Sustainability, Uncategorized

The Four R’s

Adults around the world have been learning all of their life, so that leaves plenty of information to get pushed to the back burner, or even forgotten altogether. This may seem elementary to some, but the topics discussed below are important because they are so simple. If we keep consuming at our current pace we will eventually not be able to have an Earth to call our home. So, let’s say hello to our old friends: reduce, reuse, recycle, and respond.

Reduce:

This is such an important factor of recycling… if we had all been doing this in the first place, we would not nearly be in the position we are now. Think about it: the more we do nothing (as in not using something), the better we are at it. How great is that? Talk about taking the least path of resistance! I’m not necessarily advocating laziness, but in a productive manner less is more.

If we reduce our usage of unnecessary items/goods, down the line there will be less made. You may be thinking “Why would I, one person, not doing something make such a big impact?” That type of thinking is terrible. YOU MATTER. YOU COUNT. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Odds are other people will have a similar mindset as you, which means you won’t be the only person not doing it. If enough people are making the conscious decision to NOT be doing something… that is making an impact and we will notice a difference over time! An example includes avoiding the act of using single-use items such as plastic straws, coffee pods, plasticware, to-go cups, etc.

Over time the reductions themselves will slow down the consumption of our natural resources. It’s basic supply and demand. If there is less _____ being consumed, less will be made.

Reductions can be made in many areas of life as we/I will learn on this blog in the future.

Reuse:

Finding ways to use items multiple times in the same or different manner helps the mind do what it does best… get creative! Wine bottles can be used to store olive oil. Boxes originally used to ship supplies can hold items that are going to be donated for good causes. Donating items themselves is committing the act of reusing, which makes it twice as exciting. Not only does donating declutter your space (as was discussed in last week’s blog), but it helps somebody in need too. Who loses in this exchange? Candle containers can be used to hold flour, rice, loose leaf tea, etc. Get crafty with it! 🙂  Repurposing items into art or decorative pieces around the house not only reduces the amount of new items entering your life that you don’t use or need, while giving you the feeling of something fun and new. Who knows, maybe you can even make some money from selling what you reuse as a hobby!

Recycle:

Taking necessary precautions to recycle and make sure the items are actually able to be recycled, as well as actually doing so, is incredibly important. If we are going to be using these items and not take the necessary steps to be responsible consumers and recycle them, it seems as if there is an accountability issue going on there. That is why we humans are in our current predicament of higher levels of trash and waste in our environment. This is a main component of a societal shifting movement toward the greater good.

Respond:

This simple act is a “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” kind of action. Responding can be as simplistic or complex as you can achieve. It can mean beginning to recycle your own waste, spreading the knowledge and expressing the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling, and responding; constituting a clean up in an area that was once beautiful natural land and is now filled with trash, etc. This can mean walking down the sidewalk and seeing a piece of trash (bonus points if it’s recyclable) on the street. Yes trash may go to a landfill, but if it is all contained to a focused area it can be tended to with less difficulty than if a plan was concocted and THEN it had to be sought out and collected for proper recycling or disposal.

With many options we have to help the Earth and ourselves, it’s just a matter of us individually opening our eyes and minds and realize the extent of our seemingly minuscule actions. That’s why this journey is so important. It takes a series of small actions to create a noticeable change over time. Big results will not be instantaneous, but think too of the instant gratification felt after dropping off your sorted recycling at the recycling center, or properly disposing of a piece of trash that is no longer on the ground. If you are one that likes to enjoy the work involved to get to the point of feeling gratification, educate people. Work with them, start a recycling program. Be you, in the most you way possible. There is not one right way to do this, and with your actions and ideas put together with others ideas, we will be even more successful in no time.

I really hope this post helped spark your creative side! Take a look around you when you’re out in the world and see how you can make it even just a hair better than when you got there. Have a fantastic weekend filled with enjoyable activities!

Sustainably yours,

Nicole

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