“The Environmental Movement” that picked up pace in the 1960s is no longer a movement but, for many of us, a complete way of life. “Thinking Green” is becoming less and less a matter of choice. With dwindling resources, a threatened water supply, and struggling species, it is a necessity. By treating the planet with care and respect, we do so for ourselves as well.
Consider these options for you and your family when the call to “Live Green!” sounds, as it inevitably will more and more in the coming years.
L = Love Your Body
In the 1990s when my hormones began to fluctuate, I learned about the hidden estrogens in body care products: shampoo and conditioner, soap, make-up, lotion, and so on. According to Cornell University research, “Ingredients in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products can mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen.” Scientists are concerned that even at low levels, these environmental estrogens may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of various forms of cancer.
We can safeguard our health, love our body more, and honor the planet by using products that are natural and organic. Choosing these also minimizes the chances of animals being harmed in the production of such products. Interestingly, as soon as I switched to natural/organic products my hormone fluctuations ceased and I physically felt better and more balanced.
I = Invite Green Indoors
Most of us live and work indoors and shut off from Mother Nature. We experience her through doors and windows rather than up close and personal. This can disconnect us from the beauty and importance of the natural world. Bring nature in and let it fill your living and work space. Plants and trees purify the air we breathe; flowers bring enjoyment and connect us with the soul of living.
V = Value Your Greenbacks
Spend wisely. With transparency, take a moral inventory to determine how much you spend unnecessarily. Mass consumerism has created a “spend, spend, spend” attitude which means there’s “more, more, more” to produce. Think twice before your buy something. Consider what resources (trees, plants, oil) are needed to make what you think you must have.
E = Eat Local
Support your local growers and purchase from them. Not only does this help your neighbor earn a living, but it saves fuel consumption (the cost of shipping products cross country). Eating locally grown food enables you to know more about the quality of what you’re eating too. You can ask a grower about chemical use and harvesting practices; antibiotic and hormone use in meats, as well as how humanely animals are treated before slaughter. Don’t forget to support local fishermen too — a wonderful benefit of Great Lakes living.
G = Grow Your Own
Consider container gardening and grow your own vegetables. You don’t need a plot of land to make this happen; a patio, porch, or deck will do. Grow green indoors also. Start seedlings from scratch to plant outside later. Grow sprouts in jars for salads. Create a windowsill herb garden in the kitchen. Indulge your cats with homegrown catnip. Feel your green thumb grow.
R = Reduce Your Usage
• Electricity: use energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, update your furnace, insulate windows and doors, use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning.
• Gas: carpool, walk, ride a bike, drive a hybrid.
• Cleaning supplies: avoid chemical solutions, use natural ones instead.
• Reduce packaging. Purchase in bulk.
• Heating: turn down the thermostat, dress in layers, heat only the rooms you use, consider energy efficient space heaters, heat with pellets.
• Water: take showers instead of baths, use water saving toilets,turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
E = Extend Yourself
Give what you don’t need to others who may use, enjoy, or refurbish your “junk.” Recyle. Re-gift. Donate to charity. You might be surprised to learn that, with a little research, there’s an organization that would appreciate your cast offs. Electronics, computers, cell phones and even batteries can be recycled.
E = Energy Awareness
Spread the word about the good green stuff you’re doing. Tell others what you know. Share what works for you and be an agent for change. Inform your neighborhood and band together for a group project. There is power in numbers and grass roots efforts do grow and make a difference. Your voice does matter!
N = Normalize
Let’s make green the new “normal” so it’s not just something we do once in a while or when it’s convenient. Let’s rise to the challenge and LIVE GREEN. Doing so is no longer an option if we’re realistic. It is the way to live happily and healthfully and to guarantee that our children and grandchildren will as well.
Let’s leave our big blue planet better than we found it so future generations do have hope and a powerful reason to live as wise stewards themselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Join Jan Lundy’s monthly teleclass series, “Spiritual Invitations.” Learn more at her website, www.awakenedliving.com.