centre for education, wellness and sustainability

@The Old Cook House, Donaghcloney

What can I do?

This is an interesting question. Its easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of the many issues confronting us at present.


  • Acknowledge that you care about these issues, let yourself feel overwhelmed and scared for future generations, for other beings from the ones you can’t see in the soil to the ones high in the sky.
  • Consider what is important to you?
    • For us the answer was time with family and friends
    • Knowing that the future is bright and full of possibility for future generations
    • Working on something we believe in > something that will benefit more than just ourselves
  • Ask – how am I impacting the environment and others (not just humans) who live on the planet?
  • Aim for zero-waste not recycling* – Small steps make it feel possible.
  • Consider where your food, fashion, entertainment, toys, furniture, white goods come from and what it is made from. Will it have been air-freighted in? What resources were used in its manufacture? Did the creation of this item likely contribute to pollution or carbon emissions somewhere? This one is a hard one. Consider if you really need it or just want it. Can you manage without it?
  • Consume less; less everything as it takes energy to make anything, having less and using less it essential to reducing our impact.
  • Start asking questions of yourself, of others, of manufactures, of politicians.
  • Make time to learn about the issues and to change habits.
  • Much of what we need to change and learn is a resurgence of old-fashioned values.

*Zero waste not recycling because recycling is not as good as we have been led to believe. For example, it is not always recycled but shipped to other countries to bury or burn. Plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times. If it isn’t clean it can’t be recycled. If it has this symbol on it: ….. that doesn’t mean you can recycle it, only that the manufactures offset their pollution.

Host Community Conversations which discuss the following types of questions:

  • How to responsibly meet our need for energy, water and shelter
  • How to make our homes more energy efficient (retrofit)
  • How to transfer from oil to alternatives and what are the alternatives
  • How to make the best use of renewables (what renewable to use, in what combination, how to make them affordable for everyone)
  • How to travel with the least impact on the environment
  • How to produce less waste
  • How to repair rather than throw items away
  • How to help restore biodiversity

We feel the answer to all these questions can be considered by individuals but we can have a greater impact and it is more enjoyable to work together as a community to teach each other the skills we need, helping each other make what need, looking at what resources we have locally and sharing with each other. Many are already making it happen in the following ways:

  • Community fridges, Community buying
  • Community purchase of renewables
  • Community Farms (shared risk) or community gardens
  • Tool Repair Cafes & Converting old cars to electric vehicles
  • Learning new/old skills

These are just ideas.