It’s often hard to know how to begin making a difference in a world that seems to have so many problems. However, there are ways to change our world for the better, even when we are short of time and money.

Here are five ideas to help in making a difference.

Avoid using chemicals

Using chemical in our homes, and polluting the air we breathe on a daily basis seems like a bad idea. Chemicals are also bad for the environment. By simply switching from toxic cleaners to simple, non-toxic formulas we can improve our health and the environment. Most supermarkets now stock non-toxic cleaning materials. However, there are many websites that show you how to clean with few simple ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar and lemons. Making the choice to chuck out toxic chemicals is a simple way to begin making a difference to our environment.

You can also make your house smell nice by using natural soy candles, essential oils or by making your own  non-toxic room sprays. Another simple switch is to use bar soap instead of liquid soap or handwash. Doing this saves on unnecessary plastic packaging. I like to treat myself to a lovely soap scented with essential oils. My current favourite is the Moroccan Rose from Argan

Adding some plants such as spider plant, bamboo or peace lilies can also clean the air in your home.

Avoid using companies that exploit others

Many of the companies we use on a daily basis have a poor record regarding their environmental and social credentials. It’s not always easy to avoid these unethical companies. However, when you realize how they waste the world’s resources, exploit their staff, avoid paying their tax, you might be keen to avoid them in the future.

Look at the brands you buy, the companies you shop from and the banks where you keep your money. For example, many banks invest in the arms trade. Also, many clothing companies exploit their workers and have no regard for their health and safety and use child labor. Lots of companies also and many use natural resources such as water to the detriment of local communities who rely on them. If enough people boycott these companies they will be forced to change and we will see a real difference in the world. Check out this post from Conscious Shop Collective for some great ethical consumers to shop from instead.

Buy local where possible

One of the easiest ways to avoid these big corporations is to make use of local independent shops wherever possible. The added bonus of shopping locally is that it will revive your community and stop the decline of local high streets and shops. You will also develop a relationship with local shopkeepers and other customers. A visit to your local independent bakery or coffee shop can be a lovely experience. Over time, your local business owners will begin to greet you by name and know your preferences. There is no comparison between this warm community experience and a soulless supermarket or shopping center. When you do have to use big stores, ensure that the produce you buy is as local as possible, and avoid the really evil brands!

Buy the best quality you can afford

The world’s resources are being used up at a frightening speed. But what makes this so sad is that many of the products these resources are being used for have a life of only a few months before ending up in a landfill site. This causes  yet another problem to our planet. It is better to buy a few good quality items than to fill your home with stuff that will end up as trash. Good quality products also give us pleasure each time we use them. Check out sites such as Etsy to find independent producers of quality items.

Buying second-hand is also great way to get quality items at a great price. You can come home from a charity shop with a bag of items such as great kitchen equipment, ornaments, books and clothes and still have some cash left in your wallet. Many charity shops also have online stores. Check out places like Oxfam for great clothes and books and vinyl. Of course, there are also many great second-hand bargains to be had from eBay.

Be Happy

There is a lot wrong with our world, but there is also a lot right with it. Switch off the news from time to time and give yourself a break from negativity. Spend the time nurturing your mind, body and spirit. Being depressed and negative about the world won’t change it. However, if you look after yourself and foster positivity and gratitude, you will be in a better position to continue making a difference.