A new decade begins and, in its passage comes the realization that this isn’t just another year and that in the full 10 years of the 20’s, change will happen. What the past decade taught us, is that we can never take anything for granted. NOT the planet. NOT our work. NOT what we eat, and NOT the wonder of our planet.
To those who became (let’s say) “woke” and more socially and environmentally sensitive, during the last decade, the message was clear: To be and do better, to lead a simpler life, to live more sustainably and to move forward into a new decade – one that promises to impact the way we live, eat, and consider what it is to be human – and the responsibilities we have to our planet.
In this regard, voices are being raised to extreme volume to save the planet. And hopefully throughout the fog of denial and yes, ignorance, action will emerge.
Being conscious now is to take care of self by living right and doing the right thing.
This means making efforts to be more planet-conscious. As has been written, we may belong to the future, but the future is not ours, it’s our children’s and grandchildren’s. The steps needed to make that future healthy must be taken now.
A few thoughts on how this could “be” in 2020 and beyond:
Empathy is the moment you lose self as the centre of the universe and perceive the things around you, outside of you, in a way that you begin to relate. Whether you feel empathy for others, or animals, empathy is the kickstart to taking action.
Be less of a consumer.
Frances Moore Lappe said it: “Once we cut the automatic but learned connection between buying stuff and pleasure, we can actively cultivate new connections - a sense of freedom as we shed draining habits and discover new pleasures in seeing and creating beauty all around us.”
Be more plant-based.
The good news: plant-based diets are becoming more and more mainstream. By the end of this decade (if not already) chances are seitan, tempeh, tofu, plant-based cheeses and oat milk will be kitchen staples your kids won’t think twice about eating while the 20th century diet of dairy and meat might be deemed a luxury or even cult diet.
Be less wasteful.
It’s calculated that 58% of food produced in Canada is tossed out every year in our homes and supermarkets. Hopefully this will change this decade as “waste” is diverted – either to food banks, is otherwise repurposed. Meanwhile don’t avoid the “day old” or “ugly fruit” displays at the supermarket – there are some great deals – and keep a close tab on your own wasteful habits. Apart from food, being less wasteful also means changing wasteful behaviors like running water while you are brushing your teeth — runs up your water bill and pours a precious resource right down the drain.
Be a conscious consumer.
Hard to get it right but it’s worth educating yourself and trying. Some people avoid brands because they are owned by global brands that go against their principles. Others avoid certain ingredients – say palm oil which has caused the deforestation of rainforests and brought death to the animals that live there. The benefit: conscious consumers that reject brands or ingredients help create change and hopefully a more sustainable world.
Be motivated to create change.
Last year saw the power of people raising their voices for the environment, for workers. Change happens when people’s dissatisfaction or discontent becomes manifest. Whether for animals, the environment, or peace, sign a petition, go on a march…
Be thrifty – Thrift becomes the new glamorous way to live.
When your friend’s snazzy new jacket was a “find” at a clothing swap or vintage store, it’s time to consider thrift “glamorous”. As an addenda to this – be willing to Rent over buying (anything from that special dress to a power tool), and also Repair – a patch on a pair of old jeans becomes a merit badge.
Be An Up-to-date Recycler.
What we can and can’t recycle gets updated all the time. Fill in the blanks in your knowledge and do better. Also remember fabric and wearables – the biggest choke in landfills – has become part of a circular economy of reuse. Find out the organizations accepting your worn clothes and donate for repurposing.
Be More Sociable.
If your friendships are carried out via FB, IG and Twitter than consider arranging more face-to-face occasions. No need for an expensive dinner party/ meal out. Games nights can be a low-cost way of keeping in touch with groups of friends while also introducing friends-to-friends – thus widening your social circle.
Sometimes that small detour on the road can lead to something marvellous so metaphorically leave the road you are on for a bit and be curious.
Simply – when all things seem dark around you, remember to turn your lights on….This may mean being the light in someone’s life, or reminding yourself of the light that can be reached through stillness, meditation, or, simply opening your eyes to a different way of living.