I hear the word “crunchy” used often to describe people who are advocates for our environment. I’ve especially heard it used in a negative way, but what is wrong with standing up for our planet? If one out of every 5 people became crunchy and made an effort to examine their actions and the consequences of them, can you imagine the differences we would make?
The process of changing your life can begin without you even realizing it. It starts with a thought, maybe even a fleeting one. The thought process began for me after learning about farming practices in the United States. After watching a well-known documentary on the meat and farming industry, venturing into the grocery store has become disconcerting. The meat aisle is just one area that brings these memories up and they are impossible to forget.
Interestingly enough, I was in the middle of reading a great book by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle when I enjoyed the above documentary. She writes in detail about the concerted effort her family made to grow their own food and shop locally for a full year. As a result, I have found myself chatting with each and every person in my life. After asking if they have watched the documentary, I ramble on with a cascade of facts I have read and documentaries I have watched to delve into what they may not know or what I can learn from the knowledge they have.
The consequences of humanity’s actions are too numerous to list here and my reaction is outrage. I have read numerous articles on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), honeybee losses, bee populations going down fast and more in the past couple of months. You can check this out if you want, its an article about the loss of honeybee and bee populations. Due to this information, I’m worried about the condition of this beautiful world we inhabit. In addition, I fear for its future and the future of our children.
If our planet is in distress, we, too, are suffering. The severity of the weather, drought in California, where much of the fruit and vegetables we consume originate, and the amount of waste we produce just for convenience are a few of the effects of our actions. Considering the amount of damage being caused, is it possible that anything I do could make a significant difference? I used to believe that any action I took was just a tiny drop in a gigantic bucket.
Imagine, for a moment, a drop of water continuously dripping onto the same spot over a period of time. As a result of the constant motion and the ability of water to change a surface, the appearance or shape of that area is altered. Contemplating this process, I finally realized that even if I cannot change the entire world, I could lower my negative influence on the environment. By considering each changed action as one drop of water, adjustments to my previous habits will add up quickly. Each person that does the same creates copious individual drops. Each drop adds to the drops before and alters our effect on the planet.
To that end, I’ve embraced the idea of becoming crunchy. My partner and I began by examining our use of energy to see what we could do differently. One of the first habits we adjusted was stopping the use of our clothes dryer. Line-drying clothes has positively influenced my mental health due to the relaxing nature of birds chirping and the sun on my skin. In addition, clothes, that were once too tight, now fit me since clothing is less likely to shrink when dried on a line.
Another step we took was to raise the thermostat in our house by 4 degrees and open windows on cooler nights. In a similar fashion, we read labels and shop organic as often as we can. We may not be able to buy everything organic, due to cost, but what we are able to purchase is one more drop leading to change. In fact, just being aware of the effects of our actions on the environment has encouraged us to consider the consequences and the benefits before acting on any decision.
Each person on this planet has unique circumstances. The few adjustments I have made may not work for you. For that reason, you must decide what you are able to do and what actions are necessary to lower your negative impact on the environment. A decision with this kind of significance should be a conscious one. With changes you want to make, becoming crunchy is possible for you, too.
What’s holding you back? Specifically, what can you do to improve your carbon footprint? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Buy only in-season fruits and veggies at your local Farmer’s Market.
- Plant a modest garden or a few potted plants of herbs or tomatoes.
- Raise the normal temperature in your home by a degree or two.*
- Collect rainwater to hydrate your plants with rather than the water hose.
- The well-known three R’s- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are a great place to start. Reduce waste, reuse everything you can, and recycle everything else.
These are just a few of my ideas. Please comment below with yours and let’s change the world, one person and one drop at a time.
Additional information can be found here:
Food Inc. documentary- https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book- http://animalvegetablemiracle.
Ways to Create Your Own Garden- http://www.weekendgardener.
Benefits of a Clothesline- http://www.sixfiguresunder.
*[Editor’s Note: Cassie is located in the South, where adjusting the air conditioning upwards by a few degrees will reduce energy consumption. For those in Northern climates, this works in reverse in the winter months.]