Challenge 5 – A Green Ethos

Challenge 5 – A Green Ethos

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Hello again green beings! Happy to have you back.

Spring has sprung, well and truly, hasn’t it? And summer is humming in the nearby distance. Shades of green are colouring the palette of the planet and even shades of pastel pinks and purples are streaking the skies as the Aurora Borealis waves wisps of light above us in hello. Mother Nature herself is gathering round to check in on us.

How’s #NoMowMay coming along? Is your lawn growing wild and free? Can you hear bees buzzing by and see butterflies swooping? Have you lost your cat to the throng of overgrowth, nothing but the mere tip of his tail protruding from the thrush? If so, bravo. We’re so pleased you’re letting biodiversity thrive, encouraging pollinators to stop by.

Alongside last month’s continuing challenge, this month is themed around, well, ourselves; Ethos. Specifically, the latest issue of Ethos magazine: Ethos 20, which was released just last month. A magazine crammed full of good stories about good people and their good businesses, doing a whole lot of good for the world. Some of those stories were especially green. This month’s challenges are based on those green features of the magazine.

If you want to get a head start on the challenges and receive a whole heap more goodness from the mag, you can get your copy of Ethos 20 here.

Otherwise, it’s over to you. Time to go paint the town green. 

1. Visit a local green space

On page 44 of Ethos you’ll find the spread entitled; the colours of a microeconomy. The largest portion of those colours – is green. 

Platt Fields Market Garden is an outdoor space within the concrete walls of the bustling city of Manchester. It’s a burst of green amongst the grey. Created by two Mancunian siblings, Jo and Sam Payne, and their social enterprise Manchester Urban Diggers (MUD; how on theme) – the intent? “Getting more people connected with both nature and their food, whilst hanging out together. It’s about being generally healthy and happier – at the same time as looking after our environment,” says Jo. 

In Platt Fields, you’ll find MUD kitchen, mushroom growing and forest workshops, pottery events, mental health projects, and a stream of friendly and eco-friendly volunteers, helping to ensure this space remains a hub for community, for conversation, for all things green. 

Now, not all of us are local to Manchester. Not all of us have a market garden on our grassy doorstep. But the chances are, wherever you are, there’s a patch of green waiting to be seen. Maybe that’s an urban park or a nearby duck pond, a garden centre or a public footpath winding through several ploughed fields. If you can, make a plan this month to visit somewhere green as often as you’re able to – swap an hour of your time inside, for an hour beneath the sky.

Take some sandwiches. Bring a book. Walk for half an hour. Pack your journal. Have a mindful moment in the great outdoors, because we’ll tell you a little secret; it’s great.

But, if even those kinds of peaceful places are inaccessible, there are still things you can do to bring the outside, inside:

  • House plants!!!!!!!!!  Need we say more?
  • Play some nature sounds. There are a billion and one videos on YouTube of waves crashing, fires crackling and birds twittering away. Close your eyes, press play, and let your mind be immersed in nature, even if physically, you can’t be.
  • Grow some indoor herbs. Things still blossom even when bound between four walls – you and your Basil can, too.
  • Watch some nature documentaries. Springwatch begins at the back end of May. Try out Planet Earth, 1, 2, and the rest. And if you’re feeling like opening the floodgates, then My Octopus Teacher is a good watch through tear-streaked vision. 
  • Open the window! If you can’t go for a walk in the fresh air, then let the fresh air saunter in to you. And possibly a couple daddy long-legs. 

2. Get sexy outside

For any parents peering over your shoulder as you read this; no, we’re not encouraging a roll in the hay or a naturist’s cuddle in the sand (think of the chafing!). When we say “get sexy outside” we mean, rub up against Mother Nature, perv on flowers, hug trees and maybe caress the bark a little. We mean what The Green Book feature, on page 89 of Ethos, means. 

Meet; the Ecokamasutra. Created by Agency for Nature, this Kamasutra reimagining is a way to spur young people on to connect with the natural world in a new, sexier, manner. 

“The Earth’s surface is textured for your pleasure… Arch your feet to meet the soil’s gentle curves. Notice every satisfying lump and bump and ridge. Shuffle back and forth. Dig your heels deeper, and deeper still.” Snippets from the book, and instruction for potential ecosexuals.

Because before nature was a mother, she was a lover. And we’re a lover of her work. Which is why, this month, not only are we encouraging you to get out into green spaces, but we’re winking in your direction and around a smirk, we’re saying, “whilst you’re out there, frolic in a bush.” Get weird with it. Wait until nobody’s around and then admire the very ground. Here’s a couple other things you can try:

  • Blow some dandelions – spread that seed far and wide!
  • Rub petals across your lips – textures are a type of ASMR, and the feel of a soft petal against your skin will induce all the tingles.
  • Drag your fingers through wet soil – squeeze it, poke it, stroke it.
  • Feel dew against your toes – let them wriggle in the damp grass.
  • Flirt with the dirt – sounds weird, but romance the ground you walk on, why not?

“Coming out as an ecosexual is as easy as coming outside.” Give it a try. Fly that green flag high.

3. Do something good for the soil

Now that you’ve felt the soil, it’s probably time to buy it breakfast. Or feed it compost. 

On page 123 of Ethos 20 is a column by environmentalist and Eden Project programme creator,  Dan Ryan, discussing the brilliance of soil. He reminds us that soils endlessly cycle nutrients, carbon and water,  riddled with life and decomposing the dead. And yet, for some reason, we treat soil like dirt. 

“We mine soils of their riches, poison them with unpronounceable chemicals, dig them, drain them and batter them about.” A brown galaxy, teeming with living beings, each one contributing to the welfare of the planet and its people – and yet we’re treading all over it! 

Well, no more. Today, we’re learning new ways of protecting and reviving the Earth beneath our feet, beyond the macro-changes of agricultural practices – that’s largely out of our green-fingered hands. But that doesn’t mean we, as individuals, at home and in our gardens, can’t make a small but mighty impact. 

If you have a garden, or access to allotments or  community greenery in need of volunteers, or maybe your grandad needs a hand preening his, here’s what you can do to help:

  • Fork and dig through the soil, loosening it to remove weeds and debris.
  • Feed it plenty of organic matter and compost, which helps with drainage and aeration for dense soil, and conserves moisture in lighter soil.
  • Mulch! This is essentially a layer of material on top of the soil, used to reduce water loss around the plant, provide nutrients, suppress weeds and warm up soil. It can be a layer of bark, or wood chippings, your garden compost and even seaweed! Seaweed!
  • Try worm composting. It’s your standard kitchen waste compost, with a wormery of worms clinging to it. That’s right. A wormery. A brewery is for brewing, a wormery is for worming. 

4. Rescue food

Our cover story for this issue of Ethos is based on the food rescuing service, Too Good to Go. “Too Good To Go is a certified B Corp social impact company, on a mission to inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste together.” And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

So far, they’ve rescued over 300 million meals from the 155,000 food-based businesses that utilise their services, helping those foods to find a home with one of their 90 million registered users. Think, a bag of unsold pastries from Caffe Nero sold to you at lower than retail prices, meaning they’ve avoided their untimely end AND you’ve bagged yourself a tasty treat for cheaper. All through the use of their Too Good to Go app. Their service truly is too good to go – this business is for keeps.

So, this month, why not download the app? It’s free and you don’t have to sell your soul for a Buddha bowl, you can simply take it for a spin whilst you browse for your din. 

In a rush on the way home and don’t have time to cook tea? Check the app – there’s a meal for that. Feeling snackish but you don’t know exactly what you want? Check the app – there’s a surprise bag for that. Overcome with the desire to prevent unsold but perfect quality foods from being lobbed into the bin, whilst also supporting business growth AND saving money on said quality foods yourself? 

Check the app – it was built for that. 

5. What’s your ethos?

  1. 43. 84. 99. Those are all the pages in Ethos 20, where the question “what’s your ethos?” has been asked of several contributors to the magazine. Most answers are tailored to the ethos behind their good business, but in this case, for this month’s set of challenges, we’re asking you – in terms of wanting to better the planet by making tiny and sustainable green changes – what’s your ethos?

You don’t have to tell us (though feel free to let us know on social media! You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at @ethos_mag), but for this challenge, tell yourself. 

Grab some paper and a green-ink pen – and write. Ask yourself, what is it that motivates you? Is it protecting the planet for future generations? It is undoing the damage caused by our species? Is it for animal welfare, for environmental growth, for peace of mind? All of the above? Something else? There’s no wrong answer here.

You’re going green, you’re doing good, you’re making these tiny swaps that are stacking into monumental environmental changes. The what’s and the how’s, we’ve got those covered together. The why is your business. But sometimes knowing it, understanding the ethos behind our endeavours, helps to define them. 

So, challengers. What’s your ethos? Is it green?

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