When I went to college I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was not until the past few years that I've really gotten more clarity on my dharma (purpose). I picked my major without much clarity. I've always been curious about how the human mind works and I had been dancing since the age of 5. My passion was in dance and art but my mom dissuaded me from attempting to make a living in the arts (as she had done). She told me that you end up making art for others as opposed to for yourself, and it's best to keep it as a hobby so that you can make the kind of art you want. (I have to disagree with her – but that's for another post). So I settled on what I thought was a sensible major in Psychology, with a minor in art and dance.
One of the classes that made a big impact on me was my environmental science class. The lesson that sticks with me was when we were challenged to go a whole week wasting as little as possible (water, electricity, trash). Since then, I've been so much more mindful about my consumption which has earned me the title "depression-era Dana" from my husband.
Environmental and personal health are areas I'm deeply passionate about. I strive to live in integrity with these core values through my daily habits andcoaching. I recently started reading Zero Waste Home and watched the movieNo Impact Man while preparing a lesson for my Empowered Living Course on Zero Waste as a way of incorporating permaculture principles into our lives. I got totally inspired to take my conscious living to another level. My hope is that it inspires you as well to take baby steps towards making a better impact with your life.
Below are a few easy, peasy ways to green your space. If the idea of zero waste scares you – you don't have to be extreme and toss your trash can. Here are some simple things that you can do that will make a difference, not only to the environment, but to your health and happiness. By taking actions that benefit more than just yourself, you live a life with more meaning and virtue, and that brings a better sense of well-being and joy.
Refuse single-use plastic. Did you know that enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times? Did you also know that recycling is NOT a sustainable option because it NEVER goes away? Plastic pieces on the ocean's surface now outnumber sea life 6-1 and make up almost 90% of all trash floating on the ocean's surface. What you can do: Arm yourself with reusable grocery bags (and don't forget them at home or in the car), a reusable water bottle and thermos, a glass or stainless steel straw, & reusable cutlery when you're on the go. Save any plastic bags that you end up with and reuse them (for example use them in the place of bubble wrap).
Save the trees! Buy a pretty set of cloth napkins and kitchen towels and stop using the paper equivalent. Use all sides of paper and envelopes for notes and lists, or your smartphone for lists (and you'll never forget your grocery list). Invest in a Kindle or start listening to audiobooks. Sign up for electronic bills and statements. Stop junk mail.
Get thrifty in your kitchen. I save all my kale and other tough stems and juice them. You can also save your vegetables peels and chicken bones and make broth. This is a beautifully written book that defines cooking with economy and grace.
Get creative with leftovers. I try to never throw out food. Repurpose yesterday's dinner for today's lunch.
Compost the rest! In No Impact Man, Colin has a worm box in his 5th Ave apartment in NYC. If he can, so can you. If you have a backyard you won't have to worry about fly infestation : )
Consign or donate outdated clothes. I love excellent quality designer clothes but I can't always bring myself to pay the inflated prices. The solution? Shop at consignment and thrift stores. I have a bag in my closet that is allocated for clothes that no longer "spark joy" and when it's full I make a trip to my local consignment store. Then when I shop I often have a credit that I can use towards what I buy!
Ditch the lotion. In my Ayurveda education I learned that our skin wants to eat oil. Because our skin is our largest organ and absorbs whatever we put on it, it makes sense that we would only put on it what we would eat. Lotion (even the natural stuff) is filled with preservatives and other toxic substances. I have a squirt container filled with almond oil and essential oils that I use for my daily skin moisturizing and massage.
Buy in bulk. Nuf said. Avoid extra packaging when possible. Bring reusable cloth bags with you.
DIY. Make your own salad dressing, sauces, home remedies, soap (my husband washes his face with a "salad dressing" of a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and olive oil), go no "poo" (shampoo with baking soda, rinse with apple cider vinegar).
Declutter, simplify, reduce. You probably need a lot less than you think. In my Empowered Living course, we declutter our houses and simplify our lives. Through this powerful process we get clear on what really matters and what brings joy. Being in a clean, clear space only surrounded by things that you love is simultaneously uplifting and grounding.
What do you do to live consciously and sustainably? What do you want to start doing? Comment below, I'd love to know!