Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Upcycle: Putting Theory into Practice
Stop viewing yourself as separate from the environment. You're not. The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected, and what you do to the environment, ultimately you do to yourself.
I try to be conscientious in everything I do, whether it's buying groceries to being a general consumer. When you start to identify yourself as part of the interconnected organism that is our planet, you start asking yourself more profound questions about what you do and what you buy. I don't want my oceans to be filled with plastic bottles, or my landfills packed with plastic bags that are not biodegradable.
Being peaceful within means making peace with what's around you and ultimately a part of you. As a consumer, I try to make the right choices and ask the right questions. What did this cost the planet, before it got to me? What effect will it have on the environment if I purchase and support this? Every little bit counts. Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, take a material bag instead of a plastic one. We are that which surrounds us, once you understand this and treat it as fact, you reach a whole other level of cosmic awareness.
I am not an expert in sustainable development or environmental science, but I do believe in creating a better “tomorrow”. As an inhabitant on this earth, I believe we have a responsibility to take care of our planet, our home.
At the risk of being called a hippie, I would like to share a few easy tips to get you started in leading a "green" or sustainable lifestyle. Now calm down, wait just a minute--I don't think that you need to give up all of your worldly possessions and go live in a tree. But I DO think that it is reasonable to ask everyone to go about their day to day lives in a contentious fashion.
YOU have the ability to "give back" to our community, and build a better tomorrow by adopting even a few of these simple tasks:
- Use reusable grocery bags. Get rid of that plastic! (many other countries, and a few American cities have already BANNED their use--so you might as well get ahead of the curve)
- Purchase products that use less packaging--it is deplorable think about the amount of trash that the average American household dumps per year
- Do the dishes. Please get rid of that nasty habit of using paper plates and plastic silverware
- Only buy the groceries that you need for a week to avoid spoilage (aka WASTE)
- Use fair trade products
- Purchase local
- Avoid pesticides and processed foods ~
- Consider Meatless Mondays, or maaaaaybe a full-fledged vegetarian diet—Ok, ok. I won’t get ahead of myself here. I did say that I was asking you to do something easy right??
- When purchasing goods, try to stay in the mindset of “quality” vs “quantity”
- Treat yourself to a new, cute, reusable coffee mug and water bottle for your on the go needs. Then kindly DITCH THE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE. Please
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
- Repurpose or donate unused or unwanted goods to your local thrift store. The cliché “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” exists for a reason
- Use natural cleaning products
- Walk, bike, hike, run, rollerblade, skateboard, snowshoe, cross-country ski, skip, dance, jog etc. to your destination whenever possible. When it isn't possible to use “self-propelled” modes of transportation: *Use public transit, *"Cluster" your drives (i.e. hit the gym AND the farmers market in one trek vs two independent adventures), *Carpool. This is a great way to connect with a friend, & make the commute more enjoyable (not to mention the reduction in air pollution, and saved cold had cash that would normally be swallowed up by your gas tank), *Look into the feasibility of driving a more fuel efficient car
- When out hiking, camping, or enjoying the great outdoors; I challenge you to not only "leave no trace", but to leave the great outdoors a bit better than how they were when you came upon them. How? Just pack out what you brought in, and pick up ONE extra piece of trash that someone else left behind. It is that simple. If you find yourself scoffing at the idea of one piece of trash not being challenging enough---volunteer for your local trails and open space coalition.
- Use energy efficient mechanisms around your home (i.e. lighting, windows, appliances etc.) and implement alternative energy sources when possible.
- Please don’t forget to turn off the lights (TV, radio,etc) when you are not in the room.
So let’s promote a beautiful healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit by "Going Green" together and doing our best to; Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Upcycle!