“Earth’s crammed with heaven… But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Planet Earth is struggling. The last years have brought into focus a wave of facts about global warming and worldwide pollution that can no longer be denied or ignored. However, hope is not lost…whilst some changes are inevitable there is still much that can be done. If we all do our bit to be a little kinder to the planet, the future may not be quite so disastrous. Our planet is a miraculous thing, a wonderful, organic, life supporting mass that may be entirely unique in the Universe.
Planets change and life evolves, but the human race who have played such a large part in the destruction of the Earth can also play a large part in protecting its future. We can be part of the solution. The changes need not be enormous… in fact there are quite a few everyday habits and choices we can adopt in order to help heal a poorly planet.
1. Bag Habits
Let’s start with something easy that everyone can recognise… shopping bags. The ‘bag for life’ has been around for a good while now, but has only recently been taken seriously. I am only a recent convert to the habit of always having a re-usable bag on me. Beforehand I would make excuses about them being cumbersome or ugly… fickle complaints I know. Planet Earth is choking on plastic, and plastic bags will only become a thing of the past when demand decreases. My new habit is simply to always have a tote bag on me… I’ve found some great looking ones that are so non-intrusive that they can fit in the back pocket of my jeans when folded. No excuse now!
2. Keep It Local
The importation of food from abroad, or even just across the country, has a huge environmental footprint. Not only do we live in a country that has a climate that supports crop growth and animal rearing very successfully, but recent years have seen a huge growth in popularity and support for local produce and local businesses. This is not only in reaction to a more ecologically friendly attitude, but also because the draw of corporate, ‘the-same-thing-everywhere-you-go’, retailers is becoming much less attractive than local, bespoke, exciting products. It’s a habit that benefits the planet and the community. Buy local!
3. Food Waste
I used to waste quite a bit of food. The biggest reason for this was that I didn’t plan my meals properly, and so bought random items that I didn’t utilise in my meals properly. Once I got into the habit of doing a weekly meal plan and carefully buying my ingredients, I wasted almost nothing. There is a food wastage issue in the west, which not only wastes resources but costs us all money that we need not spend. If you take just a little time to think carefully about your meal preparation each week, I guarantee that you will feel better about your wastage and your expenditure on food.
Having been vegetarian for 5 years in my twenties but then returned to an omnivorous diet, I have landed on being something of a ‘flexitarian’. I eat meat and fish from time to time and have introduced more veggie dinners at home. I like having the freedom to choose from the menu and let my body awareness guide my choices. It is a fact that, if everybody in the UK cut their meat intake by half, the environmental damage currently inflicted by our demand would drop by around 70%. The message is that you don’t have to eliminate these products, but the planet would be much healthier if we could even reduce them.
5. Paperless Mail
The world is so digital now that there is really not a lot of need for most of our mail. Bank statements, gas and electricity bills and junk subscriptions can all be easily accessed in a digital format or cancelled… all it takes is for you to put a few hours aside to sort it all out. Don’t go mad on email though – the carbon footprint of data servers is huge. Consider carefully if it really needs to be Reply All!
This article was written for us by International Mindfulness Advocate and Conscious Visionary, Neil Seligman. Neil is dedicated to sharing the power of mindfulness globally, transforming lives, and inspiring excellence in all aspects of human endeavour. He is the Founder of The Conscious Professional, the Author of 100 Mindfulness Meditations, and the Originator of Soul Portrait Photography. For more information about Neil, visit his page here