Essay: Being the Difference…Am I really doing nothing?

I genuinely believe I have chosen with divine will to be here, alive on the planet to be a part of positive change. In that consideration I have been trying to be more conscious about my occurrences in my every day life and actively trying to devise solutions to participate in that at least currently seem to be part of my solution process as a modern person who is concerned about the environment and my direct impact.

Sometimes these efforts seem like maybe they are really all a social denial and a way of just trying to excuse the destructive reality by pretending that any of this makes a difference, but I truly hope it does.

Although, sometimes I admit it all seems like masturbation for the environmentally concerned, doing these things because it makes me feel good, easing my guilt and allows me to think for the moment I am contributing less to the detriment of the environment…even though I suspect I am in fact contributing to the problem a lot living in modern consumer dreamland.But in spite of that I do hope the little personal movements described here in effect actually do contribute to a positive difference one that is not in vain.

RECYCLE

Obvious I know, but when I first moved to my street no one recycled. Then when we started to recycle suddenly a lot of the neighborhood began to do so.

Add to that as a result of our recycling we were able to go to the smallest trash bin; soon afterwards others in the neighborhood did the same:)

Still, I know I have a huge leap to make to really be a part of a sustainable, healthy, natural way of life but here is my humble list of where I am starting.Writing this has helped me think more directly about what is I am really doing and what it is I am not doing and possibly what it is I need to be doing.

I do try sincerely to recycle all my cardboard, paper even toilet paper rolls and packaging that I can. Including cans, plastics. Although, it does frustrate me to know that right now most of American recyclables are being shipped abroad because it is cheaper to send it abroad rather than actually pay for recycling here. But there are some amazing companies out there doing incredible things with waste recycling that are outstanding.

Either way in the long run I think these collections of recyclable refuse will prove valuable collections of materials for generations to come and the less future generations have to dig thru landfills to harvest the materials the better.

STYRO FOAM

I take all the Styrofoam pop corn from packages to mailing centers that can reuse them for shipping packages.

Doing these three things helped me get my garbage bin to the smallest size offered by the waste company and that saves money! But I admit I am still disheartened that I am throwing away at least 100 plastic size grocery bags worth of excess packaging and garbage a year with no idea of how to reduce these except to hope the companies whom persist in packaging goods with excess un-recyclable materials will stop.

FOODWASTE
I make sure all food scraps from meals and from preparing meals along with used napkins, tissues and paper towels are disposed of in the green waste bin as compost thus avoiding the gluttonous undecomposing contribution to landfills, which is rumored food waste, makes maybe 30% of.

Soon I hope to begin a worm bin so I can compost the organic matter myself and make a nice organic homemade fertilizer.

WATER CONSERVATION
I do not run the water when washing dishes but soap up my sponge and wash the dishes that way and then rinse collectively afterwards, thus avoiding running water while scrubbing a dish.

I save water when brushing my teeth by not running the water while brushing.

I put a sink sized bucket in my bathroom sink to collect any clean running water , like when I am just rinsing my hands or running the water to get hot water.This collected water I then use to water my plants with so that saves a lot of excess water use.

We installed efficient shower heads, and a kitchen faucet one to reduce water waste.

I try(although admittedly not all the time) to shut the water off while being in the shower to condition my hair.

I also put a brick into both of the toilettes in the house to reduce water waste when flushing. I admit when I pee I usually will let it be in he bowl hehehhe ;P

CHEMICAL REDUCTION
I make sure to use phosphate free detergents that are organic and certified safer for the environment that can decompose.
I reduce even the use of detergents by only filling the cup half full or even less rather than using a full cup.Even just a quarter, doing this I have not noticed my clothes to be any less clean. The product last longer and I don’t have to buy detergent as often which also means in the long run I consume less product and save money.

NATURAL PRODUCTS

Natural products. Everything from soap, toothpaste, conditioner, shampoo, skin care, makeup and styling products, household cleaners that I buy I try to make sure they are all natural and not tested on animals or made from animals. Some great ones I love: Alba,Shikai,Natures Gate,Kiss my Face, Dr.Bronners.

I use a natural wheat, corn and natural sand for my cat pans thus avoiding the weird clumping chemical laden cat litters which are polluting water sources and also actually very toxic to cats and other animals especially animals in the water.

ABOUT PAINT

When we painted our house we chose a real eco paint with 0 voc thus ensuring the paint has no hazardous, or volatile chemicals for humans or the environment and also the paint unlike most major commercial brands does not test or kill animals…That’s right most paint companies directly apply their concoctions in grotesque uses to animals causing severe irritations and lethal forced ingestions.

ENERGY CONSERVATION

I wash my clothes in cold water to save energy.

Also fortunately we have the space to have a small clothesline so at least some of what gets washed can be air-dried during the summer.

I take public transportation. But I want to start riding my bike more!

All our light bulbs are energy-efficient low-wattage or we use dimmer switches.

I also do not use a microwave, not only for energy but health!

ADDITIONAL

I try to use a cloth bags for carrying groceries instead of all the plastic bags, which are an extreme biohazard and actually banned in some European countries. Admittedly, I am still working n achieving 100 percent on this. But I do reuse these little bags for garbage rather than buying garbage bags, and I reuse them at the stores often.

I have also been thinking that because sponges seem to get too nasty to use before they deteriorate too much to even use and then must be discarded I was thinking I could start using natural loofah sponges and cut them into size and then use them and discard them in my green waste. UPDATE:I did this  a few months ago and it worked out great!Love it!

Anything and everything that can be reused and donated rather than throwing away we take to donation centers or give away.

I cut up the plastic holders for sodas to ensure that at least it won’t get tangled on some animal as I have gruesomely seen in nature shows…to birds and a lot of sea mammals, including turtles,otters,seals and more …this really happens A LOT!
I urge everyone to cut those up!

I take any electronics that I want to dispose of to electronic waste recycling centers.
Did you know cell phones are becoming a huge landfill problem?

…plus the batteries are leaking toxins in the water! Batteries can be handled by most electronic waste centers.

ACTIVISM
Power of the consumer is a huge activist action in a capitalist society where the exchange of products and goods for money determines so much of life as we know it.

I try very hard to be conscious about what companies are doing and try to make sure I buy products that are neither tested on or made from animals and making sure my dollar goes to companies that are making the considerate choice both for humane practices as well as least or non-toxic.

I try to pay attention and sign a few online petitions a month even weekly and sometimes a day. It takes just a few minutes and is so easy!
These are some good sources to get in on the loop of easy online activism.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/browse-petitions

http://www.hsus.org/campaigns_programs.html

MOST SIGNIFICANT
I believe the most important contribution is I am actively choosing to be a vegan and reducing my impact on the environment by not participating in the meat industries prolific deforestation practices to raise livestock which consume water, land and food stocks that otherwise could be used for humans.
The meat industry produces clear-cut fires to make room for livestock farmlands which disrupt indigenous cultures and the environment, these fires are so enormous and vast that they are viewable from space…literally setting the planet ablaze. The fires are destroying the rainforest and directly responsible for the extinction of entire species and with every fire we are loosing potential life saving medicines, life-giving oxygen trees and heating up the planet and directly contributing to global warming. As well as the slaughtering of billions of animals whom first suffer grotesquely at the cruel hands of men thus generating prolific manifestation of pain and suffering.Thanks to Mc.D and other notorious butchers the value of life gets cheaper every day.99Cents.This I refuse to be a part of.

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