Happy Earth Day!
I am no expert on any of this by any means but I can’t deny that pollution is a problem! We all love the Earth yet we don’t always show our love through our actions. Many times we’re simply unaware of the consequences of our choices plus we live within a society that doesn’t make it easy to avoid polluting our most precious resource. We’ve also become so accustomed to lives of convenience it’s challenging for us to break away from the most common culprits of pollution. In many instances we don’t even have another option to choose from. However, it is possible and not only possible but absolutely necessary at this point.
I remember being taught small conservation efforts in grade school like, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing dishes and to switch off lights when not occupying a room. These may seem minor but they were definitely foundational. As an adult though it feels like a whole new venture, one where my knowledge and choices are constantly evolving, shifting into more sustainable and practical ones that I wasn’t familiar with growing up. Once you recognize something you tend to start recognizing it more and more and all around you. It becomes magnetized. And greater awareness adds to a greater overall impact. Pollution is a problem we all have helped to create and we all have responsibility in finding, utilizing, creating, and advocating solutions.
I think back to childhood in the 90’s and while I’m still a huge fan of most things 90’s it boggles my mind how much consumerism played a part and in turn, waste. Plastic ice cream cups, kool-aid bottles, lunchables, lip gloss containers, even our beloved ferby’s are all sitting in landfills and a good chance some of it even ended up in the ocean. But how much of our waste still ends up in the ocean or contributing to manmade mountains of trash? How much of this stuff do we really need? How much individual waste do we create? We have to ask ourselves and hold ourselves accountable just as much as we would like to hold government leaders, scientists, or someone else accountable. And we could be waiting a long time banking on someone else to do some-thing. Just look at Flint Michigan’s on-going water crisis or Standing Rocks plea for treaties to be upheld and their right to clean water.
So until measures are taken to utilize sustainable alternatives like hemp or other already existing green options/practices we’re going to have do something on an individual level to lessen our infringement on the plant. Again, I am no expert on any of this however, below are all changes I have made within my own lifestyle to lighten my footprint and eliminate excess that I found to be unnecessary anyhow. There are times I forget my reusable shopping bags or coffee mug but as my husband reminds me “it’s the effort that counts”. I’m not living a life free of oil, I’m not living off the grid or even living a completely zero waste lifestyle but I’m doing my best to live a simpler life with regard and respect to the Earth. We may not hit the nail on the head every time, this is a process after all and we need not condemn ourselves for taking steps toward a cleaner, more sustainable future. Be kind to yourself while learning to be kind to the earth!
Reusable Grocery/Shopping Bags
Plastic bags can take anywhere from 10-1000 years to break down though in water they typically break down at a faster rate but only into smaller pieces which end up in the bellies of marine life. Hemp bags outlast any other reusable tote I’ve tried and they double as a beach bag plus. Produce bags are unnecessary as you wash your fruit and veggies anyhow but if you prefer you can find reusable lightweight bags on Amazon.
Reusable Coffee Mugs and Water Bottles
I put a note on my door that reminds me to grab my bags or reusable mug before heading out because as much as I do think about the plastic problem I also get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle needing a friendly little reminder from time to time. A plastic water bottle takes 450 years to decompose and a wax lined coffee cup 6 months or more. Just imagine how your car looks piled with old coffee cups and warm, half-drank water bottles now imagine that on a large-scale in regards to a landfill. In 2016 the U.S. exported 16 million tons of waste to China! 16 million tons of waste! And yes we were sending our waste to China but that’s a topic for a different post or you can read Carol A. Hands article Garbage.
Stainless Steel Straws
These are so easy to bring along in your backpack, wallet, or purse and will save a sea life or two. Once you notice how often your given a straw you can’t help but think of how many you’ve used in a lifetime. I use Eco At Heart straws for smoothies and cacao shakes and Eco At Hearts slimmer stainless straw for coffee and my daily ACV. Both sets can be purchased on Amazon or directly from their website and 5% is donated to selected charities!
Buy Less Packaged Goods
How often do we grab a plastic bag with 6 apples instead of selecting 6 loose apples skipping the packaging altogether? On the other hand all processed foods are packaged and sometimes it’s doubled up i.e. a box of crackers has a box and a plastic or aluminum bag inside. Cutting back on packaged food is not only better for the environment but for ourselves as well because we eat less artificial foods. Buying items like beans, rice, coffee, even soap in bulk allows us the opportunity to reuse jars or even our plastic bottles instead of adding to the collection. Health food stores and co-ops generally offer the option to bring and refill your own containers. Just being mindful of the packaging of the product your buying is helpful. Can it be recycled? Is it biodegradable?
Switch To Cloth Napkins
Remember your grandmothers or great aunts cloth table linens that were probably floral and were changed with the seasons? Well, its time they make a come back! Paper towels and napkins have got to go and not into the landfill! Sure, they have their place and use but we don’t need them as much as we currently use them. Luckily, I was given multiple sets from family/friends a few years back and made the switch before I even really considered the impact of my own waste. Since then I’ve made my own out of an old bed skirt to keep that out of the landfill as well. Likewise switch to the e-cloth for cleaning purposes instead of using paper towels or cloths that need frequent replacing. The e-cloth also omits the need for cleaning product cutting back product and plastics.
This will not be accessible to everyone depending on living arrangements and such however it has cut down on our household waste dramatically. We’ve been composting for 5 years and even sell the ‘tea’ that excretes from the compost as well as the worm castings, which resembles healthy soil, to our clients. We have a tumbler and multiple bin system in addition to red wiggler worms from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. The worms break down the organic food matter turning it into a beautiful, rich and nutrient dense soil which we apply to gardens and lands that need amending. The worms also make the food matter smell delicious like a fresh cantaloupe! Learn more about composting and different ways of doing so here and here.
There are so many ways to be more mindful of our impact on the Earth and I would love hear from you! What have you implemented or become aware of in your own life to become more earth conscious?!
Thank you for joining me here
And until next time,
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