“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”
~ Gautama Buddha
One of the struggles we face once we become completely aware and awake about the challenges of our world is “what can I do?”…
I have struggled with this myself for some time now. The tendency of some is to jump and get rid of all what is “bad” in our lives and start changing things. Some things are easy to leave behind or change, but some take more time and effort or may be unrealistic for us right now.
In my personal journey, I have found that when I push myself too far, I get tired soon and tend to abandon the projects I started. The same happens if I want to accomplish many changes at a time.
Although we can’t individually “save the world” we can act as individuals first and then as a part of the community, to change things at local scale.
“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero
than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.”
~ Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha
I would like to share the things I have explored, little individual steps that I have adopted and some I want to adopt but still struggle with the how…for some of them I need time and external support, either because they require re-skilling or because they are not a realistic choice for me or my family at this moment. Feel free to share yours, contribute with ideas and suggestions and share this post with others who may be interested in “being the change you want to see in the world”.
- Consume less stuff: go for the real needs, reject the wants
- When buying something, think about the impact of the whole cycle: harvesting-manufacturing-use-recycling-waste. How each of these steps affects the environment, other people in the community and around the world and your own body?
- Repair what’s broken: if you don’t know how, ask around and learn
- Share the surplus and what you are not using every day: considering swapping parties to exchange or share clothes, kitchen and garden tools, books, etc.
- Don’t throw away, there is no “away”: challenge yourself to produce less “garbage” each week
- Reuse. Up-cycle. If no more uses are creatively available, then recycle
- Use your kitchen scraps: save the seeds, feed the animals, make broth, incorporate fruit and veggie scraps in cakes, compost the rest either feeding worms or at a big composting bin
- Harvest rain water and use it for watering your plants and toilet flush
- Re-use your grey water for the same used above
- Challenge your family to use less water everywhere: reduce shower time, turn water off when brushing your teeth, etc.
- Challenge your family to use less energy everywhere: turn unused lights off, turn the TV and computers off at least once a week, meet and use only one room to save energy, wash clothes less often, use cold water and full loads.
- Use a clothesline instead of the dryer. Leave the dryer for winter and big items only
- Create and support spaces for re-generation: gardens, forests, community gathering spaces
- Consider eating less meat and dairy products
- In all your personal and family process, take some time to analyze all what you do: daily, weekly, monthly. Are there gaps or challenges? Are there processes and products you can change, reduce, and adjust to make them lighter on the Earth, other people and species?
- Support local, small businesses who engage in sustainable and socially just processes
- Drive less, carpool or use public transit. Consider getting rid of your car and join a car co-op
- Consider working less and engaging more with the local community
- Consider changing the nature of your job to make it more “green”, sustainable and socially just: if you can’t change your employer or organization’s vision and mission, if they don’t accept your ideas and suggestions, consider changing jobs or creating your own business
- Expose children to Nature and natural processes
- Teach yourself and your children old skills: sewing, knitting, gardening, food growing, food preservation, carpentry, natural building, etc
- Stay fit: walk, bike, swim, stretch, learn and practice a martial art, etc
- Stay happy and spiritually connected with like-minded people: explore, join or start transition and activism groups, community gardens, community kitchens, book-clubs, firesides and hike-together gatherings
- Challenge yourself to become “less busy” and cut the “stuff” in your life that is not creating happiness, love, community, resilience and respect for all beings: what are the things you do or support but don’t add any of the above to your life?
- Don’t be shy or passive: you are important: stay alert, sign petitions, join meetings, join actions, support groups, “show up” and contribute…
- Challenge your family to think about these and other creative ways to reduce your carbon footprint and consumption and increase your natural and spiritual connection with the Earth and its inhabitants.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
~ Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha