“Earth’s crammed with heaven… But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Planet Earth is unwell. The last few years have thrown up a lot of facts about global warming and worldwide pollution that cannot be denied or ignored. However, hope is not lost… from many things that I have read and heard; it is not entirely irreversible. And, if we all do our bit to be a little kinder to the planet, the future may not be quite so disastrous. Our planet is a miraculous thing, a wonderful, organic, life supporting mass that, as far as we know, is entirely unique in the Universe.
Planets change and life evolves, but the human race is crucial in the near future of Earth’s health. We may be a big part of the problem, but we can also be part of the solution. The changes need not be enormous… in fact there are quite a few everyday habits and choices we can adopt in order to help heal a poorly planet.
1. Bag Habits
Let’s start with something easy that everyone can recognise… shopping bags. The ‘bag for life’ has been around for a good while now, but has only recently been taken seriously. I am only a recent convert to the habit of always having a re-usable bag on me. Beforehand I would make excuses about them being cumbersome or ugly… fickle complaints I know. Planet Earth is choking in plastic, and plastic bags will only become a thing of the past when demand decreases. My new habit is simply to always have a tote bag on me… I’ve found some great looking ones that are so non-intrusive that they can fit in the back pocket of my jeans when folded. No excuse now!
2. Keep It Local
The importation of food from abroad, or even just across the country, has a huge environmental footprint. Not only do we live in a country that has a climate that supports crop growth and animal rearing very successfully, but recent years have seen a huge growth in popularity and support for local produce and local businesses. This is not only in reaction to a more ecologically friendly attitude, but also because the draw of corporate, ‘the-same-thing-everywhere-you-go’, retailers is becoming much less attractive than local, bespoke, exciting products. It’s a habit that benefits the planet and the community. Buy local!
3. Food Waste
I used to waste quite a bit of food. The biggest reason for this was that I didn’t plan my meals properly, and so bought random items that I didn’t utilise in my meals properly. Once I got into the habit of doing a weekly meal plan and carefully buying my ingredients, I wasted almost nothing. There is a food wastage issue in the west, which not only wastes resources but costs us all money that we need not spend. If you take just a little time to think carefully about your meal preparation each week, I guarantee that you will feel better about your wastage and your expenditure on food.
I have recently turned, what I call, ‘flexitarian’. I like to eat meat, but I most certainly eat too much. So, my new rule is that I have only products that comply with a vegan diet in my home. This does not stop me from having the occasional burger when I am in a restaurant… but it is a great way to considerably cut my meat consumption without eliminating is entirely. It is a fact that, if everybody in the UK cut their meat intake by half, the environmental damage currently inflicted by our demand would drop by around 70%. There is no need to eliminate these products, but the planet would be much healthier if we would all consider significant restraint in our diets.
5. Paperless Mail
The world is so digital now that there is really not a lot of need for most of our mail. Bank statements, gas and electricity bills and junk subscriptions can all be easily accessed in a digital format or cancelled… all it takes is for you to put half a day aside to sort it all out
By Chris Thomson
The way we eat and what we choose to put in our bodies is a big conversation these days. Here are some thoughts about how to approach your diet mindfully… Mindful Eating: A Beginners Guide
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