Elemental Thinking for the New Year

The start of a new year is an exciting time. A whole year’s worth of joy and fun lies ahead, and life seems full of potential and hope. It is an ideal moment to reassess, and to reflect on what worked in the past versus what could be improved.

Many of us make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, or do this or that, determined to make this year better than the last.

When it comes to eco-resolutions, though, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few “elemental” ideas to get the New Year off to a great green start!

Think twice before throwing it out. Water is already a hot commodity, and with climate change steadily progressing, it pays to think cleverly about how to use and conserve this precious resource.

Water left behind from rinsing and soaking rice is full of nutrients plants love. Steamed vegetable water makes a wonderful base for soup stocks or for cooking rice.

Even dishwater or the water used for washing your face can be recycled if environmentally friendly soaps are used. At the very least, this water makes for a power-free flush!

Winter nights are long and dark, but that’s no reason to feel blue. Candlelit dinners are relaxing, as the soft light not only makes your dining companions seem more attractive, but also helps the whole family settle down after a long and busy day.

Find a bit of community at a local cafe or restaurant hosting a Candle Night. These events were originally held only on the winter and summer solstices. Candle Night participants use no electricity, including lights during dinner, to increase awareness of energy consumption.

Humans, like candles, also radiate heat—up to 100 watts! Host a Candle Night party at home and really heat things up.

Fresh air is one of the best ways to energize and revitalize yourself. Head outside to soak up one of these brilliant Tokyo winter days.

Frolic in a park, stroll next to one of the city’s many canals, or simply get up and walk around the block.

Improve the quality of indoor air with a few drops of essential oils used strategically, a bouquet of flowers, or a bowl of charcoal tucked in a corner. Charcoal’s natural ability to absorb odours helps keep a room fresh for months.

Caring for the earth is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Eating organic foods whenever possible helps ensure that soil is well tended and the eco-system surrounding it is safe from harmful chemicals.

Winter is a great time to plant a pretty little pot of edible flowers like violas or pansies with hardy, cold-weather herbs like parsley for fresh winter salads. Use chicken or cow manure (available at your local nursery in small quantities) as a natural fertilizer.

These plant-based candles have gently wavering flames.

Nanao Wasoroku Candles

These elegant white candles made entirely from plant materials add a graceful touch to any table or event.

A traditionally designed hollow wick takes in air and wax simultaneously, causing the flame to gently waver.

Rendered in shapes reminiscent of the forested Noto Peninsula where they are made, these candles make an ideal gift or centrepiece.

For more sustainable home ideas and bonus tips, please email us mentioning BCCJ ACUMEN at info@ecotwaza.com.