April 22 is Earth Day, a day that we can reevaluate the impact we’re having on the planet both as individuals and as a society. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need but not every man's greed.” It is not difficult to take for granted how the earth sustains us with water, air, food, energy, and shelter. Sometimes we forget that the resources of the earth are finite. Gandhi’s point is that there is a difference between our needs and our wants. Recognizing that, we can all find practical ways to simplify our lives and leave a lighter footprint on the planet. We are all interconnected so whatever we do impacts all of us. Unfortunately, in the last hundred years, land, water, and air pollution has increased dramatically, causing harm not only to the environment but to our own personal health and quality of life. The extent of the damage is still being quantified by scientists.
On Earth Day, we can show our appreciation for what our planet provides us by recommitting ourselves to take care of the earth the very best we can and to help improve the environment for future generations. Our personal choices impact the environment and every choice makes a difference. Throwing away one bottle instead of recycling, or watering the lawn too long once or twice, isn’t the end of the world. But if we are wasteful day after day, year after year, those bad choices add up and take their toll.
Here are three important ways to simplify your life and help the environment:
The less we use, the more there is to go around, whether it’s energy from oil and gas or water. To conserve energy, consider using energy efficient appliances and lights, turning off computers at night, washing clothes with cold or warm water instead of hot, and adjusting thermostats one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. It really comes down to being conscious of our usage and looking for practical ways to conserve in our daily life.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reduce, reuse, and recycle isn’t just a catchy slogan. It’s a reminder that our choices have an impact on everyone. Countless trees can be saved simply by reducing our use of paper towels, paying bills online instead of getting paper statements, and recycling newspapers and office papers. Buying quality products that last longer or buying second hand products from thrift stores or garage sales are also good ways to consume fewer resources. Recycling cans, glass, and plastic containers all reduces what ends up in a land fill.
Modify Your Eating Habits
The yoga lifestyle promotes a plant-based diet primary for personal health, but choosing to avoid or reduce meat consumption can also have a significant impact on the environment. The amount of water and land needed to raise animals for food is astonishing, as is the amount of pollution it causes. With so many tasty and healthy meat alternatives available nowadays, there’s really no reason not to cut back on our meat consumption. Start with going meatless one day a week, and gradually increase over time. Your body and the planet will thank you for it.
So on this Earth Day especially, but on every day, be conscious of how our choices affect our health and the health of the planet.