I believe that someday it will be normal and natural to consider the earth and the environment in all the decisions we make, from food to homes to work to families. At this point we'll all know and feel how intrinsically connected we are to the environment and that we are only healthy when the environment is healthy. It's a symbiotic relationship that deserves deep respect, honouring, time, and energy. I sometimes wonder how much time we have. I feel like this future needs to be now.
Sitting in my home I began thinking about what I do to take care of the environment. I started at the door and worked my way around and noticed that I do more things than I realized so I thought I'd share some suggestions below. You don't need to do all these things right away to be a good human and a good environmentalist. Take one or two steps at a time. Have fun with it and be gentle with yourself. Certainly, us humans, as well as nature, will not improve by beating ourselves up.
So from my home to yours. :) Really, it's the earth that's our home, so let's take care of them as well as we take care of our family home.
- Spend time in nature! This will increase your gratitude and respect for the environment which will naturally lead to you wanting to take care of it. You'll create relationship and notice all the ways nature gives. It's incredible when you really realize! So much beauty and abundance! We are blessed by nature every day.
- Use non-recyclable bags as garbage bags. Vegetable bags, bread bags, chip bags, etc. Paper bags can hold dry garbage.
- Save jars for bulk items, drinks, storing food, bringing food to work, etc. Ever noticed how something that's been in plastic for a while begins to taste like it? That's the chemicals from the plastic leaching into your food.
- Stock up on local vegetables and fruit in the fall. Channel your inner squirrel. :) Store it, freeze it, preserve it, ferment it, savour it.
- Half empty glass of water that you're done with? Give the rest to your plants or a tree.
- Compost! Yessss!
- Before you put water down the drain in the kitchen, ask yourself - is there something I could use this for? Pasta cooking water in pasta sauce (great thickener), potato boiling water in gravy or soup (potassium boost!), water you cleaned veggies in can water the garden, etc etc etc.
- Reuse plastic - ziploc bags, resealable pouches nuts seeds and dried fruit come in, take out and to go containers that can be washed.
- Recycle and reuse where you can.
- Flush less. If it's yellow, let it mellow.
- Turn water off while brushing your teeth.
- Most hair types don't need to be washed everyday.
- There are now shampoo and conditioner bars! Less packaging less plastic.
- Choose natural cleaning products.
- Don't forget that water that comes from the tap and the showerhead, that's in the toilet and the bathtub, comes from nature. Be grateful for it.
- Choose eco-friendly menstrual products. Better for your health and the environment's. Or try period underwear!
- Choose environmentally friendly and animal friendly road salt.
- Choose natural soil, compost, and fertilizer.
- Grow your own food! Share the abundance! Enjoy.
- Plant flowers for the pollinators!
- Pollinators over winter in old plant stalks, leaves, etc. It's suggested to wait until the temperature is 15C for 7 consecutive days before cleaning up your garden so that the pollinators have time to reawaken and leave their winter homes. :)
- Bring clean reusable bags everywhere, not just the grocery store.
- Bring clean refillable jars and containers to fill up on bulk items. This can include cleaners and personal care products.
- Buy local! Yes, your veggies, fruit, meat, home decor, and anything else you can think of. Search out a local, or environmentally friendly, sustainable source first.
- Support your local stores, creators, artists, musicians, practitioners, writers, restaurants, bars, etc.
- Think about what you're buying. Where did it come from? How was it created? Who created it? How far does it have to travel to get to you? What packaging is it in?
- Choose natural products. If it harms the earth when disposed of, it likely harms you when you use it, ingest it, put it on your skin, lawn, pet, etc.
- There are so many cool sites and companies online to buy second hand, refurbished furniture and household items from. Google it. I recently bought a refurbished phone and I couldn't be happier with it.
- Choose food items that are plastic free or in glass containers instead of plastic. Then you get a jar with your purchase too!
- Purchase organic! Do it! It doesn't matter if it costs more. Your health, the planet, the animals, the plants, you're all worth it!
- Remember what you spend money on is a vote for what you want more of.
- Vote for political leaders that care about the environment. When they're elected, write them and remind them why you voted for them.
- Sign those environmental petitions you see on social media.
- Donate to environmental organizations like TreeSisters, the David Suzuki Foundation, Nature Conservation funds, etc.
- Walk, bike, carpool
- Reuse paper. Heading to the bin but only one side used? Use the other side to doodle, journal, make lists, write your daily gratitudes, etc. Then recycle.
- Take hand-me-downs! Clothes, appliances, dishes, dish cloths, furniture, etc. Be creative! Make it your own.
- Share - books, tools, clothes, shoes you've worn once and your friend will wear once, soil, seeds, food, love.
- Be grateful for our natural world and all they provide.
These might not all seem convenient, but several of them are and it's worth it taking the extra time and effort. Convenience, which is something I love - don't get me wrong, is part of the reason we've gotten ourselves here. Let's think long term. How will our present actions affect the future, our children, and our children's children? How can we combine the amazing technology and convenience we have now with the wisdom, conservation, and knowledge of the environment? It's necessary to think this way now.
Every day is Earth Day.
Natalie loves life, people, animals, plants, and trees. She believes in the flow of life and approaches each day with gratitude.