Global Village

I uncovered this when I did my birth chart recently and found it pretty amazing:

Neptune is in 19 Degrees Sagittarius.
You, and your entire generation, are heavily involved in investigating and idealizing foreign and exotic intellectual systems and religious philosophies. The most extreme ideals will be pursued with gusto. You will be at the forefront of humanitarian attempts to improve the lot of those who are in need of assistance. You will be comfortable with the concept of the “global village.”

This connected with me intensely, as its something I struggled with in my previous career as a Shoe Designer – the idea of a Global Village and all the effects of the various choices we make as consumers. I worked for various companies at the mid-tier (aka mass market) level that produced their products in China. While I greatly enjoyed the experience traveling, eating and learning about other cultures; I had a really tough time with the global ethics of it all. Not just about the workers and their rights, but the extreme amount of waste put off by these factories and ultimately the short lifespan of the final product. Shoes and clothing do not break down in landfills. And contrary to many people’s attempts to prolong the life of these items by donating to others, most are not taken and end up in landfills.

We live in a society where there is a constant drive for commodity freshness. It’s a hyperspeed “Keeping up with the Joneses” and the worst part about it is we are encouraged to glorify in disposable items – clothing, shoes, personal care products, technology, and packaging. One time use or short-term use products are on the rise, however few companies have a recycling plan that corresponds with all the waste. Many other countries already subscribe to a sustainable lifestyle model, but America has yet to roll out a green model.

Food is just one element of the sustainability issue – not only with produce waste, but the amount of meat grown for our society and the environmental implications associated with this. I made the transition to a plant-based diet to help alleviate some of the pollution and live a more sustainable life. I would love to have the opportunity one day to educate people on the global scale – not just with clean, plant-based eating; but living a more sustainable lifestyle. This is a multifaceted ongoing issue, but I hope in reading this it encourages you to take a look at the products you are using and see what you can do to help. We as the consumer, have the power to make change. If things do not sell, the companies will stop making them. I’ve outlined some small, but impactful suggestions to get you thinking about where you can start and what more you can do:

  1. Bring your own bags. Not just to the grocery store, but everywhere you shop – the farmer’s market, department store, book store, etc. If you carry a purse, backpack or briefcase; put a small fold-up bag in it so that you always have one. Plus, carrying around bags with retail store logos on them is you paying to do advertising for them! Instead, invest in some great cloth bags that you enjoy and carry with pride knowing you have contributed in a drastic reduction of waste. Use small cloth bags for produce (or none at all)and bulk bin items instead of the plastic bags provided. My friend, Julie of BYO Long Beach, makes great canvas bags of all sizes. Purchase some bags on her site and get the added benefit of knowing you are supporting a small business.
  2. Use reusable glass containers. I have so many glass jars of various sizes to store dressings I make, nuts, beans, grains, etc. I buy them in bulk here and when I buy a product that comes in a glass jar, I tend to keep the jar for food storage or as a simple vase for plants or flowers.
  3. Get and use an aluminum water bottle. You know you should be drinking over 60 ounces of water a day….that’s a lot of plastic water bottles being thrown away. Stop the cycle and start refilling your water bottle. Amazon has some great ones here.
  4. Stop using products with toxic chemicals. Sadly, most commercial products contain many chemicals (ever flip over a bottle and struggle trying to pronounce the ingredients? Not a good sign). Not only is it better for the planet (think about all the residue going down the drain when you shower), but it’s better for you too! Skin is your largest organ and absorbs anything put on it (soap, lotion, shampoo, perfume, etc) very quickly. Check out these vegan, gluten-free personal care products by Arbonne, a company that bans about 2000 ingredients (compared to the FDA’s 11).
  5. Educate others. If you’re a parent, teaching your kids is the best step in carrying sustainability on to the next generation. Otherwise, start the conversation with those around you. So many people don’t realize the impact they have on the environment and the small changes they can make to help. People don’t know what they don’t know, so just by sharing with your local farmers market shopper where they can purchase reusable bags is a great start!

I hope many in my generation have the same sustainability wish for our Global Village as I do and are willing to make changes to make it so. As cliché as it sounds, it is true – We only have one Earth. We are all on this planet and must work together to keep it alive and thriving.

 

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Much love & nourishment to your body & soul.

xo, *j

 

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