny snowflake said, “Oh no, I can’t fall from the sky – I am so tiny that I will not make a difference?”
- Where do you get your own drive from to keep your quest going?
“I think it’s a combination of traits. I come from a working class family – my dad worked and my mum stayed at home and was very environmentally friendly without even knowing it. I learned a lot from her and she is also an incredibly hard working person. My dad was very good with his hands and he was always in his shed, working and maintaining things. He was also the one who nurtured my love for animals. We always had a dog and he even bought us chickens, which I was in charge of – of course!”
There was always a huge emphasis on education in my home and we were encouraged to do what we enjoyed in college. I loved school but I really, really had to work my little cotton socks off and for that I am very pleased. This gave me my steely determination and dedication – without this trait I think success would be difficult.”
- What are your hopes for the future?
“Where do I start? I have so many! My main area of focus is on writing children’s books. I want to be a successful children’s author, planting tiny little seeds in children’s minds and growing into full on love affairs with the earth and environment around them. I know I have plenty of material for this task – it’s all running around in my head just waiting to explode. I am just waiting for my first book ‘The Soother Cycle’ to be released so I can see where this takes me.”
“I want to grow The Less Is More Challenge into a very successful awareness campaign that gets results worldwide. I also want to focus on getting into schools as this is a major area where we can improve the level of practical knowledge our young students have to go out into the world and so they know what steps they can take to make their lives more environmentally responsible.”
“I have just undertaken the Live Below The Line Challenge where I will need to live on €1.19 for 5 days and within that budget, cover all my eating and drinking costs!! I think I may be the only person in Ireland doing this challenge and I love getting people to think, “Wow, I wonder what that is and could I give it a go?”
“There are a few other projects that I am working on at the moment that all centre around getting people involved in living environmentally responsibly and having a positive affect on the earth. So keep tuned in and follow my blog for more J”
Email me: email@example.com
The first Earth Day of 1970 was filled with anti-war sentiment and planet conscious
festivities. Every year on April 22nd, people across the globe come together to celebrate and
appreciate the earth for its many wonders.
The picture to the left is University of Mary Washington on Earth Day, April 22nd 2013.
This year, I wanted to celebrate earth day by reducing my use of plastics and avoid
buying products with excessive packaging. Clearly, doing this for only one day is not effective
so I set my challenge in place on Earth Day and have stuck with my challenge thus far. The
first day, I had to focus and pay attention to everything I bought or used throughout my day (it
is a challenge, right?). However, even after one week, I find myself bringing my reusable bags
everywhere and asking for ceramics instead of plastic cups at coffee shops. I am happy to report
that I am approaching full-awareness of all the plastic that I would be using every day.
Besides being more conscious of all of the plastic and packaging wastes that can accrue
even after one day, this Earth Day, I focused on how others celebrated Earth Day in my current
city of Fredericksburg, VA. After talking with some friends, I found some common trends.
Walking instead of driving, eating lunch outside, shopping with reusable bags, and avoiding
shopping were among the top answers. After this, I wanted to see how my community as a
whole celebrated Earth Day by taking a walk around the town to see if I noticed anything in
celebration of Earth Day. I found some banners and signs that said, “Butts are Litter Too: Keep
Fredericksburg Litter Free”. This sign was a great reminder that even small things like cigarette
butts have no place in the environment and should be disposed of properly.
As I wanted to learn more about how residents of my community were celebrating Earth
Day, I visited my regional libraries (Rappahannock Regional Library and English Run Library),
where I was lucky enough to talk with the Adult Services Coordinator, Michele Brown, and two
authors of the recently published book Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the
World, David and Janet Carle, about the importance of Earth Day:
“Is the recognition of Earth Day important to you?”
Michele- “Yes, I actually remember the very first Earth Day I had in high school,
specifically. I was allowed to walk to school instead of riding the bus. This was the only day out
of the year we were allowed to do this!”
David- “Yes, I think it is very important and powerful that people are taking the time
to mark environmental issues, this is special. It is especially helpful when places and people
celebrate Earth Day the entire week.”
“Is the recognition of Earth Day important for the city of Fredericksburg
specifically? If so, in what way?”
Michele- “ Yes for Fredericksburg, it is important. We have many beautiful natural
resources that we must preserve.”
Janet- “It is universally important. For Fredericksburg, the Rappahannock River is so
closely tied that it is vital. We even wrote about the Rappahannock River and river preservation
efforts in our book.”
“What is one thing that you have done in honor of Earth Day in order to be more
David- “Writing our book! Also, we both had park ranger careers which allowed us to
work with educating children on Earth day.”
“Is there a specific issue you would like to promote in honor of Earth Day?”
Michele- “Yes! Out global garbage situation is not pleasing. We have so much waste and
packaging wastes that we just don’t know what to do with. This problem is a national issue.”
David- “Yes, awareness of water and sustainability should be addressed. We all need a
better understanding of resources values.”
Janet- “ Yes, I think we all need to focus more on long term rather than short term
sustainability. Global sustainability is key.”
From my findings, I think the messages are very clear and honest. We are a global
community as inhabitants of the earth. Although April 22nd is the designated day to celebrate the
earth, we should try to understand Earth Day as every day. Now, this is where we turn to you,
what will you do to make Earth Day every day? Thinking about your everyday impacts is the
first step. The earth will surely thank you.