Being green is not only about a list of external tasks, such as changing light bulbs, using your own cloth grocery bags, or switching to reusable water bottles. Green is a way of being, and living, that emanates from the inside. Living green stems from a consciousness of oneness and compassion that naturally drives us toward making better choices for both the planet and ourselves.
When we understand and fully appreciate the idea that we’re connected to everything around us and act accordingly, we are naturally green. Our environment influences our well-being and, in turn, we influence the well-being of our environment. When we live from this place of oneness, we instinctually make choices that are nurturing to ourselves, to those around us, and the earth. And if we bring this awareness to the everyday—to each of our daily routines—we will find creative green solutions, practices, and new habits that fit our personal values and suit our lifestyle.
It serves us to think of going green as a mindset and a way-of-being rather than an end result achieved only after we learn to live “off the grid.” It’s easy to get caught up in the green frenzy and rush to buy and do “green” things, but similar to a crash diet, we are bound to only get short term results. When adopting any new habit, it’s usually helpful, easier, and more sustainable to work from the inside out. So before rushing out to buy, or do, a bunch of external tasks, we can first slow down and take time to turn within. Reflect on our habits and lifestyles and get creative about living more simply, so that we have the space to bring our awareness to our connection with our surroundings and consciously create a waste-free exchange and compassionate relationship with the earth. One key is to look for easy ways to go green, which are many times better for us and the planet.
True transformation and long-lasting lifestyle changes result from a shift in consciousness. When we make green choices from a new place in consciousness—a place of authentic connection—our green choices are just an extension of who we are and what we value.
Below are some things we have become more conscious of and some new habits we have adopted since bringing our awareness to our connection with our surroundings.
Use less and buy less. We have found that the simplest way to live a greener life comes down to using less and buying less. We need a new paradigm for how much stuff we truly need in our lives- not what advertisers and marketers think we need. I have started asking myself a series of questions before I buy something to help me determine if I really need it.
When I do choose to buy, buy green. Be a conscious consumer: I take my time with my purchases knowing that it is a valuable use of resources—both my time and energy and the planet’s. So I want to make sure each purchase is healthy, eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, functional, high-quality, and long-lasting. I try to support local companies that are responsible and give back to their communities.
Not wasting food. I realized, particularly with young children, that we waste a lot of food. It takes a tremendous amount of resources to provide the food we eat. We now: rarely eat takeout; share meals at restaurants; serve tiny portions on our plates (interestingly this has also had the benefit of getting the kids to eat more); cook less food and/or serve family style; keep the food in the pots so we are more apt to save and eat leftovers.
Avoid common toxins and pollutants in our homes. We have many habits focused on keeping our home healthy and when we do buy things we are very careful to make sure they are healthful choices. For tips about creating a healthy home click here.
Spend time in nature for recreation. Many activities such as hiking, biking, or playing on the beach are generally free and do not use resources.
Carrying my own bags and reusable water bottles. We rarely ever buy bottled water anymore. Our whole family uses the Klean Kanteen reusable bottles.
Shop at farmer’s markets. Shopping at the farmer’s market has changed our life! I was tired of shopping and cooking, but the fresh, delicious produce at the farmer’s market has me feeling inspired. While it is not the same as growing our own food, it does make me feel more connected to my food. The food carries a different energy from the farmer’s market. Going to the farmer’s market is now a family ritual and the kids love it. It is local, organic, we save money, support local farmers, and the food tastes so much better and lasts longer.
Make my own cleaning products. Buying vinegar and baking soda in bulk covers most of our cleaning needs. It is healthier and uses fewer resources. For tips about making your own healthy cleaning products click here.
I would like to compost so no food goes to waste, but have not tackled this yet. My green way of living is certainly an imperfect work in progress, but I am engaged in the process. We would love to hear any ideas you may have. Please share any of your green habits, lifestyle changes or a new awareness. We are all in this together!