I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Georg Feuerstein and Brenda Feuerstein from the book, Green Yoga, “Every day approximately 150 entire species are said to vanish forever. We are in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction, as biologists have labeled this immeasurable tragedy… If you care about the continuation of our human species and life on Earth in general, you must NOW do your utmost to transform your own life through a drastic lifestyle change and to vigorously help transform the way governments and corporations go about their business.”
Now, I know this all sounds extreme, but IT IS. It’s an ugly truth and its REAL. We are talking about our future and the future of our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. There are many ways we can personally make a difference, now! It’s not up to big corporations to make the change, although they should, but we don’t have time for that. It’s up to us to change our daily habits and consciously make choices for a better, healthier, tomorrow.
Ahimsa— non-violence, is a small, but impactful part that composes Patanjali’s eightfold path of yoga. I practice ahimsa by honoring our Mother Earth.
It can be really overwhelming to attempt to make drastic changes. That’s why it’s important to start slowly so that the habit can really form. The following list are some ways that we have incorporated conservation into our daily lives. I invite you to add to this list! Let’s make a difference together.
- I vow to leave nature cleaner than when I came. I refuse to walk by garbage on the beach or while on a hike. I also make sure to not leave my own garbage anywhere and place things in proper receptacles. Let’s clean up after ourselves, folks!
- Composting! We compost our food scraps at home. Did you know that without oxygen, food putrefies in the landfills and turns to methane aka greenhouse gasses because it’s unable to reach oxygen and therefore doesn’t break down? It’s sad but true. Tossing your food scraps in a garbage bag with the rest of the trash actually adds to global warming because the food doesn’t have access to oxygen. It just sits there, trapped, and unable to break down. A simple solution is choosing to compost at home. Heck, even some cities offer commercial composting programs for businesses and here in Eugene, OR there’s fantastic program (Love Food Not Waste) where they then transform the food waste into valuable compost. Pretty cool, huh? In Eugene, OR alone, it has been reported that over 40 million pounds of food ends up in the landfill each year. Love Food Not Waste now contributes rich compost at minimal cost to local school garden projects! That’s gold, baby! If you’re curious about making your own compost, here’s a simple composting bin and there are many places you can find them locally in your hometown. We have been using the same compost bin for 2 years and it isn’t full yet. Since the food has access to oxygen, it is able to be broken down naturally and doesn’t turn to methane. Simple solutions right in your backyard! Composting is sexy!
- Plastic recycling is finite these days, so I lean towards purchasing things in reusable glass containers, not plastic as well as items with limited packaging. I also am conscious about the amount of times I get take-out or bring leftovers home. These single use to-go containers are wasteful and unnecessary. Fast food is also extremely wasteful, so say no to Taco Bell! Veggie taco Tuesday at home, anyone?
- Grow your own food! There is nothing more rewarding than eating the food that you grow! It’s a 100% guarantee that you are getting the freshest, ripest and organic food into your body. Plus farm to table eliminates the amount of resources that it takes to transport food from farms to the store and then to your dinner plate.
- Invest in organic food whenever possible. Synthetic fertilizers used in growing and producing non-organic food affect our waterways, soil, our gut microbiome and so much more.
- I limit my meat consumption. I am not a vegan, but I consciously choose days and meals where I don’t consume meat & dairy, and if we do purchase meat, it’s always organic, free-range and locally sourced whenever possible. Commercial agriculture contributes to soil, water and air pollution and is a major contributor to global warming and water scarcity (Feuerstein & Feuerstein, 2007). Check out One Green Planet for more information.
- We have nearly eliminated all toxic household cleaners, laundry & dishwashing products, hair & body products, for more natural and biodegradable alternatives. Thieves household cleaner is my favorite and it is also highly concentrated! It takes me about 6 months to go through a full bottle. We also use the Thieves laundry detergent & dishwashing soap.
- Purchase quality items that will last. No more “fast fashion” or impulse buys, I purchase clothing and things that I will wear and use multiple times, and take a moment to think before purchasing. Quality over quantity, folks!
- Water is a finite commodity and precious resource. I keep my showers quick and turn the faucet off while washing dishes and brushing my teeth. Did you know that four billion people, or two-thirds of the global population, “live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month of the year.” Check out One Green Planet.
- Unplug electrical equipment when not in use—that includes phone chargers, computer chargers, anything plugged into an outlet that is not currently in use.
- I limit my paper towel consumption and instead use reusable napkins and towels.
- I opt out of using plastic produce bags at the grocery store. Buy your produce without a bag and transfer them to reusable bags once you get home. You can also bring containers to put your bulk items in at the store. I bring mason jars to fill with rice, sugar, spices, etc. Upon arriving at the store, simply ask the cashier to weigh your jars so that they can tare the weight when you purchase.
- Bring your own container to put your leftovers in at the restaurant! Don’t eat leftovers? Only order as much food as you will consume.
- We haven’t used dryer sheets in well over a year and instead use reusable wool dryer balls! We add 2-3 drops of essential oil directly on the balls to keep our laundry smelling fresh.
- I love my bees wrap reusable food wraps! They’re incredible and I can’t remember the last time I used plastic wrap.
- Reuse zip lock and plastic bags. Simply rinse/wash them out and hang to dry. I love this plastic bag dryer!
- The only time I purchase coffee is when I remember my reusable mug! This one is big for me. Even if the paper cup is labeled “compostable” it is highly unlikely to breakdown in a landfill. These labeled “compostable” items need to be distributed to a commercial composting location (not put in the trash) and those are pretty rare in most towns. Therefore, they end up sitting in the landfill and taking up more space and not breaking down due to the lack of oxygen. Bring your own mug—something that can be used for years and years. We love Hydroflask. Here’s a link to commercial composting locations in the US. I also limit purchasing single use water bottles and always have my reusable water bottle.
- Camping and festival season is right around the corner! Bring your own reusable coffee cup, cold drink cup, fork, knife, spoon, plate and bowl. Rinse off/wash when you’re finished and watch how much your garbage bag doesn’t fill up!
- Use only reef safe sunscreen when you’re at the beach! Plus, the ingredients are healthier for your skin. I use Coola suncare.
There are so many other ways we can save and I want to hear how you contribute to making a difference! Please leave a comment below!
Keep up the great work and continue to lead by example, friends! I believe any small thing we try to do will truly help.