Hocking Hills, OH –
The word "respect" can mean many things, but to most people it means to care for oneself, other people and other things. Respect makes one think of being honest, having manners, being helpful and kind. Examples might be opening a door for someone who needs help, using the words "please" and "thank you" or having good hygiene and eating healthy to care for one's body. For many people, their respect affects someone at home, work, school or their immediate community.
Respect can go a little deeper, affecting many people, wildlife and ecosystems, close to home and across the world. This week's green tip will focus on how decisions you make affect the natural environment, people, health and communities near home and far away.
With nearly every purchase and decision to do something, I think about how it is affecting people. How is my purchase affecting their health and their communities--from an environmental, social and economic standpoint? Also, in this thought process, I am thinking about what affect my decisions have on every aspect of nature from the vegetation to animals to insects to birds to aquatic life. I know, this can seem pretty deep for some, but when you've worked up to this thought process for 20 years, trust me, it begins to come naturally.
When one purchases organic food, coffee and tea, or clothing, grown without harmful chemicals, one is respecting oneself by not ingesting harmful chemicals. There is the respect for farmers and workers who don't have to be around harmful chemicals. Due to the fact that the air, soil and water are not contaminated with chemicals, one is respecting other people and wildlife that live in the farming and surrounding communities.
When one purchases eggs, meat and dairy without antibiotics, hormones, and animals raised free range, again one is respecting oneself by not ingesting the antibiotics and hormones. The animals are respected with more humane treatment, by not having them fattened unnaturally and by allowing them room to move and access to fresh air. With this decision is the outcome of cleaner air, soil and water, plus, respect for people and wildlife.
When one recycles everything they can, reuses items, makes purchases based on how recyclable and durable an item is, purchases recycled items, and conserves energy, one is respecting how resources are being managed in someone else's backyard, or their own. For example, if you are purchasing recycled paper, toilet paper and reusing wood items or purchasing locally made wood for building or furniture (harvested sustainably), there will be more forests for people and wildlife. Remember, trees provide us oxygen, help to clean the air, cool things off and provide habitat for a variety of animals, birds and insects.
When one makes Fair Trade purchases (some Fair Trade items include coffee, tea, clothing, chocolate, jewelry, art and accessories), one is not only helping to lift developing countries out of poverty. Fair Trade purchases also insure fair/living wages to workers, better social and environmental conditions. Respect can travel to the other side of the earth.
A sustainable community is a community whose soil, land and air are not polluted, whose resources are well managed, rich with wildlife and diverse ecosystems, who supports a local and regional economy (but, at the same time remembers that developing countries need our support too). A sustainable community is also an economically viable one.
Hopefully this week's tip will help you to mold your mindset a bit more so that you begin to think of how your purchases (or, sometimes, lack of) and decisions will help to improve the world's environmental, health, economic and social issues.
Byline Bio:Gwen Corbett, Owner of Bear's Den Cottages
www.bearsdencottages, Green Lodging
Helping Individuals and Businesses to Go Green