Cultivating sustainability is about taking a holistic view of sustainability to address the root of the world’s problems. To educate the community on their individual impacts and arm them with actionable items to mindfully build a more sustainable ‘Now’. Applying sustainability principles at the micro and macro level can have profound impacts not only on the environment but also with the simplest day to day interactions. Each action sets off a ripple effect. We have the choice to make it positive or negative.
If you haven’t checked out the video series #CultivateSustainability for the #10Tips10Days-see them here:
Let’s take a deeper dive into each tip and the impact that each carries. These are meant to get you started down the sustainable road.
Tip #1: Broaden your sustainability definition
You can’t go towards something that you can’t define. Every cycle is interdependent on another cycle. Like Lion King stuff, ya know…”the circle of life”. Can you continue to operate the way in which you are operating, indefinitely? Can nature continue to run it’s natural cycles with our current impact? Can my body run its natural cycles with my diet, with this amount of exercise, this amount of stress, etc?
Tip #2: Calculate your carbon footprint
Check out www.footprintnetwork.org. Quantify the impact that you are having. When you set goals, you need something measurable to track improvement. This also puts into perspective the magnitude of your actions depicted by the multiple Earths resources representation.
Tip #3: Partake in Meditation | Prayer | Introspection |Quiet Time | Physical Activity
Gandhi said, “If you want to change the world, change yourself”. Meditation, quiet time, prayer, whatever it may be, LITERALLY changes your brain. Neuroplasticity happens automatically, but by controlling your thoughts you direct and strengthen the changes in your brain. Like forming the new habits necessary for the remaining tips. Meditation can relieve anxiety, depression, and stress while reducing risk of heart disease and inflammation. I promise this isn’t mumbo jumbo, this has been shown in repeated scientific studies. Physical, mental, and emotional health are all essential to a sustainable life.
More compassion + empathy + mindfulness = more productivity = more global issues being solved and cooler humans to interact with.
Tip #4: Stop using single use plastics
Companies should DEFINITELY be responsible for this, but unfortunately they are slow to make changes here. By changing our habits, we can change companies.
Check out the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg for more insights into changing habits.
Tip #5: Lessen your meat and dairy intake.
This greatly impacts the environment, our water, land usage, our health, green house gases. Check out The Scientists’ Warning to Humanity. The first warning was issued in 1992 and signed by 1,700 scientists. The second warning, issued last year, was signed by over 20,000 scientists in over 184 nations. This second warning noted that shifting our diets to more plant based foods would be key amongst other changes in our individual behaviors.
Tip #6: Shop organic and local.
This impacts the environment, your local economy, your health, our water, habitats, less transportation and packaging = less greenhouse gases.
Tip #7: Evaluate your company’s processes and implement green initiatives
Companies have a significantly larger footprint and they also have a larger platform to bring about change. If you don’t know where to get started with sustainable efforts, I can help!
Tip #8: No fast fashion
Its not just as simple as buying a shirt. You have to look at the things that have to happen in order for you to get that shirt. I like the saying, “Every purchase you make is a vote for the kind of world that you want”. By supporting companies with your dollars, you are voting yes to their practices. If they partake in wholly unacceptable and unsustainable practices like sweatshops, do you want to continue to fuel that? Fast fashion is clothing that is made quickly and cheaply. To keep you constantly consuming. This also leads to millions of tons of clothing in our landfills.
Tip #9: Build community
One of the four principles of sustainability is that we cannot get in the way of other people meeting their needs. Even now, people are not meeting their most basic needs. Poverty must be eradicated if we are to truly live in a sustainable world. Be others focused. Think outside of yourself. An old proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. We need each other. From the six human needs, we don’t just WANT love and connection, we NEED it.
We only carry so much power individually but collectively, we can bring about great change. Look at Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Jesus Christ, and Buddha. Individually, these people weren’t superhuman. They only represented an idea or a movement, it’s the community around these people that brought the idea to life and that incited great change.
Tip #10: Question Everything | Do Your Research.
We need an informed populous. A new era of concerned, mindful, critical-thinking, worldly citizens. Think for yourself. One of the biggest mistakes our schools make is teaching students what to think, not how to think. Everyone is going to tell you something different and it’s up to you to determine what is acceptable and right for you from your experience and your research.
Now that you are on the sustainable road, you are probably ready to do more. Am I right?! Here are some bonus tips for you overachievers:
- Write your local government
- Run for office
- Host a meet-up | clean-up
- Vote with your dollars and purchases
- Be vocal
- Support organizations addressing the root of issues
- Start green initiatives and social good projects within your company