Honoring Mother Earth
Caring for our mother earth is something that’s always been near and dear to me. I’d love to see more people taking an active roll in nurturing the environment and their local communities. We certainly can’t change all our ‘habits’ in a day but we can make small changes in our lives and practice them. Once we’ve mastered that change, we can go on to the next. I believe every community, every city, every state, every country needs to do their part to honor the earth.
Sometimes I feel assaulted by the commercialism around me. Everyone wants you to buy something; a new car, jewelry, processed and prepackaged foods, a vacation, $5 cup of coffee, hair color, 3,000 count cotton sheets, depression medications – the list goes on and on. There are TV and radio commercials, internet pop-ups and adds, mailers, emails, billboards, suggestive selling at EVERY store and even the clerk will ask “do you want a Nestles bar with your toilet paper? They’re delicious” – ‘no, I came in for toilet paper, I want toilet paper’!
How Can I Avoid Being a Victim?
As consumers, what can we do? One thing I’ve found helpful is to set a budget, make a list and having clear intentions before going into the store. Eat something healthy and filling before going to the grocery; when you’re hungry, that Nestles bar sounds good. Bring a metal water bottle; if you have fresh water with you, you’re less likely to grab a bottle from the checkout cooler. Try to buy bulk on items you use often and don’t buy single serving foods because you’re paying for the packaging and adding to our landfills. It’s simple to have snack cups with lids at home (but avoid baggies).
Try to buy local and support local businesses. Small business can’t compete with Wallmart and large grocery chains as far as advertising and it’s a shame to see them going out of business right and left. Attend your local farmers markets and/or join a co-op and enjoy the goodness of seasonal foods! Plan grocery trips when you’re already out: on the way home from work, picking the kids up from martial arts, or that day at the beach. This will save you gas money and time.
If you try these suggestions for a month, I think the money you save too will surprise you. You’ll also feel more connected with your community and environment!
Bottled water is supposed to be refreshing, delicious and better for me according to the commercials on TV and the sign in the store. But a plastic water bottle leaks phthalates and frankly the water tastes like plastic. Yes, they’re recyclable, but how much energy does it take to recycle the bottles? What other chemicals are leaked into our water, air and earth in the process? This is not just water but sodas and other bottled beverages. I have to admit I LOVE Vitamin Water (or yuppie kool-aid as I like to call it). It’s delicious, but what’s the cost to the environment? Too high for me, I’ll stick to iced tea made at home and bring my metal water bottle with me when I travel (you can bring a metal water bottle in your suitcase on a plane as long as it’s empty then fill it once you get to your destination). Also, if you must get coffee on the road, try to stop at independent shops and carry your own thermal cup. I have a plastic one that I use now because I refuse to throw it away, but would like to get a metal hot/cold one. For now though, I’ll stick to what I already own.
Yes, bring your own bags – please! Nothing makes me sadder than to see plastic bags blowing through the air, stuck in a tree, or twined around the rocks in the creek. Really, there’s no excuse for this – none! It doesn’t take much to place a cloth bag in your purse or have a few reusable bags in your car. And don’t get me started on that AMAZING blue bag you can get at Ikea for .59 cents! When you’re not shopping, it’s perfect for carrying laundry up and down the stairs and with the flat bottom, perfect for carrying the folded laundry to the closet and dresser. Ikea gets huge thumbs up from me for that one!
The other day at the farmers market a woman was stuffing plastic bags of veggies in her canvas tote bag. I asked her about it and she said she didn’t want to get it dirty. We did have a nice talk and later I saw her stuff a head of lettuce in her canvas bag dirt and all Bags are washable and you can throw them in with the weekly laundry.
Even paper bags are bad for mother earth. It takes trees and chemicals to produce these bags. If you absolutely need one, try to use it again; paint it and use it as gift wrap, fill it with magazines for storage or use it to cover the kids school books so they don’t become damaged (they’ll also enjoy doodling on them and you can unwrap them at the end of the year and return the book in good condition).
Another thing I’ve started doing is carrying a small ‘pouch’ bag in my purse (boys, you can put this in your pocket). When I’m buying a small item, I simply put it in my pouch. I’ve gotten so many compliments on this from small business owners. It saves them money and of course our environment!
These are just a few small things that have worked for me. I am by NO means perfect, nor do I expect it in others. Every day is a new chance to learn and grow, a new chance to look around us, see what we truly need and what we don’t and try to make small changes. Every time a small change is made, it makes a huge difference. Try it! The earth will thank you.