It’s Earth Week!
Some forty plus years ago Earth Day began as an activism-heavy event designed to teach everything from the impact of our consumerism on the natural system to ways to do our part as steward’s of earth greenness. It’s been an international event for a little over 20 years.
Women on the job
This Earth Week I hope you’ll take a few moments to yourself to consider your own relationship to the natural world.
Maybe it’s your privilege to own or live on a slice of God’s green earth in some version of paradise. What does that mean to you? How would you feel if its soil was poisoned? Its waterway despoiled? Its trees died off? Or your kids or grandkids couldn’t play outdoors?
Think of the whole of the earth as part of your little paradise because it’s all connected. The Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill during this week last year, and Japan’s tragedy recently have reminded us that eco-disasters don’t conveniently stop at someone else’s self-contained property line.
We’re in this together. We’re all connected.
Ugh, add saving the earth to my to do list, too?
Yet, there’s that overwhelming part. The sense that it’s burdensome to have to be conscious of the entire world when it’s hard enough just to get the kids trundled off to school each day.
But such is our lot. Our karma one could say. Our luck of the draw. The particulars of our time period, like it or not. And what we say to our kids applies to us here: “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.”
Five small tips
I don’t have the “save the world” recipe by far. But this week I’ll offer five small tips that can help you cut your consumerism incrementally in ways that could potentially add up to a lot if more people got on board. I also hope to save you money because as a woman you’re smart, and you expect results.
All five tips will be, I believe, easy to implement in your life. But each day will be slightly more challenging than the last.
After all, we’re talking not just about buying habit changes, but about lifestyle changes. And that adds up to cultural change. Friday’s tip will be the most challenging of all. Yet really, it’s a very simple tip.
In the can
Today I’m talking about juice cans. Just juice cans. Maybe you already do it. You know, undertake the arduous task of undoing the tin top from the frozen cardboard cylinder and make the juice yourself. So old school.
Those concentrates add perhaps 1-2 minutes per week to your drinking routine. Even busy moms and on-the-go career women can pause that long. We’ve just been convinced by the cultural ethos that our lives are an endless succession of frantic experiences from which we need relief in the form of grab-and-go conveniences.
That’s not only a lie, it’s very me-first, very alienated from any connection to the larger world.
We are connected to the larger world—in every way. And we can choose to believe that life is not frantic, and therefore, find it so. Such is the case with making some juice yourself. Or wait, better yet, it’s so easy a kid could do it. And they like that. Have the kids make it.
Because frozen juice concentrates are packed in compact cardboard containers for you to add water to at home they’re smaller to ship, costing less fuel. And they’re made with renewable resources rather than large plastic jugs which are steeped in toxic fossil fuels.
Of course, being frozen means a lot of energy goes into that side of things. But for me, their compact nature and lack of plastic makes the bigger difference (as opposed to the cardboard pre-made varieties which are a little better on energy and the environment, some say, than the frozen concentrates).
Frozen concentrates also cost less—by as much as $2 per container.
I hope you’ll do two things. Never again buy a juice container in a single-serving size (more about that tomorrow) and use the make-your-own varieties, juice them yourselves from raw fruit, or use the cardboard pre-made versions from now on in lieu of plastic containers.
One small step for woman, one giant step for womankind
This is a baby step. Hard-core environmentalists would say shipping OJ all over the country is just a no-no right out of the starting gate. That you should drink whatever juice is available locally and leave it at that.
I recognize that most people aren’t ready to go there, so I opt for encouraging small movement toward eventual change.
One other tip in that regard is that the “classic” juice serving size was always 6 ounces. Like all other American consumption, it’s now become gigantic. Consider cutting back to the 6 oz serving and regarding it as a luxurious delicacy to get exotic tropical juices in today’s miracle world of transportation. But it’s also damaging to earth. So find the middle ground where less is more. Juicing your own would be the best here.
If one day we all shrank back to the pre-supersized, pre-premade paradigm even our grocery stores would get smaller, feeling more human scale, using less energy, and providing food in its natural state that was more wholesome for us.
But as Lao Tzu said, “Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List