Over the past decade, I’ve taught in yoga studios, libraries, natural food markets, and adult education districts. While I cover topics like nutrition, skincare, chakra balancing, and mindfulness, there’s one underlying theme: reducing our footprint on our planet.
It’s the root of everything I do (pun intended).
Here are my student’s Top-10 Sustainability Tips from my teachings:
- Start Reading Labels. Until you discover what’s really in your food, you’re a victim of clever marketing. You don’t have to be an expert in chemistry to ace this one: if it’s over three syllables and you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! (Yes, there are some healthy ingredients some can’t pronounce, such as quinoa or acai, but you get the idea. Most dangerous chemicals are more than 3 syllables.)
- Buy Organic as Much as Possible. Check EWG’s annual dirty dozen list. The Environmental Working Group has resources about GMO’s, the dangers of Bayer/Monsanto, and what commercial agriculture does to our planet. Start with 1-2 organic foods and slowly increase your quantity as your budget allows. Consumer demand reduces the overall cost of organic products; you’ll find the cost to be comparable to conventional foods when you buy in-season.
Be sure to sift through the pros and cons of GMO vs organic foods—Monsanto spends millions on clever marketing and hires trolls to post false information and discredit those of us in opposition. We know you cannot “feed the world on GMO crops,” as they say—there is no decrease of food shortage since the introduction of GMO crops in the 90s.
- Support Local Farms, Food Co-op’s, CSA’s, and Small Businesses. Our average meal and household products travel over 1500 miles! Buying local produce is more eco-friendly than purchasing organics from Chile or China. You may find your local farmer uses organic standards, but doesn’t have the resources for organic certification. (The cost and labor required for certification are extensive.) Survivability isn’t just buying organic… it includes reducing carbon emissions from product’s traveling great distances, while focusing on less-intensive farming standards.
Better yet, grow your own meal! Regardless of your location or house size, indoor, container, and rural gardens are increasing in popularity. Microgreens, countertop composting, and window gardens are 3 easy ways to help the planet using little space!
- Recycle Everything Possible; Reduce Instant Gratification. A 2014 article highlighted the ugly truth of K-Cups… every action of convenience has an inconvenient reaction. Baby steps have a huge impact on our world, even if it’s just ditching standard K-Cups for reusable filters. It’s inconvenient to drag your plastics to a recycling site and dump them, I know. But if you live next to a landfill, you see it differently. To quote the Story of Stuff, “there is no throwing things away… where is away, anyway?“
- Ditch Processed Foods. They destroy your health, and the excess packaging destroys the health of our planet.
- Reduce or Eliminate Eggs, Dairy, and Meat. I can list hundreds of reasons why it’s better for your health, the animals, and the planet. Marketers are paid to make you believe in cage-free, free-range, natural, etcetera. If you don’t KNOW your farm(er), consider the claims a lie (they probably are). There are more humane farms, should you continue to consume animal products. Find them and honor them. Animal runoff does more damage to our planet than all vehicles combined.
- Research Companies You Support. Visit their website and find their mission statements. If their mission and goals aren’t easily found or don’t line up with yours, ditch them. If you can’t easily find their Mission Statement, contact them for it!
- Apply these Same Rules to Your Skincare Products. Your skin is the largest organ of your body… it breathes, absorbs, and protects. What you put on the outside, goes to the inside. What goes inside comes back out, whether it’s through your skin or down a drain.
- Spread the Word About Your Progress and Findings. Celebrate your victories with others! Never get discouraged by a lack of response—you never know who’s affected by the information you share. It takes time to create a revolution… 20 years ago, organics were only available to a small pocket of “conspiracy theorists.” There are now thousands of us who’ve joined their fight, creating a shift in the system and increasing the accessibility of healing products.
- Reduce or Eliminate Medications and Vaccines. Research the side effects of BigPharma and support holistic practices. Look for Integrative Physicians and Naturopathic Doctors… incorporate both western and eastern healing philosophies. Most importantly, don’t believe the hype the media feeds you—they’re often funded by our sickcare system.
- Bonus Tip! Don’t Get Overwhelmed. Stay focused, start small. In this information age, it’s easy to get consumed and saddened by the state of our planet. Stay true to your values and keep an open mind. As one of my students said, “small steps lead to big changes!”
Do you have any tips you’d like to add? Feel free to comment and add them to the list!