We only have one Mother Earth and we are her guardians, her stewards. To that end, I like to think in terms of the 7th Generation Principle. This principle taught by Native Americans says that in every decision, be it personal, governmental, or corporate, we must consider how it will affect our descendants seven generations into the future, so the land, mountains, rivers and oceans can still be enjoyed by them. Unfortunately, this is not embraced by most governments and corporations, and a lot of people in general.
My prior career as an environmental consultant made me more aware of how man is impacting the earth and the purpose of this blog is to educate, encourage and perhaps inspire changes in practices to live more sustainable life. I want future generations to be able to swim in near-by lakes, drink the water, breathe fresh air.
The three R’s of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” Waste Hierarchy all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus, the three R’s save land and money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills.
Not all of our trash winds up in landfills; we recycle or compost more than one-third of our trash. We could do more; we only recycle ~14% of all plastic packaging and we discard 40% of the food we buy instead of composting it. There are an environmental costs for recycling however it clearly is superior to landfilling.
Instead of throwing things away, think about giving them to someone else or re-purposing them. Consider using cloth napkins and plates and cups Instead of disposable plates and paper napkins.
Reusing and recycling are important but “Reduce” or waste prevention should be the number one priority. By thinking more consciously about your everyday habits and developing new routines you can make a difference. A few suggestions you can do:
- Cut plastic and single-use items out of your daily routine
- Carry BPA free water bottles and reusable coffee mugs and stop buying bottled water
- Save grocery bags to reuse for other purposes and carry lightweight reusable bags to replace plastic shopping bags
- Reduce food waste and food-packaging waste
- Shop from Bulk bins
- Bring reusable container to restaurants if you’re likely to take home left overs
- Recycle and Compost all you can
- Compost tree trimmings and leave grass clippings to decompose into a natural fertilizer
- Recycle everywhere – your closet, your home office, old electronics.
The link below is to a County by County Guide to re-cycling in Metro Atlanta.
Look for future blogs on sustainability, green building, and other environmentally friendly practices.