I have just returned from an inspiring hike with my wife Debra and our two daughters Dakota and Elli. Halfway through our journey we found a great rocky out-cropping to stop and have a picnic. From our vantage point we were all struck by the beauty and the blessing of our rocky mountain home. Living as we do, above 7000 feet, away from the urban “energy” it could be easy to forget that while we are enveloped by all this beauty we are at the same time in the midst of serious environmental challenges. The time where environmentalism is seen as a “left of center” movement is over. We are all being summoned to step up, take action and be the change that needs to happen for our planet to survive. The time to resolve to evolve is now. We are the ones who can choose to green up and revolutionize one or many parts of our lives by improving our health and the health of our planet in the process.
Begin simply by making a commitment to managing your daily living choices. Start with turning off the lights; electricity production accounts for more than 1.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — flicking the switch is a great start. Set an intention to move more with the power of your walking shoes, bicycle or whatever “non-fuel” mode you prefer. Notice where you can use your own power to get somewhere and get there feeling great! Use mass transit when you can and when you do need to drive, turn off the engine when you can rather than letting it idle. More than 10% of all of our fuel is wasted idling away. Set up areas around your community, like church, schools and wherever people may tend to idle and hang a sign encouraging folks to turn off their cars while they wait.
The good news is the consumption of pure water is way up; the bad news is that we are wasting and using far too many plastic bottles in the process. Using a re-useable water bottle that you can fill from your own filtered source is the best solution to this. You’ll save money and prevent more plastic crowding the landfills. When you find you have no choice but to buy a bottle of water, please remember to recycle it when you are done. Clever scientists are finding more and more ways to reuse the recycle the plastic stuff!
Remember the bumper sticker that said “Think Globally Act Locally“? Perhaps the most “local” place to be acting on is your own body. You can be making major strides with your health and the health of the planet with the foods you choose. This time of the year we set the tone for greener living by supporting local farmers and growers at the farmers markets. When you choose locally grown and organic produce you are being a positive change agent on many levels. First, when you choose organic you are voting with your dollars to support environmentally sustainable agriculture and doing your part in reducing the use of pesticides and other chemicals that pollute our air and our water. Challenge and inspire yourself to see how close you can eat to home; meaning that especially during these warm summer months there is often more than enough delicious local fruits, vegetables and other blessings close at hand. In other words, we need not buy foods that have been shipped, sailed, flown or driven thousands of miles to get to our table. You can also choose to lighten your environmental footprint by eating a more plant-centered diet and “lower” on the food chain. See how and where you can make a shift. It could be choosing to eat vegetarian one or more days a week or one meal a week. Research shows that being more plant-centered in your eating supports better cardiovascular health and lower rates for many types of cancer. You will find that what is good for the planet is more than likely also good for you!
I want to live more simply and I hear this from people all over the country. We are empowered in the full knowing that moving away from a lifestyle that is stuff-centered and towards a life that is more Spirit-centered the tendency towards conspicuous consumption loses its allure. Today, choose to stop and really take in the beauty of our planet, its vast amazing presence and power and realize that you are a link to its survival. Take any step that you can to move in the direction of its healing. Take a stand and share this knowing with someone else and together we can and we will co-create a community of healers and healing for ourselves and our planet!
Dr. James Rouse, ND
“To be fully alive is to be on fire with purpose.”
Dr. James Rouse is a naturopathic physician with extensive credentials in the wellness field including post-doctorate work in acupuncture, Chinese medicine and transpersonal psychology.