I can still remember when some friends and I were picked from our 5th grade science class to talk to younger students about Earth Day. We were given the task of telling the kids things you could do to be kinder to the Earth.
We talked about throwing away your trash instead of littering. We talked about recycling (even though our school wasn’t really doing much of it then). We talked about turning off the water when you brush your teeth and shutting off lights when you leave a room.
And those are all good things to do. But there’s something else you can do that is even better and I wish I had known it then.
Stop and think.
The best Earth-friendly thing you can do is to stop and think. Stop and think before you buy something. Stop and think before you get in the car and drive somewhere. Stop and think before you throw something away. Stop and think before you use products. Stop and think before you wash things down drains.
If we can remember to just stop and think before we do things, our planet will be a much better place. And we can save money too.
For example, if we stop and think before we buy something, we can consider whether we really need to buy the item at all. We can consider whether to buy the item secondhand. We can consider the resources it takes to make that item. We can consider alternatives that come with less packaging. We can consider the conditions of the workers who made the item. We can consider how long the item will last. We can consider what happens to the item after we’re done with it. We can consider the impact that it will have on the environment while we use it.
So many people are working on decluttering and organizing. They’re tossing stuff and buying containers to organize what’s left. But just think how much more money and time we would all have, if we took the time to stop and think before we bought all that stuff to begin with. Just think how much better life would be if we were non-consumers. Just think how much better off our planet would be if we didn’t “need” closet organizers and car organizers and desk organizers and drawer organizers. Think how much better the planet would be if we didn’t need garbage dumpsters and tall kitchen trash bags.
If we stop and think about whether we really need to drive somewhere, we might discover that our feet or our bicycles would serve us just as well. Or we may discover that our reasons for going weren’t all that good anyway.
Let’s do more things that allow us to live greener everyday. But let’s also stop and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing.
The earth and our wallets will be better for it.