Wildfires invasively escalating, glaciers melting, plastic suffocating the oceans, the coral reefs and other biodiverse areas being destroyed…. The planetary chaos and pain seems to be at an all time high due to climate change and the over-consumption of nonrenewable resources.
Those who care can often feel helpless, as if they aren’t able to make an actualized difference as an individual to such large-scale adversities. What is occurring on the planet now is most definitely saddening, but there is hope.
Hope arises once we come together in community to inspire, educate and remind one another that we CAN indeed make massive shifts within our daily consumption, practices, and the way we love ourselves.
Let’s go over the three main ways an individual can live in a more eco-conscious way within their daily lives!
Animal Agriculture, in the modern conventional approach that is predominately utilized globally for mass market production, is one of the highest contributors to environmental degradation. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
Through machinery and transport, fossil fuels are being heavily consumed and Carbon Dioxide is released into the air. From the animals, especially cows, methane is released from their bodily functions.
Carbon Dioxide and Methane are two powerful greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere in immensely high amounts daily due to animal agriculture, exacerbating the effects of climate change. Factory farms create an issue of improperly managed waste due to the high amounts produced daily and not being efficient spaces to dispose of it at.
This waste is then released into the land and also water, polluting them immensely with harmful bacteria, antibiotics and an overload of Nitrogen which have been causing toxic algae blooms in our waterways.
Also, water and land usage is completely being abused by this industry. Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually, just growing feed crops for livestock alone consumes 56% of water in the US.
On top of all of these negative impacts of animal agriculture, meat, dairy and eggs are also harmful to your health, offering high amounts of bad cholesterol, altering your body to become more acidic and clogging your arteries. A plant-based diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and mushrooms! It is abundant, fulfilling, and just as delicious.
I would recommend to first start eating more plants in your diet daily! For example, in the morning incorporate eating more fruits, smoothies, juices or avocado toast for breakfast.
Make a goal to eat more vegetables and greens with lunch and dinner every meal. Start to build a relationship with eating plant-based foods, buy a plant-based recipe book or attend a vegan potluck/meetup! I would then recommend cutting out one animal product at a time so it is not too difficult at first.
For me and many others, eliminating red meat first is very effective and it’s also the most harmful to the environment. Tofu, tempeh, and jackfruit are all delicious meaty plant-based alternatives.
Rather than using cow’s milk, you can use coconut, oat, cashew, almond, soy, or rice milk! Rather than using cheese or dairy products like cream cheese, you can buy vegan alternatives, my favorite brand being Miyoko's!
You can also make many amazing vegan alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs at home with plants, try searching for your favorite meals veganized online and invite your friends over to make a new meal with.
Also, look up local vegan restaurants to try food from, you’ll be amazed how similar and equally pleasurable cruelty-free food can be!
Another amazing practice that aligns you with Mother Earth is gardening! Gardening not only connects you with Mother Earth spiritually and offers you vibrant nutrient-dense fresh food , it also helps nourish her back.
When you grow your own food, you are shortening the food chain which is eliminating waste and the consumption of fossil fuels. Rather than a farmer across the world shipping the produce to the market for you to drive to purchase, you can go into your backyard to harvest your food which saves so much energy.
Also, most conventional farmers that sell to corporate grocery stores are using high amounts of synthetic fertilizers (more fossil fuels), toxic pesticides, and other agricultural practices that hurt the land like growing one crop in mass scale (monoculture) which is not beneficial for the soil life. When you garden, you can grow your food in an holistic way since you are growing food on a smaller-scale.
Composting your food scraps to create soil for your garden also promotes the healing of Mother Earth. When food scraps are sent to the landfills in plastic garbage bags, the food scraps are breaking down in an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment which releases greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, rather than storing those compounds within the soil as they are meant to do.
When you compost the food scraps into soil, you are able to feed the earth a lot of nutrients that help soil life thrive, therefore helping the whole ecosystem thrive.
"Healthy soil is the foundation to a healthy earth. Composting and gardening do just that!"
If you aren’t able to garden, at least do your best to shop on a more local level. Search for community gardens and farmers markets in your area to buy your groceries from. Many local small-scale organic farms will offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs where customers can come pick up a weekly box of fresh produce grown on that farm.
Shopping locally in all ways, such as purchasing soap or candles made from your friends or at a farmers market, is always better for the earth because you are not supporting national/international shipping needs or supporting giant corporations that create products and grow food in unsustainable ways to meet mass market demands.
Single-use, disposable items are a way of the past…. The landfills are full, leaching toxins from plastic and other metals into the land and waterways. The oceans are suffocating from plastics, especially micro-plastics which are the result of plastic “breaking down” after hundreds of years.
The fact is, plastic doesn’t break down; it becomes smaller plastic which still leeches petro-chemicals and a toxic compound called BPA. This is the simplest act of all, that all of us can start implementing today, right now, to help reverse the harm we’ve done to the planet.
Whenever you leave the house, grab your “ Zero-Waste Bag”! Fill a reusable tote bag with reusable utensils (bamboo or stainless steel are sustainable and easy to clean products), a reusable glass, some Greens Steel Stainless Steel Straws, to-go ware when you want to take home food from a restaurant, reusable coconut bowls, and a canteen!
When grocery shopping, you can bring reusable produce bags, shopping bags and even some stores have a bulk section where you can bring your own mason jar or bulk bag to fill up on nuts, grains, legumes, flours, etc!
With COVID-19, bulk sections aren’t accessible right now in most places. But when they are back open, bring your own jar. (Be sure to tare/weigh it first so the cashier doesn’t charge you for the weight of the jar or bag!)
Also, plastic water bottles leach chemicals such as the hormone-disrupting BPA into your water. They are bottled months or even years ago (sometimes internationally!), meaning the water has been sitting in plastic, losing its vitality, and becoming unhealthy & acidic.
I recommend buying a water filter for your home such as the Kangen and refilling your water into a Greens Steel Stainless Steel Water Bottle. Stainless Steel lasts a lifetime, does not leach chemicals, and keeps your drinks warm/cold for long periods of time.
We also offer Stainless Steel Water Bottles for Kids so you can keep the young ones hydrated, too!
I hope you feel more secure within the fact that you, as an individual, matter and hold value. You can make massive shifts for the world every day, within every moment.
Just the fact that you care, that you intend to do better, to learn and become more conscious heals the world a little more. Always remember that loving yourself is loving the earth, and once you do, the practices, food choices and lifestyle that aligns with loving Mother Earth come naturally and simply.
Take it one day at a time, stay connected with your community and do the best you can with where you’re at. I pray this article helped you have hope! Hope is everything.
Stay positive, stay strong, and Namaste fellow Earth Guardians! <3
Brielle Murch | Everything Earth Tribe