I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend the Forward on Climate March last Sunday. The primary intent was to hopefully influence the Obama administration not to endorse the implementation of the northern tier of Keystone XL Pipeline.
There were 40,000 people there of all ages, all ethnicities—a truly a diverse group of people. While I believe each one had the overall desire to stop the pipeline, I feel they marched, too, for some additional reasons, personal and for the greater collective.
I marched for many reasons—the Earth, my children and grandchildren and generations to come—for everyone who is too busy, unaware, unknowing about the climate issue and for those who have no voice. Our dependence on fossil fuels is destroying the Earth and harming all inhabitants of this beautiful planet, our home. It is also affecting our climate, the air, the water, the land, our ecosystems in a detrimental way. We rely on the healthy state of all these elements and systems for our survival…and because I believe we are all connected, I am referring to the survival of humanity, the planet as a living being, the insect, plant, animal, bird, marine life as well as microscopic organism inhabitants.
I’m no longer interested in placing blame on anyone, any company, or party for what has happened to our Earth. We are all involved, whether knowingly, or not. And the time is now for each and every one of us to take responsibility for what is happening. The complex issue of declining health of all of us—the Earth, the Climate, Humanity, Plant, Animal, Insects, is mind-boggling and involves so many social, economic and political issues, institutions and organizations that it is no wonder that change feels so overwhelming and individual attempts seem miniscule. But, if each one of us takes steps to reduce our consumption of fossil fuel and energy, reducing our collective carbon footprint, then the impact becomes big.
It requires that we start looking at how we live our lives from a separated viewpoint of existence, and moving toward living our lives based on a collective viewpoint of existence focusing on our connectedness. Whether we know it or not, what we do affects everything, everyone else and what someone else does, affects us and everyone, everything else. This issue is at the heart of many of world’s problems today. I’m picturing a world where cooperation, compassion, generosity and connection are the ideals that underlie all motives in social, economic, political, legal undertakings and systems. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Let’s create that world!
Our consumptive ways must change. More is not better. Less is better. When I start to look at how I am living and recognize that I don’t NEED another one of this or that, or a better this or that, I begin to think and feel grateful for what I already have. I think about people who have nothing compared to me. I feel compassion for them. Having traveled to Central and South America with the opportunity to spend time with people who do not have much in the way of “things,” I have found their happiness in life, stunning…and then I feel compassion for myself and others, who have been brought up like me, with the illusion that “things” make you happy.
I am now starting to choose to be mindful of the things I use, eat, do and what the impact of that action carries. First and foremost, I am trying to remember to assess if the action would have any direct or indirect harm to anyone/anything individually or collectively. Is it necessary for my wellbeing? At what cost? Is there an alternative that creates a lesser negative impact, or makes a positive impact? I’m also contemplating the meaning of convenience as it relates to my choices. And what I’m finding is that when this word enters the equation, I have been conditioned to lean more towards the easier or convenient choice. This is changing for me as I am now willing to put in the extra effort to do what is better for all of us, our planet and the climate, ahead of the convenience.
It is a worthy process and also adds to the feeling of connectedness. It takes practice, and while I know I could do so much better, I am trying and will continue to do so.
Then I get to musing about the state of our climate, and our dependence on fossil fuels, our over consumptive desires and I think, what if every person on the planet, did just a couple of things, every year, every month, every day (to be optimistic!) to conserve, to clean up, to help, to remember the impact of their actions…it would change the world!!
So I thought I’d give some suggestions of actions that could be done, helping people to start to make this world a better place for all.
- To start, think of the impact on you, others, the Earth…and adjust your choice to have the least amount of negative impact or the most positive impact.
- If you commute to work, designate one day a month, or a week, to carpool, take mass transit if available, walk, or bike to work.
- Walk or bike to do errands, go out to dinner, or go to the movies. If you plan a little, you may be able to reduce the need to drive several times a week to do errands, i.e. grocery shopping.
- Turn off lights, electrical gadgetry.
- Put your thermostat down one or two degrees in winter and up one or two degrees in the summer for AC.
- Recycle as much as you can. Compost as much as you can.
- Flush only when necessary. (Takes a little time to get used to, but think of how many gallons of water are saved! And if you have 2 bathrooms, designate one as the “flush only when necessary” bathroom.)
- Turn the water off while brushing your teeth (Learned from my daughter when she was in Elementary School).
- Support local growers.
- Buy organic, if you can.
- Use biodegradable, eco-friendly cleaners, bath products, laundry products.
- Use cosmetics that aren’t animal tested, or better yet, contain the least amount of chemicals, or are organic.
- Ask yourself the question, “Do I really NEED this?” Then if you decide you don’t, take that money and save it to donate to an environmental, humanitarian charity, or do something kind for someone who needs it.
And on a larger scale, look at your travel. Can you combine trips, business with pleasure? One less flight a year? Airplane emissions have a large impact on our carbon footprint and worthy of inclusion. The type of vehicle we drive, is also important to note. Buying cars that are more energy efficient, and less pollutant in their emission would be an optimal choice if you are planning on buying a new or used car.
Do research about one issue, like Flouride in our water and toothpaste, chemtrails, tar sands, fracking for natural gas, etc. to find out where the erroneous notion of its benefits come from and take action—by telling your loved-ones, friends, by joining with other concerned people to make your intentions known thereby affecting change for the betterment of all.
This list could go on and on, but I thought these ideas might be food-for-thought and action. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I am very fortunate and grateful to be working for the Foundation for Global Humanity, and with its founder, Connie Cummings, whose consciousness, knowledge and generosity on so many levels has inspired me and given me the time and support to participate in the Forward on Climate rally. I’m certain we can make a difference in improving our carbon footprint, and thus helping to insure that future generations can enjoy the beauty and the bounty that this Earth so graciously provides. It begins with you and me, us, all of us…