Most of us have watched at least one, if not multiple, documentaries on different environmental topics. Just think of the methane-emitting, polluting, highly unsustainable meat industry, coral bleaching events leading to a great number of fish losing their habitat, significant loss of biodiversity due to rainforest destruction to accommodate the unethical palm oil industry; with its CO2 emissions and human rights violations as a direct consequence.
I could go on like this, talking about the Pacific Garbage Patch but my intentions are not to discourage you. We are all trying on different levels. Some eat more local, plant-based and organic, some walk and ride a bike to move around, most of us recycle and compost and some do all of it and more. It all matters.
For me, it was easy enough to call Carney’s (now GFL) and ask if I could have a smaller garbage tote. (I know I am getting a bit old when I get excited about watching a tote swap in my driveway). But you’d be surprised how inspiring it becomes to be a small tote keeper.
You then start being more mindful of reducing the trash that gets picked up and brought out of sight, out of mind, at the Squamish Landfill. You’ve seen it’s vertical expansion over the years. You’ve recently learned it was going to be expanded some more, horizontally. And you really don’t like that so you write this message hoping to inspire someone else.
Another helpful action to reduce waste was to think hard about what I purchase for my family. In order to not over-consume in this world of cheap, fast and easily delivered goods, I choose not to be influenced or manipulated by big corporations. It feels like a healthy dose of power to buy locally and meaningfully. Keep in mind that products can’t be recycled, even packaging is not as recyclable as we once thought it was.
Close your eyes for a moment, then picture all these images you’ve seen in those documentaries. Ask yourself if you want to be a part of the reasons why our planet is such a mess by the time the generation currently in nappies will be looking at their grandchildren. I know I don’t.
As a globally dominating and destructive species, we slip away from the essence of balance because of the power over nature we gave ourselves.
Forgetting, along the way, that we are a part of this World, not it’s master. We need it but it doesn’t need us. The cost of keeping up with an ever-growing demand for natural resources to build our phones, fuel our cars or feed livestock, in the name of the economy, won’t be one money can buy in the end.
This balance, falling one step behind each time modern societies take one step “forward,” is a strong foundation for our lives to be comfortable, let’s not forget that.
Imagine for a moment the first settlers that set foot in “the new world,”; what if they had wanted to know how the people there lived in harmony with their surroundings rather than impose their ways.
It takes time to change our outdated but oh- so -convenient ways. I never want to give up trying to change and adapt for the greater good.
That’s what I’ll continue to teach my children.
I remember hearing something that stayed with me since:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
I hope this will stay with you as well.