Bless Those Who Know the Earth to be Sacred
Lately I find myself more concerned with the physical world we live in…Mother Earth…
Why is it that loving and respecting the Earth does not actually have a place in our modern society? Humans are more engrained in technology and have built a world that stands upon consumerism, materialism, and infinitely growing consumption with little regard to the way it effects our environment. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the health and well being of the Earth and its creatures is only considered when it becomes necessary or an inconvenience for us humans.
Instead, what if we, as humans, grow into the brilliance of this modern age with deep and fierce morals about protecting and loving our environment at the core of our innovation and technological development. In this way, we will, as a human community, be setting an intention to be in Unity with the world around us.
Just a note that this blog is not a negative rant about our current state. Instead, I would like to highlight some simple opportunities we have in our every day lives to start showing more love, respect, and communication with Mother Earth who embraces each and every one of us, and whom all things come from!
To start, one must see physical reality for what it is. Everything… I mean EVERYTHING we eat, drink, use and rely upon…. ALL comes from the Earth! EVERY LAST SUBSTANCE!
It is not to be underestimated that the Earth yields and provides us with bounty beyond our wildest dreams. We are living in a time where we do not have to struggle like our ancestors for survival because we learned to wield what we want from the Earth. Life has become luxurious really. Personally, I think this is a wonderful thing because it is alleviating stress so we can hopefully focus on our path to wake up and realize our Higher Selves (YOGA!). The problem, I believe, is that things become so easy, so instant, press this button, order this, press BUY, etc. that we became too removed from the Earth herself. Our ancestors had no choice but to reckon with the great force the Earth held. We are more than a little removed from the harsh realities of survival in this digital era.
First and foremost, it is vital to try and slow down your mind and notice the present moment. Practice gratitude and try to develop a conscious relationship with the Earth and recognize that life is all around us. Everything is living and breathing in our world. I encourage you to interact with plants and animals, acknowledge the Sunrise and Sunset, pay attention to the Moon and the Stars, turn off the TV and your phone and take more Nature walks. Take a little time every day to interact with the Earth and start to cultivate a living breathing relationship with her. Let it be a deep value that lives within your heart. I think this is the foundation and gives us the motivation to care enough to take action for ourselves.
The next big idea for us to wrap our minds around as everyday average humans is that we are many and we are mighty and the way we can make the biggest difference in a free capitalistic world is how we CHOOSE TO SPEND OUR MONEY! It matters! What you choose to buy is your way of voting! Think about what you are purchasing and who and what you are supporting when you do it! Try to support sustainable farming, organic and non-GMO food, hormone free food and beverage, humane certified animal / meat products, recyclable paper products, no animal testing, fair trade, etc.…
Be a CONSCIOUS CONSUMER! Read the labels! A lot of people say it is too expensive to buy the sustainable options, and I understand this on some level, however, if more of us bought these products, it would shift the market. There are things you can do independently that help the greater cause.
Practical Environmental Suggestions:
- RECYLCE!! We must take the time, to sort, rinse and re-cycle anything that can be recycled. Be sure to visit your local government’s website to see what materials they accept. If I have to bear going on Facebook one more time to see another sea animal strangled to death by a plastic bag, my heart may not make it – so upsetting! I understand at first it is like, “I don’t have time for all that.” I will admit there is a bit of an adjustment time, but once you figure it out, you will find a rhythm and it will become easier. I promise!
- Keep cloth grocery bags in your car. Take them to every store you purchase things in. When you are done unloading your products in your house hang them by the door so you don’t forget to take them back to the car. This alone would save SO much plastic and paper! If more humans did this, it would be fantastic!
- Re-use the plastic bags you do use. Recycle and re-use are HUGE! My suggestion is to keep a bag or basket to collect plastic bags, and trust me a use will arise to re-use them. Organization is important to keep these things efficient. If your collection gets too big you can drop excess bags off at Food Lion in the recycling bins outside.
- Opt for reusable energy options when available. Gas and oil are a big subject and a big threat. Generally, as a civilization we need to wake up and realize burning fossil fuels at the rate we are is not sustainable for very long. Use solar panels and geothermal heating in your house, wind power when possible.
- Use re-usable sandwich bags. When it comes to sandwich bags, I have recently discovered they are now making re-usable sandwich bags you can wash out - yay! If you do not have these yet then set up a “sandwich bag wash station.” Seriously! Get clips you can use to hang the bags to dry after washing and use them as long as you can.
- Do not use plastic water bottles. We can GREATLY reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used by purchasing stainless steel or glass water bottles and re-use and refill them. The stainless steel water bottles have the added benefit of keeping your water cold.
- Lessen use of paper towels and paper napkins. Use cloths or rags instead. As my towels get old, I turn them into rags by cutting them up. Using a paper towel or napkin to wipe every little spill up, is a LOT of paper waste! Remember that we need trees to give us oxygen and this is another example as to why the health of our environment DOES matter!
- Choose a more sustainable way to get around.Take public transportation, walk, ride bikes, drive electric cars, etc.
- Turn lights off when you are not using them. Be mindful about your energy use. Do not leave water running or other electronic devices on when you are not using them.
- Decrease the use of machine dryers by hang drying your clothes. If you use the dryer try doing one large load instead of three small loads. Try to use the dryer at night or on weekends.
- Do not use K-cups. K-cups are the least environmental friendly option. Coffee machines or the French press are much better! The French press probably being the best! The K-cups create a lot of unnecessary plastic waste.
- Bring Tupperware to restaurants to take leftovers home. Ok, I know it sounds a little neurotic, but again… think about all the waste from restaurants in taking half a meal home! My mind just works like this.
- Re-evaluate personal hygiene products. This might be TMI, but ladies, tampon applicators? Really? Is it really necessary to use a plastic applicator for every tampon you use? Think about how much waste that produces. My humble suggestion is to purchase tampons without applicators, wash your hands well before changing your tampon, use your finger to apply, and wash well after application. In doing this you will GREATLY reduce plastic waste! Diapers are also killing our planet. I don’t feel I can talk about diapers as easily because I have not raised an infant. All I will say is… think about every child just in America, every time they go to the bathroom with a plastic diaper. Think about that landfill! That is a lot! Even if you were to reduce the use of plastic by using cloth diapers sometimes you would make a big difference.
Why does all this matter? Because there are more people living on this beautiful planet than ever before, and while that is wonderful, it must be sustainable. An overpopulated society that thrives on consumption is pointing to a future disaster if we do not wake up!
In truth, this list is just scratching the surface. There’s no way I could capture everything one can do to help our mother. However, it is my hope that this list offers a different way to think about your world and how you do things.
Come up with your own ideas and feel free to share them! If anyone would like to add to this list, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will keep evolving this and reposting it.
With Love and Gratitude,
Owner, Director, Teacher – Ashtanga Yoga Outer Banks, NC