I have always been a little more environmentally active that most people I have come in contact with in my life. I grew up with former quasi-hippy parents who believed in recycling and saving energy. I have a compost area behind the shed in my backyard. I brought my lunch to school in lunch bins instead of paper bags. Having this seed of being environmentally responsible early on in my life, I wanted to continue and strengthen my ideals in preserving our blue and green planet. This has been one area I have been improving recently. My concern for the environment strongly ties into my spirituality. I am very passionate about nature, from the plants to the animals. Being outside in nature has helped heal my spirit in ways no modern medicine ever could. I owe my life to nature. Not just my mental well-being, but my physical self as well, through the air I breath and the food I eat. Naturally, I want to protect and preserve the thing that has helped me so much in my health. I am optimistic, and truly believe if everyone plays their part and pitches in, we can save our planet. It seems overwhelming to think of all the possible change one should make in order to be more environmentally conscious, but even the smallest of changes can make a difference. Like I believe, transformation is just a series of small changes that overtime add up. Not only does being eco-savvy sound like a hot designer trend, but it can help reduce the harm done to our planet. So how does one become eco-savvy? Here are four simple ways to start you off:
- REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE: This motto has been around since I was a child. Even though it would be preferred to purchase and have products that are biodegradable and do not end up in a landfill or our oceans, when disposing of a product, remember the Three Rs. Can this item be reduced? Maybe instead of buying individual packs of yogurt, you opt to reduce the plastic waste and get the quart sized container. Can this item be reused? That old tee-shirt that has a ketchup stain or hole in it can be reused as a cleaning cloth, or that empty jam jar can be repurposed into a candle votive. Reusing/repurposing is a great way to get those creative juices flowing! Lastly, can it be recycled? Look for that triangle on the bottom of plastic containers and recycle whatever you can! Recycle not only plastic but other items as well. Donate your clothes and furniture to thrift stores such as GoodWill and the Salvation Army. One man’s trash is another one’s treasure.
- MAKING SIMPLE SWITCHES: By making tiny changes into your everyday life, you can seriously reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our eco-systems. Each year America throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups. And that material doesn’t degrade, so in 500 years from now, that coffee cup you used will still be sitting in a landfill somewhere. Make simple switches. Use paper disposable products if need be. Instead of using paper towels, which aid in deforestation (come on, we need those trees for oxygen), use cloth dish towels and rags. Instead of plastic water bottles, bring a reusable one (BPA free plastic, glass, or stainless steel). Buy products that are made from recycled materials. There are tons of simple switches that anyone can incorporate into their daily life.
- DON’T UPGRADE: Each year, new models of technological products, from cell-phones to blenders come out in stores. We are a society that wants NEW NEW NEW, even when the old works perfectly fine. You know that saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well think about that every time a new product/gadget comes out. It will not only help save the environment by reducing the amount of stuff that gets discarded, but it will also help save you money as well. Win win.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF: Knowledge is power. The more you are informed, the easier it is to stick to these environmentally conscious switches. Learning and being aware of the detriments done to the environment by the waste we produce is extremely eye-opening and can make someone stop and think about what harm we are doing to our planet. Research and search the internet for some facts and insights on this matter. The EPA has some good facts about waste. If you are looking to make a difference, Conservation International or other non-profit organizations are ways to not only learn, but make changes through donations and becoming involved.
There are SO many ways to become more eco-savvy. Like I said, tiny changes that you implement into your daily life can slowly transform you as well as the world. For me, being more environmentally aware, fills me with an enormous sense of joy and pride, because I know that I am doing something good for the world. It shifts my attention away from me as an individual and focuses it more so on the collective whole. It shifts my perspective and broadens my understanding of how we are all connected. I will leave you with a Native American quote that speaks the truth of why we must take care of our planet:
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”