We impact the world around us through our actions in life. Much of the damage the world has endured comes from creating things. I am not as extreme as the title of my blog although I do look out at the world and I see that our material desires have created suffering. We “want” and therefore someone (indigenous cultures, or even our U.S. remote communities) or something (the environment) somewhere suffers for our seemingly insatiable appetites. So I feel that being green is more about lessening our load (reducing), and leaving a lighter footprint than it is about just buying more items eco-friendly or not. The switch to more sustainable brands/ items is important and typically the first step for people in going green but I encourage us all to look at packaging. We can minimize our impact upon the world around us through our purchases. As we may always need at least a few things, I encourage us all to consider packaging. Look for less, look for scantily clad; get naked!
Photo via littlemoandfriends
I started this process with myself when I started training to be able to teach yoga. It unfolded naturally for me because I realized that what I perceived as “needs” were really wants. The one desire I began to have strongly was that I wanted to tread lighter upon the world. I even went as extreme in my thoughts of moving somewhere tropical so I only had to buy yoga outfits and bikinis I met my boyfriend and moved to L.A. though.
The less we use the better. The less plastic (definitely) we use, the better. The less something has to travel, the better, as carbon footprints are an invisible form of packaging. Don’t be fooled, everything we do in life counts. The less packaging the better so here are some tips on how to strip it off and naked-ize your purchases.
Minimize – It feels good to rid yourself of things. Sort through your stuff and donate what you do not need, recycle it, send it to a safe disposal center etc. It’s a feng shui principle. Energy out allows new energy in. Starting with fresh energy will make you feel more clear when you are analyzing your life.
Look at small things – Example 1: Toothpaste- There are great options out there like Eco-denT which are packaged once, a recyclable bottle vs. a possibly unrecyclable tube and a paper box.
Example 2: Soap- maybe it’s time to start loving artisanal soaps. Most soaps come in minimal packaging. If it’s paper, the packaging can be recycled, if it’s plastic it’s minimal and possibly recyclable, even better some are already NAKED! There are wonderful soaps we can use for both our face and our body, example, Chivas (local to L.A. with minimal paper packaging and made with organic ingredients). Look into it. Go to Whole Foods to look upon their selection with wonder or pay a visit to your local green store.
Think about other items you use daily and how you can make them a little more naked.
Buy Local – I mentioned before, carbon is invisible packaging and we have often forgetten to put it into the equation of our purchases. So instead of buying carbon offsets for your products, just buy local!
Example 1: For clothing, buy from local designers! In L.A., there are many local designers. Buy from them! There is Covenant Green (organic clothes & custom reuse designs) , Viper Black Clothing, Meghan (who uses some interesting fabrics and reuses fabrics already available), and 7 Lightning Bolt artisan design group (to name just a few). For recommendations visit a local green store or boutique such as Visionary Boutique.
Example 2: Localize your food! You can do this by growing your own, buying from farms in your surrounding area/ counties at either your local farmer’s market, CSA (community supported agriculture or purchasing program), or even at Whole Foods (look at the labels here). You can also localize your food by patronizing small local restaurants that buy from local farmers. Chains sometimes buy in bulk and have food shipped from far away, which means that it has a large amount of that invisible packaging, carbon. And of course, organic (which means food is GMO and pesticide free) and local is best so look for organic labels in addition to local.
Make your own – Get naked by making your own products. We can make our own cleaning products, toothpaste, mouthwash, and air fresheners. Do a search online and look up how. I am experimenting with the “make-your-own” cleaning products (get back to you on that). I make a deodorizer out of a mix of organic lemons and organic vinegar for the cat bathroom. I have made my own yoga mat sanitizer out of filtered water, and several drops of both lavender essential oil, and tea tree oil. It’s fun. So get out there and get experimental.