Friday, February 22, 2013

Two types of Change

According to the Keep America Beautiful website, Americans generate 251.3 million tons of garbage per year. Where does all of this trash end up? Fifty-five percent gets buried in landfills, 33% gets recycled, and 12.5% goes to incinerators (1). 
It’s easy to see a fact like this and think, ‘that’s staggering…we should do something about it.’ But the real question is what, and how? And will you stay commited to that change in an hour or a week when that staggering fact fades away? Most of my decisions in the last 10 years to be more environmentally friendly, have been gradual habits that form overtime through strong meditation and staying inspired by the emotions that initiated the will to change. Yesterday, however, while talking to Amil about the sustainability of the food we were eating, I realized that there are several types of Change.
My method is very passive, and reactive. I think, we waste so much water, I’m going to react by putting a bucket in the shower to collect the cold water while it warms up for my shower. Or, Oh no, they gave me a napkin…I should use this napkin to the fullest extent possible to make it worthwhile for killing a tree.
In the last week or so, Amil has challenged this way of reacting. Instead of thinking, “man, I’m really enjoying this warm shower…I’m going to take the energy from this warm shower to do some good,” as I had been doing, he uses the water straight out of the shower in a very efficient way. He has cut out the use of paper products, giving back napkins and straws. He is making change through proactive decisions. I guess there was a time that I did that, but admittedly, I have been unconsciously sucked into the pleasures of convenience.
With my new intentions for change, and my current travels, I have developed some doctrines for consuming less while traveling.
How to consume less while traveling. 
Bring your own mug, silverware, Tupperware. It might seems like a lot to pack in a bag and carry around, but then you have a bag to put all the books you find, or the fun stuff you gather from free boxes…and, replacing paper coffee cup with a reusable coffee mug each day would save you 23 pounds of waste a year (2).
It’s lovely to support local economies, but do so sustainably… Watch for a while before you order food or goodies. In addition to choosing the most sustainable meatless local option, ask to dine in, without any doilies or garnishes such as paper plate liners. If you’re at a real trendy place, they might be able to serve you on your own plate. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world were like camping—bring your own, eat all you’ve got, carry out your own trash…?
Of course…the most sustainable option is not to travel, to live under a rock and eat the bugs that crawl under there, etc…but then we’re not sharing, growing, and being stewards of the earth.
1-      Trash Facts, the Artula Institute,

No comments:

Post a Comment