New habits worth keeping


SILVER LININGS Whether it’s been supporting the people in our community, buying local or growing food, many of us have formed some good habits in 2020.  

Let’s keep the solidarity, support and sustainability going

Green Living
McKinley Neal

What a year it’s been! We’ve all been through the mill, and many of us can’t wait for it to end. But, in many ways, despite the early onset of darkness each evening and the colder and incessantly wet weather, things in December have begun to look up, and more than anything, we have to celebrate the good and look ahead to the fresh start that 2021 promises. We can all make some resolutions that will continue to build on some of the positive things that have come out of a difficult year.
One of the nicest things I noticed this year was how many people did good deeds for their friends, family members and neighbours, to make living through lockdown more pleasant and less stressful. So, for all of you who placed orders or did the shopping for others, helped tend to gardens, sent a note or gift to brighten someone’s day, and all the other selfless acts, well done. If you were on the frontlines and did even more to restore health and bring comfort, you deserve loads of appreciation.
This renewed sense of solidarity definitely makes our communities stronger and our lives brighter.
The focus on supporting our local independent shops, cafés, restaurants and Irish manufacturers, craftspeople and artisan food producers, has been incredible as well, and it is heartening to know how many people are determined to make sure small businesses can continue trading.This outpouring of support has reinvigorated us as we look ahead to 2021, despite the challenges that still remain. Let’s see how much we can continue keep the commitment to buying local going through next year, as it’s already helped to sustain existing businesses and spark more people to launch new ventures that enrich our towns. This was a year of where we all had to adapt continuously to new ways of being, and so many of us learned new skills in our homes and gardens. It would be great if we could continue to practise (re)using and repairing items we already own, as well as planting more trees and plants for food and a connection to nature. This is a great time to plan what you’d like to grow, mend, make from scratch, and to find a book, tutorial or person to help you take action.
I can’t help thinking how brilliant it would be if even one hundred people in Mayo resolved to plant one tree before the end of January, or to forego one new item in favour of swapping or buying secondhand instead, or even borrowing or sharing with a neighbour – I truly believe that those are the actions that really start to build up towards a more sustainable future for us all.
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas and a wonderful start to the new year.  

> McKinley Neal co-runs PAX Whole Foods & Eco Goods, a minimal-waste shop in Westport offering bulk organic foods, reusable goods, household products, eco-friendly personal care items and gifts.