unplug your phone
Unless your house is powered by solar energy, more than likely you’re using fossil fuels when you charge your cell phone. A vast majority of electricity generated in the U.S. still comes from coal fired plants. Check out this cool guide to learn how your state gets its electricity. Way to go Vermont! Take note that Bernie Sanders is that senator from Vermont who’s running against Hillary Clinton for the presidency, so at least he has a track record of actually helping reduce the impact of climate change.
eat your leftovers and your vegetables...and compost
40% of the food we produce here in America is wasted. We produce four times the amount of food needed to feed our population. Most of it ends up in the landfill and generates “3.3 Gigatons [billion tons] of CO2” each year. It is considered the third top carbon dioxide emitter after the U.S and China. As for fruit and vegetable scraps that you’re not going to eat, compost them and create rich and nutritious soil that can be used to grow food.
adjust the water setting on your washing machine when you’re not doing a full load
Not all water recycling is created equal. Some water we suck out of a river is recycled, but eventually it ends up polluted and back in our waterways causing ecosystem deterioration. Only 1% of the freshwater on Earth is accessible to us. It’s our most precious resource, other than the air we breathe.
Vote with your dollars
Before you buy, ask yourself: “What is the intention behind this purchase?” Each day, most individuals in the U.S. create 4.5 pounds of garbage. Our spending habits are making it nearly impossible for future generations to survive on this planet. As Peter Polson, the Founder of Tiller, so eloquently put it, “If we want to change ourselves, and if we want to change the world, then we should focus on where we vote with our dollars.” Spend money on experiences instead of stuff, buy from brands with integrity and move your investments out of coal.
practice courage in small moments
It takes courage to express compassion to a homeless person. We have to open our hearts for a moment and be vulnerable enough to acknowledge this person in a time of desperation. It takes courage to be a good parent. It takes courage to admit your imperfections. To apologize. To talk about your mental health. To answer the phone when someone is in need. To ask someone if they still care. To get engaged and to break up. To take care of ourselves first. To face our fears.
I share these stories because it keeps me accountable. Reflecting on the past year and reading what I wrote this time last year, I see the great times and good deeds, but I also see the times where I was not able to express compassion, love, truth, or peace. There were times when I felt only anger and jealousy. Times of depression and sadness. Confusion and pain. I am so grateful for those times too. I am still painting the picture of “who am I?” because I think there will always be some facet of myself to discover. Those moments of confusion and anger taught me something every time. They shape me and give me opportunities for growth.
I will still experience those emotions and I don’t think the intent of life is to banish them. I think it is to accept myself for who I am, and face the fears behind them. In every circumstance where those uncomfortable emotions arose, there was some vulnerable fear lurking in a dark corner of my mind. Brene Brown is teaching me about trust, vulnerability and courage and how they are intermingled.
My hope for this year is to be gentler with myself, more courageous in times of strife, stop postponing joy, and practice gratitude more often. Wishing you all a year of prosperity, peace, and love.