Yoga instructors and theorists tell you to focus on the here and now; that there is something special in each moment. But as you return from your downward dog today, there is real news to shift your attention to. A changing planet is upon us, it's all around, and it's happening now.
In fact, studies suggest that we're running out of some of the earth's most precious natural resources and that we'll need two planets worth of these resources by the year 2050 if current consumption trends continue. Other studies show startling statistics about the contaminations in our drinking water, the rising temperature of our earth's surface, the increased amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and the startling number of chemicals and other contaminants that we're all being exposed to on a daily basis.
But there's good news too. The smallest changes really do make the greatest difference and with your present awareness now focused on this moment you, too, can make changes to better impact the world around you.Go Local!
Knowing where everything on your plate comes from used to be the norm. Our grandparents knew the meat was from Tom's cows down the street, the potatoes from the backyard, and the corn from Mrs. Brown off the back road. Now our food travels hundreds, even thousands of miles to get to our plates. This creates a big problem when we are trying to reduce our footprint. The good news? Tom and Mrs. Brown are still there! In fact, there are many opportunities for you to get involved in the local food community. Try heading to your local farmers' market (find one buy logging on to localharvest.com) or visiting the 'local foods' section of your grocery store.
And think beyond just food when it comes to buying local. Do you know of family owned stores in your town? Keep the money in your community by supporting stores that are local to you.Green Your Diet
While a nice juicy hamburger is one of the best summer treats, having a "Meat-Free Monday" can save your waistline and the environment! Most of the agricultural land in America is used to produce meat, not plant products. What's wrong with that? It's all about the gas. That's right; cow flatulence produces methane gas which is actually 23 times more effective at retaining heat than carbon dioxide. Domestic animals contribute more to global warming than every type of human transportation combined! So, eat your burgers and hotdogs on the Fourth of July... but try to have a vegetarian day at least once a week throughout the rest of the year!Get Moving!
In the United States automobiles produce over 20% of total carbon emissions! How can you help? Dust off that bike, walk, or carpool to offset your carbon footprint. Though only about 2% of Americans are able to walk to work, there are probably other daily errands that could be done without getting in the car. Remember, it's about the small changes you can do every day that make the biggest difference.Clear the Skies
Air travel has an immense impact on the atmosphere due to the harmful gases airplanes emit and the fact that these gases are released in the upper atmosphere where the impact of the gases has a greater effect than on the ground. Instead of traveling cross-country for a meeting, use technology instead. Skype and other teleconferencing means are not only green, they're practical! Meeting virtually cuts back on the costs, time, and hassles of travel. If you're still going travel overseas, check out Terra Pass or Climate Care to offset your carbon emissions by funding clean energy and carbon reduction projects across the globe. It's another easy way to continue doing the things you love without negatively impacting the environment!Invest in Clean Energies
For maybe the first time ever, wind turbines and residential solar panels are affordable options for greener energy on the home front. While the price tag of a wind turbine can be steep (it'll run about $6,000-$22,000) it will usually recoup its investment through utility savings within six to fifteen years. After that the electricity will be virtually free. Not only that, wind turbines and solar panels increase property value and in the long run can protect against unpredictable increases in utility rates.
And if you can't install a wind turbine in your own backyard or solar panels on your roof, contact your energy company to see if you can pay for your electricity to come from clean sources.Watch for Leaks!
While you are watching for drips at the sink or checking for leaks in the toilet don't forget about the window! A better insulated home is a more energy efficient home. What can you do? If you are in the market for new windows buy an Energy Star brand which lower solar gain and are better insulated. Your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without having to crank the thermostat. And all of that amounts to an $126-$465 annual savings in your energy bills! Not ready to replace your windows? Caulking or running weather stripping around your windows will provide additional insulation.Power Strip!
You've probably heard talk about the "phantom draw" that happens when appliance suck energy even when they're turned off or not in use. But if you're like most people and you can't get the hang of going through your house unplugging everything, the best solution is to put electronics on a power strip. Stand-by power can account for as much as twenty percent of home energy use. Power strips allow you to save money in one switch!Plant Native Trees
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use it as their energy source, thereby producing oxygen for us to breathe! Plant one or two in your backyard, neighborhood, or local park. And get your community or college campus involved in creating a more beautiful town by hosting a tree planting day or weekend or by signing your group up for Plant Trees Now!, an Arbor Day organization that is expanding awareness and education for the need of tree planting and care around the world. The Arbor Day Foundation is a great place to start for all your questions on what trees to plant, where to plant, and how to care for them. Exploring nature and all its wonders will really make you appreciate the importance of protecting it!Use Your Power
By constantly consuming recycled or fair trade items you create more demand for these types of products. Show the big companies that it is time for a change and try buying the bulk of your goods from sustainable businesses. To go even more green host a swap party! The idea is that everyone can bring out-of-use goods to swap with their friends. One seemingly out of style shirt for you could be another person's new favorite item. By exchanging everything from pants to pots you can save money and create less consumer waste!'Good Search' It!
Don't have time to spend countless hours planting trees or fundraising for another green movement? Donate to your most special environmental causes by surfing the web! The search engine, GoodSearch was created in 2005 to help people donate to good causes without much effort. The search engine works by donating 50% of its revenue to the charities and schools designated for its users. All you have to do is type in the organization you want to donate to and search away!
BONUS. Get Talking!
Start communication with those that are interested in helping the planet like you. Get involved with local community organizations, school groups, or start your own type of meeting. Share your ideas with like-minded folks and get inspired to try things you haven't thought of. The more people involved, the more support and ideas!