Monday was Earth Day, a day to celebrate and honor the Earth no matter your religious or spiritual perspectives. At Pangaia Metaphysical Store we try our best to be as eco-conscious and eco-friendly as possible. Even when attending events like this past weekend’s ConStellation IV in Lincoln, NE. We used paper sacks for trash bags at our table and our store bags are made of a biodegradable plastic – we make it a point to tell our customers that.
Being eco-friendly is relatively easy, when you stop and think about it.
Don’t get styrofoam cups or wax coated paper cups or even one-time-use plastic cups at the convenience store when you buy a beverage. If you forget to bring your reusable, don’t panic. A plastic cup can be used more than once, but don’t think that is a viable alternative each time you go to the store. Most are made with BPA plastic and not only cause harm to the environment, but to your health. I have a small selection of reusable BPA-free plastic cups that I keep in the van and try to remember to use them or something similar every time. I also work my bills-paying-job at a c-store, so I use a mug that I keep there for one shift.
When making purchases at any store, keep the environment in mind. If you are buying drinks, are the containers recyclable and/or made of recycle materials? Are you using your cloth or reusable nylon shopping bags? Paper sacks are a better alternative, as long as you remember to reuse or recycle them later. I have a stack of paper sacks that I get from the grocery store when I forget the cloth bags. I use them to line my recycling bin and my trash can.
Speaking of shopping…. Be smart about your shopping. Plan your route if you have multiple stores to shop at and be as gas economical as possible. Better yet, when possible walk, bike or take public transit when doing your shopping. For me, there are multiple grocery stores between work and home, I think about that when I see that I am running low on something so that I do not have to make a special out-of-the-way trip to go to the store when I do run out. I usually combine my shopping with that of a friend who gets better mileage than I do, either buying some of her groceries for her or giving her some gas money to cover wear and tear on her vehicle.
We don’t just think about the Six R’s when Earth Day comes around, we should be thinking about them all the time. What are the Six R’s?
- Reduce: Cut down on the amount of non-biodegradable waste you produce. You can do so by following some simple steps, including the other five R’s.
- Reuse: When possible, reuse those non-biodegradable materials. Using plastic sacks as trash can liners is one option, when not recycling those plastic bags. Oder something from an online store, like Pangaia, and use the box it was shipped in to ship something to a friend of relative or to store things in.
- Recycle: Whenever possible, recycle things. If you drink soda from cans, recycle them. If you drink beverages packaged in plastic, recycle. After reading the paper or that magazine on the coffee table, recycle it.
- Replenish: Give back to the environment. If you can, compost your food and bio-waste. Might not be the most pleasant thing in the world to do, but it is so much better for gardens and lawns, etc.
- Repurpose: This one is easy for me. I have three cats, which means I deal with litter boxes. I usually buy the litter in plastic tubs. I use those tubs to scoop the used litter into. You can also use those tubs to plant things in if you do container gardening. You can also do that with 5 gallon buckets – check local restaruants to see if you can get their pickle buckets.
- Replant/Replace: It is spring time in the Northern Hemisphere, even if there is snow on the ground or in the forecast. That means many people are out planting their gardens. They are doing a fine job or replanting or replacing materials that they consume or use on a regular basis. Even if you don’t garden, you can do this step. Organizations like the Arbor Day Foundation provide saplings for homeowners to plant – or even invite you to come to a park or other scenic area to plant trees.
Those are just some of the ways to understand and practice the Six R’s. Use your imagination!
Recycling guidelines vary from city to city, state to state, etc. Check with your local recycling companies or services to find out what you have to do to make recycling easier for yourself and for those service providers. The company I use makes it real easy. I do not have to sort out most of my recyclables. I can put plastic, paper, aluminium and other materials into my recycling cart without worry. They do ask that I separate out my glass and place it in a special (provided free of charge) recyclable bag and that I do not put plastic bags into the cart. So what do I do with any plastic bags that come my way? I either reuse them or take them to a local grocery store that has a plastic recycling tub – these are usually made into flooring or other construction materials. My aunt’s family room has flooring made from recycled plastic bags, and her front deck has the same kind of material.
I’m not just thinking about recycling and waste control when it comes to environmental issues. I also think about what I put into my body. Many of us are familiar with BPA plastic and how harmful that can be to humans, animals and the environment. But how many of us are aware of the dangers that may be associated with genetically modified organisms (many of the foods we eat)? GMOs are all over the place. It is even difficult to avoid them when shopping organic. Remember, just about anything can be labeled as organic in the United States. Many of the so-called “health foods” are modified by science. Which is not always a bad thing. Some of the modifications are relatively good for us, but not always for the environment.
Your best bet for watching what you put into your body is to grow your own foods. Not all of us have the means or the ability to do so. Failing that, shop at truly organic grocers or farmers’ markets. There is no guarantee that they will be GMO-free, but the changes are much better when shopping them than when going to a big box store, even in the “organic” or “health food” sections.
I grew up with a health food store in the family. It was my mother’s dream to own such a business, so my father made it possible for her. For that I am grateful. Back in the early 80′s it was easier to know if your food was modified or not. Simply put, GMOs weren’t as common as they are now.
Tells Us What Your Growing is a song by our friend Celia. It reminds me a lot of how I grew up and what I have faced since then. After we moved to a new state for my father’s health ( had to get him closer to a good hospital and he wanted to be close to his mother) we no longer had easy access to the sorts of foods we could get at wholesale prices through the family store. That meant that we started eating more processed food stuffs and takeout. Neither of which is ideal for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I noticed a decrease in my metabolism and began socking on the pounds. By the time was 15 I was weighing in at close to 200 pounds. Not good. Now, at the age of 35, I am close to 265 pounds. I may be a tall man with a heavy skeletal structure, but that is not a healthy weight for me. At my age, it is more my fault than anyone else’s that I am over weight, I’ll admit that.
Hear the full version of Tells Us What Your Growing by clicking here.
Last summer there was a big hubbub about over weight Pagans all over the blogosphere. We even talked about it several times on our podcast channel (part 1, part 2, part 3) and in blogging. During one of the shows that one of our PMPChannel hosts did he was talking with a nutritionist. I called in and spoke with her explaining how I grew up and when I noticed a change in my body and my health status. She indicated that it was in part due to the kinds of foods that I eat, and my sedentary lifestyle. She said that moving from an organic, nearly vegetarian diet to a diet of processed foods and GMOs could have contributed greatly to my weight gain, health and other related issues. I’ll Sarah tell you about that kind of thing, as she knows a lot more than I do.
There is a lot more that could be said on Earth Day and being eco-friendly, but we want to hear from you. Comment to this post and tell us what you do to honor the earth and be more aware of what you do to Her and what you put into your own body.