Dawn Green – Writer

Weaving words worldwide

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Help your workplace be kinder to the planet and people in need

The following is a guest post from a friend of mine and former classmate who’s recently delved into the world of blogging and confesses that she absolutely loves it. She is Happy Eco Mama and her tagline – green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world – is so aligned with my passions that I didn’t hesitate to say yes when she asked me whether I’d like to post some of her work on here. Check out her site here: www.happyecomama.com



Want to help your workplace to be kinder to the planet and to people in need? Noticed that the coffee in the office kitchen isn’t fair trade, and it’s bugging you? Especially if you’re working for a large corporation with many employees, making little tweaks can add up to a big difference over the years. You can also change people’s mindsets, and teach them about issues they might not have thought about, like supply chain ethics or their carbon footprint. Your passion for a better world can really inspire others to think about how their own purchasing decisions can help to change things for the better.

Here’s some suggestions that you could talk about with your workmates, with the Facilities department and so on, to make your office a more eco-friendly, compassionate place to be.

  • Coffee

It’s pretty much a certainty that if you work in an office, there’s free coffee (side note: we ran out for a week when I worked at a call centre once, and there was practically a revolution). Workers on coffee plantations are often subjected to exploitative working conditions, not being paid enough to support themselves, much less their families.

There’s unfortunately quite a few industries that involve such exploitation: from chocolate to pineapple! While you probably aren’t getting free chocolate at work (although, wouldn’t it be nice?), convincing Facilities to make the switch from standard coffee to a fair trade, sustainably-farmed brand will literally change many lives every year.

  • Turning off computers

A lot of people just lock their computer when they finish work for the day. According to Computer Weekly, if a company has 200 PCs and they’re all switched off after the working day finishes, it would save the company 12,000 GBP per year. That doesn’t just make environmental sense, it makes economical sense too!

  • Corporate social responsibility

If your company doesn’t have a CSR policy, then it really should: according to Causemark.com, 75% of consumers say they are likely to switch from one product to another if a company supports a cause they believe in, assuming quality and price are similar. In this day and age, your brand is no longer just about your products/services, it’s about your brand image; this is especially important to millennials, and can also contribute to employee satisfaction because they’ll be proud to work somewhere that shares their values.

So basically that’s the spiel that you should be giving to the CEO when you’re having Friday night drinks after work. (By now, they’ll probably remember you as the lady who saved them a ton of money by suggesting the policy of turning off computers. Or maybe as that annoying lady who keeps going on about coffee. Either way.)

A CSR policy could include matching dollar-to-dollar donations for fundraising, giving grants or sponsorships to local causes, or letting employees have a certain number of paid days volunteering in the community.

  • Use that noticeboard!

Christmas time? Remind people about the true spirit of giving: Oxfam Gifts lets you give gifts such as a goat or a cow (for a rural family in need in the developing world) to friends, and it’s really a much more memorable than the usual trinkets. (A friend of mine still tells people about how I got her a cow for Christmas once.) You can hang up posters for Oxfam Gifts, or for any other causes that are important to you (i.e. not to buy puppies from petstores sourcing from puppy mills), to encourage other people to participate; I’ve had great success with getting people excited about Oxfam Gifts and buying them instead of commercial Christmas presents, and it has a ripple effect when the gift recepient ends up buying Oxfam Gifts for their own friends next Christmas .

If there isn’t a noticeboard, talk with your manager about just putting it up somewhere in the kitchen or near the water cooler. When it’s for such a meaningful purpose, they’re likely to be accommodating.

  • Kiva loans

A surprising number of people haven’t heard of Kiva. As the website itself puts it, Kiva loans change lives; it’s a microfinance organization with a focus on the developing world, but also including people in need in the developed world. These are a great gift to give to someone for their going-away party, to congratulate them on their promotion, to thank them for agreeing to stock fair trade coffee in the kitchen, or really any time when a cow seems like an odd gift to give someone. (Which happens, sometimes.)

  • Recycling

A lot of workplaces don’t have recycling bins. Your workplace should have a recycling bin. ‘Nuff said. If there’s one already and it isn’t getting as much use as it should, print out a handy guide to what actually belongs in the recycling bin and what doesn’t. Also, try not to glare too much at the guy who’s popping his Pepsi can in the trash, as tempting as it might be.


This article was first published on the site She Savvy on 8 November 2016.


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What’s your adventurous new years goal?


So we’re well and truly into the new year of 2017 now….nearly a whole week and it’s slowly sinking in that another year has passed and a new one is upon us.

With that in mind, it’s a good time to take stock, think about what’s important in life and perhaps set a couple of achievable and vibrant goals. I hesitate to use the term ‘New Years resolutions’ as it sounds so manufactured, where goals are dreams with deadlines, as my father-in-law once quipped.

For me this year, my goals are focused on staying healthy and strong. I’ve taken up a regular yoga practice and alongside some strength training, I can feel the difference already. I really love the way it’s all about aligning your breath with the moves and staying focused in the present moment. What a way to unwind, slow down our busy minds and just breathe. But don’t just listen to me – there’s lots of others out there touting the benefits of yoga.

I’m also into dedicating time to slowly, slowly meander my way through my backed up writing projects, one by one. The thing is I have about a dozen Word documents on my computer, each with a few lines or pages of a story or idea or interview which saw the light of day and then was dropped when other life priorities got in the way. So now I plan to see one through to completion, no matter how long it takes and then move on to the next. It’s my way of avoiding scattered brain syndrome and will allow me to feel a deep connection with each story, each project and really devote time to get to know it intimately, work with it and allow it to be whatever it is going to be.

Let it unfurl like a flower.


So here’s to another adventurous year ahead – whether it’s adventures abroad, at home, in the mind, body or soul, embrace the challenge, make it yours and see what magic comes of it.