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Big Changes

April 21, 2011

By Jennifer Chaky

This Friday, April 22, is Earth Day and surely you are seeing messages galore on ways to be better to the Earth. Even mainstream commercial product endorsements slip in an eco-message these days. And I say that’s great (except for the greenwashing ads that really are toxic products made to appear green). Anything that inspires you to be eco-conscious is meaningful and worthwhile—and above all, necessary.

So this Earth Day I am going BIG. I want to talk about—and hopefully inspire—some big actions that I think have the most far-reaching effects.

1. Transition to a plant-based diet. The benefits of this include:

  • Decrease in the biggest climate-change causing gas, methane. Methane is released from the millions of tons of animal waste from livestock all over the world.
  • Cleaner water. The sludge from animal waste and the waste from slaughterhouses gets washed into waterways and destroys their ecosystems. This waste also has a high concentration of antibiotics from the massive use of drugs in animal agriculture.
  • No saturated fats (which are only found in animal products) makes for a healthier human population, which in turn makes for a healthier planet. When people eat healthier they require less medication and become more active and inspired to make the world around them healthier.

2. Compost food scraps. Again, the benefits of this go further than you may think:

  • When heavy, wet food waste is diverted from the trash, the amount of garbage that gets put on the curb is markedly decreased.
  • When less trash is put on the curb, less fuel is needed to haul the trash and burn it.
  • When composted food scraps are mixed with yard waste, a nutrient-rich soil is made that can be returned to the earth. These nutrients are wasted when they go to a landfill or incinerator and the planet’s soil becomes depleted of these nutrients that grow our food and thereby nourish our bodies. So depleted soil =  depleted bodies. We need to put those nutrients back!
  • After composting food scraps, minimizing purchases of highly packaged items, and recycling materials that can be recycled, you will find you do not need big trash bags. You may even find you can use empty bags from other products to use as trash bags instead of purchasing plastic bags. What a savings on plastic waste that is! And any plastic that is avoided leads to cleaner air and waterways.

3. Meditate. How is that good for the environment, you may ask?

  • Meditation brings about a sense of calm and peace. This feeling is soul-filling and joyous. When our souls are filled we stop seeking ways to become fulfilled through shopping or overeating or other forms of excessive consumption that are bad for us and bad for the planet. It sounds simplistic, but meditating and finding that sense of calm is a cure-all that benefits self, society, and the whole planet. It’s hard work, but if it were easy, we’d already be in a perfect world, now wouldn’t we?
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