Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Consuming Natures

How much do you consume? If you could measure and keep track of it, do you think it would make a difference in your regular consumption levels? In our culture of mass consumption, we are so accustomed to buying products and having products around for our "convenience", we seldom stop to think just how much we are consuming and how much waste we are producing as a result of that overconsumption.

Stop and think: do you really need to consume everything that you do? Challenge yourself to consume less of everything for one week. Keep a journal of the things you are doing without and ask yourself if you can do without those things permanently. At the end of the week, compare your reductions in consumption with your previous levels of consumption. Here are some ideas for reducing levels of consumption:
  1. Ride your bike or walk to work, the store, or to a friend's house. I've even heard stories of people riding their horses - don't it, if you can!
  2. When you do have to drive somewhere, combine trips to various locations that are in nearby locations. Instead of driving every day of the week, cut back your driving to 3 or 4 days a week.
  3. Use items over and over. Whenever you have containers, devices, or utilitarian items that can be used more than once, store them for later use to use again and again. This includes glass, paper, canvas, wood, metal, or tin foil.
  4. Replace plastic with paper, wood, canvas, cotton, glass, metal, ceramic, tin foil, or wax paper.
  5. Stop buying dryer sheets. Hang your clothes in the backyard to dry on a clothes line. If you do use a clothes dryer, dry them without anything at all. I have been doing this for years with no adverse effects to my clothes, and I am saving my family the hazards of toxic chemicals in dryer sheets (as well as $$).
  6. Wash your clothes all in cold water.
  7. Make your own clothing detergent.
  8. Make your own toothpaste.
  9. Use bar soaps for everything in your house including the shower and all the sinks. Stop buying liquid pump soaps. They are bad for you and the environment.
  10. Make your own shampoo and wash your hair less. When you wash your hair less, you find the need to condition your hair less frequently or not at all, thus saving your health and your pocketbook.
  11. Make your own cleaners, air fresheners, and deodorizers for home use.
  12. Stop using personal care products such as lotions, moisturizers, hand creams, and other similar items. Pay more attention to eating natural foods with whole, natural fats in them to supplement your health and support healthy skin, hair, and nails. Supplement your diet with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as raw butter, raw cheese, raw milk, raw nuts, leafy green vegetables, grass-fed meats, and fresh fish and fish oils from safe, deep-sea sources. If you must moisturize your skin, use fresh, real oils like coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond oil, and apricot kernel oil.
  13. Buy as many whole foods as possible, and less packaged and processed foods. You will save $$, your health, and the environment.

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