“5 A Day” is a campaign ran by many countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway… Whether it’s called 5 am Tag, Fem om dagen, or Fruits & Veggies – More Matters (that’s what it’s been rebranded as in the USA.. so snappy! 😂 ), the message is the same – we need to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day to stay healthy. According to the World Health Organisation that’s a minimum of 400g per day, and potatoes don’t count!
But what if we extended the concept from eating to other things as well? Eat your 5 a day to stay healthy, and do your 5 a day to make the world a better place! Whether it’s actions taken for sustainability or acts of kindness – all these little things coming together could have a great impact on the “health” of the world around us, so we can all live happier and more sustainable lives.
Any project like that risks being superficial at best, but we believe with a bit of thought and research it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not enough to “share the love” – and we don’t want to inspire a power dynamic created by the #problematic concept of charity or unchecked privilege. It’s important to remember that our little acts are not going to change systemic injustices, including climate injustices that affect some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. But we are also not powerless. We can think about it as taking responsibility rather than extending an often misguided helping hand. If we make these actions concrete, relevant, and rooted in awareness, we can achieve something on a micro scale, in our own community – and unlike potatoes in the 5 a day campaigns, it does count.
And just like with food – the more the better, but five is probably a good start… And it can be anything from the smallest things like carrying a reusable bag with you or using less water when showering or brushing your teeth, all the way to bigger shifts like making an effort to genuinely listen to other people, or instead of assuming how you can help – asking first.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out Do Nation, an initiative set up exactly for the purpose of helping people commit to small yet impactful changes in their everyday lives. They have a great list of actions many of us can take. Or read through these three research-based ways to cultivate kindness in your life where academic Juliana Breines references a lot of existing projects around kindness and generosity. Just remember it’s not a moral high ground competition, but rather an investment in a better future – so it’s also a good idea to take time to educate yourself on the issues you want to act on.
And lastly – let us know how you’re doing! Use #5aday on social media – we’ll be looking out for your contributions and sharing them with our Snactivist community 😊