Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, for Earth’s Sake


I clearly remember rolling my eyes on more than one occasion when my mother reused the Wonder bread bag to wrap my sandwich or when we used the jelly jars for things that had nothing to do with jelly. Back then we weren’t even talking about recycling when she washed and reused the foil and those Styrofoam trays from the pork chops– all we knew was that if you reused it, that was less you had to buy.

Today there are more conversations about conserving, recycling and saving the planet and we are discovering that if we’re not careful, trash will take us over. Before we began recycling I noticed how much trash my husband and I generated. One Saturday I realized that this was just our trash—how many other folks were generating this much stuff every week, every month, every year?

Think about how much water we use/waste. From everything I know, water will be the new “gold” in the future. It will be the entity that wars are fought over, the bargaining chip for countries whose clean water supplies are scarce. Think about how precious our water supply is.

Think about how much good, clean water goes down the sink daily when we brush our teeth, shower, wash dishes, wash clothes, water the lawn–then consider how many news reports we’ve gotten lately about floods and droughts in other areas. A few years ago Flint, Michigan had a severe problem with its water supply and the long term effects are still unknown.

We are not bad people but bad habits are driving our inattention and abuse and we must decide today that we’re going to do better.  Experts believe that it takes 21 days to form new habits so please commit to do at least three or four earth-friendlier things on my list to make a difference in your home and in the environment:

  • Reuse your towel at least two times, and switch to a low-flow shower head.
  • At the restaurant, if the server brings you water, refuse it if you never drink it. If you receive water, be kind to your body and drink it. The following statistic prompted this suggestion: researchers found that the average American eats out close to five times a week and about 315 million Americans eat 260 meals at restaurants each year. If each person receives six ounces of water and it goes unused, they estimated a total of 3.8 billion gallons of water per year is wasted. Add another 16 billion gallons to wash the glasses and the total comes to 20 billion gallons nationally—enough to fill 31,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Need I say more?
  • Make sure the dishwasher and washer are full before you run them. Instead of turning on the dryer for one item, throw in a few more.
  • Request an energy audit from your utility or heating/cooling company to see if/ where you’re wasting energy.
  • Use real plates and glasses instead of paper ones for your beverages and snacks.
  • Keep your reusable grocery bags in the car so they’re always handy.
  • Wet your toothbrush, turn the water off, brush for two minutes, then rinse.
  • Buy smaller quantities of food so it doesn’t expire before it can be consumed.
  • Look for the “reduced for quick sale” items at the store and enjoy yummy food at a fraction of the price.

Changing habits takes time but if we each give our best efforts, together we can make THE difference. In 1855, Native American Chief Seattle of the Duwamish people, said “Every part of the earth is sacred.”  And so it is. Let’s treat it that way.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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