Studies show that having hobbies and engaging in leisure activities can benefit one’s psychosocial and physical health and well-being. Hobbies help us get our mind off stressful things, they help boost our self-esteem, and they upgrade our skills and imagination. Since time immemorial, people have looked to hobbies and pastimes to distract themselves from the day’s troubles and find comfort time for themselves. We need hobbies now more than ever, especially with everything we’re bombarded with daily—the COVID-19 crisis, climate change effects, and political and social unrest.
But not all hobbies are created equal; some hobbies are more harmful to others and the environment. If we are to find activities for leisure time, we might as well choose ones that help protect our planet, especially since climate change and its effects continue to be a clear and present danger to humanity, especially in 2020. Here are some eco-friendly hobbies and pastimes you can dip into before the year ends.
Refurbishing old furniture
When you look at today’s showrooms, furniture stores are replete with non-eco-friendly pieces. Yes, they might look good, but they won’t be doing the world any favors in the long run. Most modern and affordable furniture is made with materials that use formaldehyde and paints that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). One way to upgrade your home’s interior without breaking the bank is to refurbish or restore old furniture. Go to your neighborhood garage sales or local antique shops instead. There are hundreds upon hundreds of videos and tutorials on the internet about making old furniture look new.
Scrapbooking using old magazines and books
Before the rise of digital magazines and e-books, almost all of us read through the printed word. Now that the printed word is considered obsolete in some parts of the world, we can re-purpose our old books and magazines and turn them into a beautiful keepsake. Don’t be too quick to throw away old printed materials—scrapbooks are a poignant way of preserving memories and archiving old stories. There are many eco-friendly materials, too—supplies like recycled paper, Kraft packaging tape, natural earth mineral pigments, plastic-free biodegradable adhesives, and plant-based watercolors.
Gardening of any kind
There’s a reason why gardening as a hobby saw a rise in 2020—Americans found that they need to have constant access to fresh produce after experiencing some shortages due to panic buying when the pandemic was first announced. Learning how to garden or farm will not only benefit those who choose to do it as a hobby; it will also greatly benefit the environment as it encourages urban biodiversity and enhances air quality. Gardening can be a lot of work, but it’s beneficial for you and your family, and it’s a wonderful way to beautify your home.
An “upcycled” item can be a piece of art, mosaic, sculpture, or even jewelry created from old, discarded, or waste materials. It’s simply the art of creating something of greater value from old items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. These materials include old buttons, newspapers, old coins, old tires, worn-out clothes, egg cartons, and other seemingly “useless” items. With a bit of imagination and creativity, you never know what stunning pieces you can come up with from things people have already discarded.
Creating content about sustainability
Indeed, the digital landscape is already saturated with enough tips, information, advice, and opinions to last a person 57,000 years. You might think you no longer have something to add or contribute to the conversation, but the opposite is true. Every year, concern for the environment continues to grow, and this year 70% of Americans said that caring for the planet is more important than economic growth.
With so many people caring about this issue, there is always room for more voices to add to the discourse. No one else will have your point of view or your lived experience. Consider starting a blog, vlog, or even a social media account documenting your sustainability journey. Even if you inspire just one person to convert to a green lifestyle, you have already done what you can to help save the earth.
Eco-Friendly Hobbies Benefit Everyone
When you choose to engage in leisure activities that you enjoy and are good for the planet, you will not just be doing yourself a favor; you will also be helping so many people and the environment. If you’re going to look for fun distractions, you might as well choose healthy ones, not just for you but also for the world.