Are you concerned about the environment? Do you want to know how you can make a difference? You’re not the only one.
With many of us trying to make improvements in the way we live, how you spend your spare time also has the potential to make the world greener and more sustainable,
In this article we list 35 environmentally friendly hobbies that are fun and fulfilling, but most of all, make the world a better place!
Eco-Friendly Hobbies That Make the World a Better Place
1. Get involved in river cleanup
You’re probably aware of the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean, causing a lot of damage to our marine ecosystems. Of course, reducing our use of plastics is crucial, but what about the plastic that’s already out there? You could spend your spare time helping to remove trash from our rivers before it reaches the ocean. If you can’t find a local group in your area, you could organize your own!
2. Do trash pickup in your local area
It isn’t just the oceans we need to take care of. Lots of trash (especially plastic) can be found on the ground in the places where we live, be it in the country or the city. This affects wildlife and the overall environment. Grab yourself a litter picker and go around your area picking up garbage. Remember to find the right place to dispose of it – preferably a recycling center!
3. Help out with beach cleanups
Beaches are a place where garbage either ends up from rivers or the stuff in the ocean gets washed up and broken down by the waves – and goes back into the ocean, affecting marine life, and ultimately getting into our food chain. Organizing beach clean-ups can help to make a difference. And it’s always pretty great to spend a day on the beach!
4. Make and build with eco-bricks
Eco-bricks are made by filling used plastic bottles with single-use plastic. Done right, they can be used to help build furniture and even buildings. The plastic you use in eco-bricks needs to be clean and dry so make sure you wash and dry it carefully before creating your bricks. You don’t want a build-up of methane and bacteria. Once you have a collection of eco-bricks, you can start to build!
5. Become a beekeeper
Bees are vital to our planet and to our lives, and their numbers have dwindled significantly in recent years. Beekeeping is great hobby for helping to encourage these amazing little pollinators. It is also fascinating and means you don’t have to run out to the store for honey ever again! Beekeeping can be challenging so I would recommend finding someone who can show you the ropes and help you to build and maintain a successful colony.
6. Do gardening in your spare time
Growing food and plants of your own is a great way to help the environment. So much of the food we eat has a massive carbon footprint, so aside from trying to shop local, a fantastic way to reduce your personal emissions is to start growing your own fruit and vegetables. You can also encourage the bee population to thrive by growing bee-friendly flowers such as lavender, hawthorn, crocuses and so on.
7. Start a YouTube channel on sustainability issues
Another way of making the world a better place is to influence others. That might be by increasing awareness of environmental issues, encouraging people to advocate or take political action, or to live more sustainable lifestyles. Creating a YouTube channel on green living could be a fantastic way to do this. Plus it’s fun and you will learn plenty of skills.
8. Blog about the environment and green issues
If you have a way with words, blogging is another way to have a great influence over people’s attitudes and actions when it comes to the environment. You could blog about making a move into a zero-waste or vegan lifestyle, how to make eco-friendly consumer choices, or how to influence governments and organizations to make positive changes.
9. Start a podcast on the environment
Similarly to YouTubing and blogging, podcasting is a fun way to promote environmentally friendly practices. Try some of the ideas above. You could even see if you can interview people who are influential in the green movement to help to make your podcast have even more of an impact.
10. Start and moderate a green or zero waste page on Facebook
A great way of raising awareness and encouraging people to live more environmentally friendly lives is through local, national, and international Facebook groups. For example, you could start a zero waste Facebook group for your local area, where people can share tips and places to buy zero waste products. Or you could even volunteer to moderate an existing group that is growing.
11. Get into app design and create environmentally friendly apps
One of my favorite apps is an app called Refill, which shows you the nearest location where you can fill up your reusable bottle with fresh drinking water – reducing the usage of single-use plastic bottles. There are also apps which connect people with food that is being thrown out by stores or people nearby. If you’re creative, you could think of some apps that will help people live in a more environmentally friendly way. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code – there are platforms available that allow you to build apps without having to program.
12. Spend your free time writing letters to businesses and politicians
We can all make changes in our lives to make the world a better place, but big businesses and governments hold most of the power. Whatever your political affiliations, you can spend your spare time writing to your political representatives and companies to ask them to implement more environmentally practices. For example, why not write to local supermarkets asking them to reduce their plastic packaging?
13. Get involved in political campaigning for parties with green interests
If you are interested in politics, you could always volunteer to help with campaigning for a political party that supports the environment. You could help with the behind the scenes work, such as creating promotional materials, or go door to door when elections are drawing close.
14. Volunteer with green charities
There are plenty of environmental charities that are always on the lookout for volunteers. And volunteers can get involved in a whole range of different activities. You could so anything from environmental education to reforestation and conservation. Volunteering is also a great way to maintain your wellbeing.
15. Start your own green activists’ group
If there isn’t a charity or political group that you want to get involved in specifically, why not start your own group? You could focus on issues that are close to your heart, such as starting a group to encourage companies not to invest in fossil fuels, or a group which encourages your local government to fund green transport and cycle lanes.
16. Cycle for fun and to get around
Cycling is a fantastic hobby that keeps you fit, doesn’t cost anything to run, and of course, is much better for the environment than using a car or even using public transport. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get your workplace to help you fund a bike as part of a workplace cycle scheme. By cycling instead of driving, you may also inspire those around you to get pedalling!
17. Exercise outdoors
Staying fit and healthy is important for your wellbeing, but gyms need a lot of energy to operate. Exercising outdoors, such as walking, running, hiking, or taking outdoor bootcamps or classes, is a great alternative to using gyms, and one that has no carbon footprint!
18. Upcycle furniture
Reducing waste is a really important way of helping the environment. New furniture needs raw materials as well as energy for the production process. Learning to fix old furniture and breathe new life into it is a great way to spend your time and make the planet a better place. If you don’t have any furniture of your own to upcycle, try your local recycling center or Facebook groups for your area.
19. Make jewellery from upcycled materials
Upcycling items into jewellery is a really fun hobby that reuses things that might otherwise be thrown away. You can make jewellery from old buttons, coins, old jewellery, or even rolled up newspaper. Plus you’ll never run out of gifts to give to other people!
20. Make accessories out of trash
Another fun upcycling hobby is to turn trash, such as soda cans and chip packets, into accessories such as bags. You might have seen bags and belts made from old Coke cans – why not give it a try yourself and save some cans from the landfill?
21. Upcycle clothing
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters out there. Increasing the lifespan of existing garments instead of buying new clothes is a fantastically environmentally friendly hobby. Pick up a few simple sewing skills and you can patch together old bits of garments, or alter clothes you find in the thrift store so that you can rock them in style.
22. Try eco-friendly scrapbooking
Scrapbooking involves creating a book of memories from various media, photos, memorabilia and artwork. You can include things like tickets to events, or write journal entries. To make your scrapbook greener, use recycled materials and things that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.
23. Make your own paper
Even bought recycled paper comes with a carbon footprint because of the energy needed for the recycling process. A great way of saving energy is to make your own paper, which is done by pulping together unwanted paper. Making your own paper is fun and also makes a great gift or base for greetings cards.
24. Create artwork using recycled materials
You can make art out of almost anything, so why not use recycled materials? You could substitute a canvas for scrap wood. There is even an African artist who uses recycled plastic and a heat gun to paint with, so use your creativity and think about the materials around you that could be repurposed to create art.
25. Make greetings cards out of recycled materials
Standard, shop bought greetings cards come with a fairly large carbon footprint, particularly if you post them. Making your own cards from recycled materials and hand delivering them is a great alternative which has a positive impact on the environment.
26. Design e-cards
Another way of cutting down the carbon emissions associated with greetings cards is to send e-cards. And you can make your own (and design them for other people to send) using websites like Canva, which are free and easy to use.
27. Spinning yarn from raw wool
Wool is natural, renewable, and easily recycled. You can take raw wool and spinning it on a wheel to create your own yarns, which you can either use to create garments yourself, or give or sell it on to others. You may need to invest in a spinning wheel, so have a look on eBay or Facebook to see if you can get a used one, which will be cheaper and greener.
28. Knitting with sustainable yarns
If you don’t want to make your own yarn, there is plenty of sustainable yarn available on the market. You can knit all sorts of clothing and accessories with sustainable yarn. Knitting is a hobby that’s easy to get started. You might even find local groups in your area so you can make new friends at the same time.
29. Learn to repair household items
We live in a throwaway culture. It’s pretty normal for people to buy a new computer, TV, microwave, etc. if these things break. But if you can give these items a longer lease of life, it slows down the cycle of production and waste. Start with checking out some tutorials online.
30. Cooking with vegan and local ingredients
Cooking is a therapeutic hobby with a lot of benefits. And you don’t have to be 100% vegan to enjoy vegan cooking and to make an impact on the environment. If everyone reduced their meat and dairy intake, this could have a substantial effect. So why not get creative and learn how to make some plant-based dishes with local ingredients?
31. Make non-dairy milks
Another way of reducing your dairy intake is to use non-dairy milks, such as nut-based milks and oat milk. These can be super expensive in the store, but they’re actually pretty easy to make. Enjoy trying different ones, and why not share them with your friends and neighbors?
32. Brew your own beer
Craft beer fans can be pretty upset to find out the carbon footprint of their favorite tipple. Homebrewing is an alternative which is not only cheaper, but also much less energy intensive, so you can enjoy the beers you like without the environmental guilt factor.
33. Volunteer with people
One of the issues with climate change is that it has the biggest impact on the least fortunate amongst us. Volunteering your time to help others is a great way to give back and to help deal with some of the fallout from climate change, for example, you could help with people in your area who have been affected by floods or fires.
34. Travel in an environmentally responsible way
Airplane travel is extremely carbon-intensive and has a big impact on the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing more environmentally friendly options, such as train or bus travel and taking your vacations closer to home. If you have to fly, look into carbon offsetting programs, where the money goes into reforestation projects.
35. Start a green book club
Awareness of green issues is vital for change to take place, so how about starting a green book club? As a group, you can read and discuss books relevant to climate change, and making positive changes to the world. You might find that you inspire others to start bigger projects.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of hobbies that make a positive contribution to the environment and make the world a better place. You might also find that when you tell people about your new environmentally friendly hobby, they are inspired to go green.
ECO TIP: One thing to remember, particularly with craft-related hobbies, if you need materials or tools for your hobby – always try to buy locally rather than having things shipped from far away. Choose wood, bamboo and metal over plastic where possible.
For more hobby ideas, check out our 100+ list of hobbies to try this year!