How can we be sustainable consumers? We have another die warning from the UN on the climate crisis we are experiencing. Buying more stuff does not help the earth. If you need to purchase items, do it in a more sustainable manner. See below.
We don’t need to purchase to be happy. I went to see the new Fred Rogers movie. The messages are subtle, but say a lot. Rogers was a master at helping children to feel important. and to feel good about themselves. He thought television was an excellent educational tool, but had been ruined because it tried to turn children into consumers demanding things they didn’t need. As we enter the holiday season and a time of extreme consumerism read more about Fred and his philosophy here
Consumerism and saving money is on our minds. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society. Do you use an item for a short time then throw it away, and even worse we raise our children to get bored quickly from that item they just had to have. Again, we don’t need to purchase to be happy. This holiday, how can we be more sustainable and honor the season at the same time?
Join or create your own Friday climate march #FridayforFuture
Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid all plastic.
Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes come from consignment stores.
Give gifts of help, time and outside events.
Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
Buy nothing and save 100%. Reuse what you have!
Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
“I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.” Mother Teresa Only 9% of recyclables are recycled in the United States compared with Germany and Norway that recycle in the 60% range. Plastic manufacturers continue to create more plastic and push recycling. Unfortunately, recycling is not a sustainable option. I hope you will work hard to recycle your bottles, containers and paper waste because making things from recycled material is awesome and saves lots of energy and natural resources, but as consumers we need to also purchase items made from recycled materials.
A new paradigm is needed, we all need to reduce the waste and recycling we generate. Wasteful packaging needs to stop! Make it a priority in your life to reduce the waste you generate. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
First, cook at home instead of take-out. Yes, it is some work, but organizing to have a few meals made ahead or in crock pots can reduce lots of waste and be fun at the same time.
Always carry your reusable water bottle and reusable bags.
Be a smart shopper, always think how you can purchase less waste, especially plastic waste. Don’t purchase plastic or Styrofoam trayed produce. Many stores have cloth bags you can purchase for produce.
Shop in bulk and refill any bottles your grocery store makes possible. Food coops have lots of refill options.
Choose products out of recycled material if you can find them.
Never put plastic bags in your recycling cart, recycle them at your local stores.
Greta is an awesome spokesperson for the world, and she has a global audience. I focus locally. What can each of us do to make a difference? So instead of getting depressed, make an effort everyday to help the Earth: Take public transport, buy less, reduce plastic use and food waste, plant native plants and native trees, and reduce the amount of meat you eat. Each one of us can make a big difference!
And the letter from scientists to the world. “Mankind is still facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population,” they warned. And “scientists, media influencers and lay citizens” aren’t doing enough to fight against it,If the world doesn’t act soon, there will be catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery,” they wrote. Read the full report by thousands of scientists here.
We have a serious problem. 40% of the food in the United States is wasted, and 30% of food worldwide is wasted. What a ridiculous waste of energy, money and water. Read more here.
At the same time over 800 million people don’t have enough to eat, and more land is being cleared everyday for more agriculture. Rotting food waste in landfills creates methane gas that causes pollution. Each one of us needs to reduce our food waste. I have said many times this is one of the hardest things for me to deal with in trying to help our climate crisis. Reducing food waste takes constant vigilance. This week I came home from the farmers market with rotten apples and cucumbers. Being a more thoughtful shopper and buying just what I needed could have helped.
These are important facts we should be aware of, from the IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Food production causes 30 % of greenhouse emissions, 80% of global deforestation, and uses 70% of the world’s fresh water!
My advice for managing food waste and working for zero waste in my home:
1. First, be mindful of your perishables, use your freezer, buy in bulk to get just what you need, and become aware that gluttony is a form of food waste
2. I save celery tops, onions and raw produce waste to put in a stir fry or soup. One of my favorite things about cooking is how I can use leftovers creatively. I love making wraps, rice or quinoa bowls with food leftovers.
3. Expiration dates are not something I obsess over. Most of the time food is good long past the date.
Can we meet the challenge? Our planet is burning up, and where I live we are experiencing continual record rain events. Our world lacks sensible elected leaders, therefore, we all must act. If everyone does a little it adds up to a lot!
First, get out and march. The Global Climate Strike is Friday, September 20, create your own event or find an event near you here.
Next, be mindful as to how you can buy less and waste less. Pay attention to your trash. What can you reuse, recycle, donate, or avoid completely? How can reuse your food scraps? All of our actions matter!
Because of the extreme weather 7 million people have been displaced. This is huge and wars are being fought over displaced people. Climate justice will be an enormous topic of the future.
Thankfully, the media is starting to pay attention to our building crisis. Time Magazine, Reveal and PBS have done some outstanding segments.
“I have found meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.” Greta Thunberg, Swedish 16 year old activist
What can we do to have more meaning in our lives? What can we do to have a happier and healthier world? As I write this many places in the world are in crisis. It is flooding in Japan, a hurricane is bearing down on the United States and Bahamas. The Amazon, Alaska, and Canada are burning up, and Hong Kong is in political chaos, and many others are starving and face daily violence. This is all serious stuff, and even worse we are so lacking leaders with vision, with positive thoughts for the future. We need leaders that really care for our Earth and all the people that live here. It is stressful. We can all lighten our stress on the world by being aware of our actions and the impact we make.
Yes, many are under stress as is our Earth. I think the best thing you can do for your mental health is to be outside and find beauty in each day. Go for a walk, a bike ride or just sit on a bench. Search for quiet and beauty. Get out of your car, and unplug those phones! Everyday do something good for yourself, but also for the world, and for others. Our actions matter. Set some healthy goals for yourself and get outside for a walk as much as you can, take your nature-pill
The Actions for Happiness group has a calendar with good ideas, take care of yourself, and find better meaning in life. See below. Good luck!