Denial is NOT Just a River in Egypt
The first practice to cultivate resilience is to accept what is given. Denying reality will never produce the variety of potential responses that are more life-giving and productive.
Here are two areas that all of us must not only acknowledge but look at our individual actions and collective actions.
Hoover Dam, the nation’s largest reservoir, is facing the biggest water shortage in its history. The effects of years of severe drought and temperatures pushed higher by climate change are striking along Lake Mead’s retreating shorelines near Las Vegas, where the growing “bathtub ring” of whitish minerals coats the rocky desert slopes. Climate change is the result of a rise in atmospheric temperatures that have caused everything from severe drought to punishing hurricanes.
The earth’s carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 4 million years, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CO2 is ultimately the product for carbon-based fossil fuels, deforestation, agriculture, and many other practices. “But the ultimate culprit is fossil-fuel emissions,” according to Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In short, unless we drastically cut CO2, we’re entering a climate danger zone.
My granddaughter Clare Dearixon, armed with her degree in environmental science and sustainability, offers these wise thoughts:
Reduce and Reuse before Recycle
As a society we have been led to believe that recycling will solve all our plastic problems. Recycling should be our last resort for dealing with unwanted products. Something that I have tried to bring into my household is the idea that before I even think about recycling, I first think of how I could avoid the product altogether and then how it can be reused. If I come to the decision that it cannot be reused and I have already become the owner of the product, it then gets tossed in the recycling. A reduction mindset is a great way to limit the waste coming into and going out of a home.
Eat less meat
This is one of those ideas that tends to get some backlash, but I am the kind of environmentalist that would never force an individual to make any changes, instead educating on why certain changes could be beneficial. In this case, reducing meat consumption can greatly reduce an individual’s carbon footprint and in some cases, their health. The great thing about eating less meat is that it can start so slow, maybe one day a week or even just one meal a week where the dish does not contain any meat. That is one less meal or three fewer meals that aren’t adding to the environmental impacts of certain meat industries.
Turn off the tap
Turning off the water sounds so simple yet can sometimes be so hard to implement. I have been known to leave the water running while I am scrubbing dishes in the sink. Why though? I could easily scrub them all and then rinse them all and only keep the tap running for 30 seconds. This idea also goes for teeth brushing or face washing, the actual activities don’t need a running tap until it is time to rinse. This effort greatly helps in reducing the risk of drought. In many areas of the country, we are seeing a depletion of freshwater resources, and turning off the tap for just a few moments during the day when it would typically be on, means that the water is going to someone or something else that needs it more.
I couldn’t decide between driving less or buying second hand as my fourth idea, but in this day and age, driving less is not necessarily accessible to many individuals. Buying second hand doesn’t just need to be focused on clothing. I personally have purchased most of my kitchenware and gadgets, furniture, and decor from local thrift stores. In doing so I am not only supporting a local business, but also cutting out the emissions related with manufacturing new tables, dressers, clothing, and plates. All these things already exist in the world, there is not a need for the constant creation of new and newer products every year.
You can follow Clare on her blog post: https://claredearixon.wixsite.com/simplysustainable
PS: Yes, I am prejudice. She’s adorable in many ways!!