Modern life is full of fun toys and fast pace, but those conveniences come with a price: namely, the impact that our lifestyles have on the earth and its inhabitants, including ourselves. In honor of Earth Week, here are some suggestions for how to curb your enthusiasm and tread more lightly.
Explore “Slow” Movements
From slow fashion to slow food, more and more people are embracing the Slow Movement, a conscious and voluntary choice to slow down the pace of modern life in order to reconnect with others, reduce our global impact, and simplify in order to enjoy living. The premise behind the Slow Movement is that by taking back our time, we are able to reconnect with what’s really important to us. Side effects of the movement are an increase in organic food production, reduced waste, and joy!
Incidentally, this week also happens to coincide with International Downshifting Week. Organizers of the event invite us to “slow down and green up.”
Whether it’s your own garden, an urban one, or the neighborhood compost pile, getting dirty is good for the body, mind, and soul. Gardening burns about 300 calories per hour and research out of the University of Washington points to green encounters as a source for improved mental health.
Not sure where to get started? There are excellent resources on starting a garden and composting available online with a quick Google search (you can read my blog about composting for some additional insights). For those in cities, consider guerrilla gardening in order to reclaim land for food and flower production!
Being frugal isn’t just good for our wallets—it’s also good for the earth. Overconsumption taxes our financial health, our physical health, and the health of the planet. We generate a ridiculous amount of waste in the US: about 4.6 pounds per person per day according to the EPA. By choosing to be more frugal, we have the potential to impact that amount considerably.
Many of us don’t question our choice to purchase the latest gadget, visit the newest restaurant, or buy the seasonal bargain. We associate frugality with being cheap, hoarding, and other maladaptive behaviors. However, we can begin to practice frugality by making more conscious choices about how to spend our money and how to maintain our existing possessions in order to reduce consumption and waste. Looking for inspiration? Check out this blog about voluntary frugality and this article about one woman’s lifelong practice of a frugal lifestyle.
This Earth Week, we invite you to consider rethinking the impact you make by exploring simpler choices. If each of us makes small changes in the way we live, we all stand to benefit!