GUEST BLOG BY STEFANI CHAN-WRIGHT
Perhaps more than at any other time in human history, our attention is now being drawn to just how interconnected we are on this earth. The pandemic has high-lighted critical issues like climate change, plastic pollution and our global supply chain--and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is more important than ever to breathe consciousness into our daily lives. The pandemic has forced many of us home, and given us more time to reflect on our fast-paced, our need to achieve and consume more, and the resulting impact on our lives, bodies and the planet.
One of the silver linings of the past year for many is a greater appreciation for nature; we’ve seen foxes roaming city streets and enjoyed walks outside to relieve stress. And while many are suffering from stress and anxiety as a result of pandemic uncertainty, social isolation and economic shutdown, others are experiencing increased wellbeing from slowing down, spending more time connecting with family and loved ones, and incorporating more restfulness into their day-to-day lives.
This restfulness is a potent antidote to fear and anxiety, and essential for us to incorporate into our daily lives.
When we spend our days rushing from one activity to another, we simply do not have the time, energy or inclination to pay attention to what we are doing, and why we're doing it. We simply don't have the time to evaluate our choices and to see if there are better, more sustainable options. However, taking the time to pause and reflect can guide us toward our own inner wisdom of making choices that bring us to a place of harmony within and without.
It is easy to feel helpless when we think about melting glaciers or oceans full of plastic islands. We often don't know where to start, or if our actions will even make a difference at all. Yet, individuals can have a profound effect, simply by influencing others with their intent and actions. After all, a forest-worth of trees can start from a single seed. If we choose to live our lives with simplicity, integrity and mindfulness, we start to notice that we can reap many benefits from being in harmony with nature, because we start to see the interconnectedness between all life. We are not separate from nature, nor from life itself.
Here are four simple ways you can incorporate more sustainable choices now, and carry them with you after the pandemic subsides:
1. Mindful consumptionMahatma Gandhi made a very simple and powerful declaration that “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed”.
Now, more than ever, what is needed is a move towards simplicity in all facets of life. We have been conditioned by carefully crafted marketing and advertising campaigns to attach our self-worth and happiness to our possessions.
This does not mean that we should live austerely, forgoing abundance and the pleasures of life; rather, it means that we can redefine what abundance means to us, and examine what truly makes us happy. Oftentimes, it's the simple things that make the biggest difference, such as a walk in nature on a sunny day, time spent with loved ones, or a good night's sleep. Good health, gratitude and a feeling of peace and contentment are some of the most profound indicators of abundance.
We can also make more mindful choices by supporting small, local, ethical and environmentally conscious companies. We can choose products that are made sustainably, and food that is grown organically with regenerative agricultural practises.
2. Growing some of your own food
The corona virus pandemic has led us to realize how fragile our supply chains are. One of the biggest concerns that many people face is food insecurity, and climate change will only serve to worsen the issue in coming years.
One thing we can all start doing that will benefit both us and the planet is to start regenerating our soils by composting our food waste, and even trying to grow some of our own food. If you’re new to gardening, don’t worry—you can start small with only a couple plants in a pot. Don’t forget to water them! If you use bunches of fresh herbs, you can plant the leftover roots.
Growing your own food is empowering, fun, and super healthy; no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers to worry about. Not only does this benefit you, but the soil it’s grown in benefits too, since no harsh chemicals were added to it.
The next step would be to take your food waste and turn it into beautiful, rich compost which you can add back into your garden.
One of our favourite items that we carry at Ahimsa Eco Solutions is the Urban Composter, a mighty kitchen composter that breaks down your food waste, producing rich compost in as little as six weeks, allowing you to keep all the nutrients onsite to grow healthy, organic veggies!
3. Reducing our use of disposables and single-use plastic
Single-use and disposable plastics were introduced to society as a means for convenience. They are often used for minutes, if not seconds, and then disposed of without a second thought. For years, we all thought we were doing the right thing by recycling, which absolved us of having to think about these items ending up in landfills or even worse, in nature.
Unfortunately, it has recently come to light that much of our recycling (which used to go to China) is ending up in the oceans or polluting country sides all over the world. Plastics include endocrine disruptors, which if ingested can affect our hormones and health and have been shown to have devastating effects on animals and marine life. Zero Waste and packaging-free shops have been popping up to help us reduce our consumption of plastic packaging and reusable products such as cups, bags and cutlery that we can bring with us can help avoid disposables.
My husband Wes and I founded Ahimsa Eco Solutions after travelling around the world, and witnessing disposable plastic items littering remote beaches and roadsides. We were moved to do something to help, so we created a line of reusable products made from upcycled, repurposed materials.
It may be impossible to avoid plastic altogether, but it is certainly possible to cut down as much as we can. And one single reusable item can displace thousands of disposable plastic items over the course of its lifetime!
4. Reducing pollution and toxins
It stands to reason that whatever we do to the planet, we also do to ourselves, and if we make more mindful choices to consume food and use products that are chemical-free and non-toxic, this would also result in greater health for ourselves and for the planet. This goes for our food choices, our cleaning products, and our health and beauty products. Unsure where to start? if the ingredients list includes a bunch of long chemical words you don’t understand, it’s best to look for something else.
If you see “fragrance” listed in the ingredients, best to skip it—fragrances often include cancer-causing phthalates, which are added to nail polish, hairspray, aftershave lotion, soap, shampoo, and perfumes to help make the fragrance linger. Skip the processed food aisle and stick to whole, natural foods grown locally and organically wherever possible. In the words of Michael Pollan, "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much."
Try implementing these 4 steps as much as you can now, and I guarantee you will want to keep to them as our lives return to some version of normal!
And use code NIYAMA10 to save 10% on Ahimsa Eco Solutions products until April 30th, 2021.