Environmental Awareness

The shift of focus the planet is undertaking right now is truly a blessing.

More and more people are jumping on the bandwagon of organic and sustainable purchases in the grocery store and in convenient stores. I know I have naturally made some shifts into more sustainable decisions: I used to be really stuck to “needing” plastic bags because I liked using them to pick up after my dogs in the backyard. I realized one day when I ran out of them that paper towels work just as well, and are biodegradable.

It’s funny how when I was a kid and was first learning about the plight of the environment (I’m talking like elementary school. Minnesota public education was really ahead of it’s time.) I was REALLY gung-ho about saving the planet. At that young age, I was aware of how much I alone can impact the direction the earth was headed, and I knew a shift in decision was all it took to alter our course.

I thought that everyone in my midst would be just as excited about this information as I was: an opportunity to take action and make a difference.

I remember how disappointed I was when no one else in my family thought it was much of a big deal besides me. I learned quickly that way back in the ‘90’s it was truly a small camp of people who really felt this way about the environment, and that I was kind of a weirdo for wanting to do good things for the earth, and devote time and energy to making the earth well again.

If there is one thing I am thankful for in this day in age is the tendency for entire populations of people to bond and connect over certain popular things, and what is great about the increased awareness of this age of information is how environmental preservation is becoming the new “in” thing. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Now, I am not the weirdo who loves to clean up the beaches and recycle. I’m not the only one who prefers to purchase things in glass bottles instead of plastic, or is willing to drop $10-30 on a rubberized glass water bottle that can be refilled instead of overconsuming plastic ones that just take up space and are wasteful.

Growing up in Minnesota, the repercussions of our decisions were felt almost immediately. Being from the Land of $10,000 Lakes (which, I love to teach everyone, is actually $15,000) the ecosystems there are fragile. Before I graduated from high school I was hearing reports of fisherman catching fish with additional heads and growing limbs right in our beloved Mississippi River. This was less than a mile from two of my childhood homes.

I found this funny because Minnesotans are VERY proud of their natural resources and how gorgeous the state is most days of the year. Minnesota boasts acres and acres of preserved land and lakes, and is truly what makes the state special. The beauty of the lakes and forests I grew up with was something I wanted to see last; I was seeing more and more forest destruction happening in the wake of new communities and shopping centers of all kinds. Whenever I saw this happening, all I could think of was: where are the deer going to go now?

It’s funny how as Al and I continue with our commitment to eating well and working out daily, how these goals phase into goals that include the health of more than just our own myopic bodies. As health increases in our own bodies, it encourages the proliferation of health in our environment, hearts, minds, and souls. The healthier we become, the healthier choices we make all around: increasingly we buy more organic fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, and we find ourselves buying more of a variety of these things. Not to mention more and more we are buying what is in season at the moment.

In today’s world, the rising population of kids younger than me are really impressing me. Maybe it’s because it’s who I choose to focus on, which truly makes all the difference, but it’s so great to see kids coming together and making an effort to make a difference for this planet. About a year ago everything seemed all doom and gloom, with Elon Musk (inventor and CEO of Tesla Motors) and his contemporary Peter Diamandis determining to settle Mars, because, obviously, that’s the only viable decision we had for awhile.

I was reading articles about the polar ice caps breaking apart, the continent of Antartica actually split in half (the scientist who discovered it is famously quoted to say, “We are all fucked”), and the hoards of sea life dying off en masse, and deforestation seeming to not slow down.

I know how I am. I am a worldly empath, and if I allow this energy in to my being I soak it up along with all of it’s negativity.

So I did the easiest thing I could do to cope.

I shifted my focus, and started buying up cloth shopping bags, and when Al and I went to the dog beach, I would pick up trash and throw it away.

It’s the littlest things that truly make the biggest difference.

I shifted my focus first and foremost on social media. Anything and everything that showed ANYTHING negative (politics, crime, waste, injury, anything in general that can cause me to wince at all upon seeing it) I deleted or unfollowed or unfriended such things/people. I don’t have time for that kind of negativity in my life.

I don’t mean to say that I don’t believe these things don’t go on in the world. I recognize and know that they do, but to allow those kinds of images and words continue to live on my social media pages is only leading the planet in a downward spiral, when what we collectively want is an upward spiral.

I used to dwell on the fact that the oceans were dying. It really affected me to the point of having bad dreams at night. One of the best decisions I made was, when I was about to meditate in the morning or at night, I would write down that I wished for the oceans to heal, and would conjure images in my head of abundant ocean life and clean, viable ocean waters.

Nearly every time I did this, something new about a new invention or action was taking place to heal the oceans.

I read an article about a high school kid who designed a machine to clean up plastic out of the ocean. I read about people actively taking a stand against whaling (I couldn’t believe that was still going on!!). More and more articles were popping up about decisions people were making, including leaders like President Obama taking a stance against emissions and signing bills to decrease our carbon footprint significantly in the years to come, and putting an end to the discussion about drilling in Alaska.

People are taking action and dying the tusks of rhinos and elephants a bright, irreversible red to slow the effect of poaching on animal populations in Africa.

I read an article about a Swedish multimillionaire who purchased over 400 acres of Amazon rainforest land to prevent it from being harvested for profit. Which also speaks to the possibility of being a success in wealth and be a champion of world health: you can gain wealth honestly and through environmentally conscious ways. People do it all the time.

And, most recently and joyously, I heard my first commercial ever advertising the risks that we are facing in regards to animal extinction. I love listening to Y100 here in Miami. I am absolutely addicted to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, and I was elated when they advertised the new documentary put out by Discovery on the topic of mass animal extinction. These issues truly are getting the attention of people who normally wouldn’t care, who normally were okay with remaining disconnected from the plight of this planet. Today, that’s just not how it is anymore. Even the most seemingly disconnected people are tuning and making better choices, and if they are doing it just because it’s the “popular” thing to do, then, GREAT! Keep that shit up!!

To me, these things are not coincidences. The fact that there are now sexy, awesome sports cars and family cars that are all electric, and home batteries of the same coming out soon (thank you Elon Musk and Tesla!). I know I am anxiously awaiting the day when I no longer have to waste time to go to the gas station to fill up my car: I will plug it in at night just like my cell phone. People are saying “no” to having to purchase gas, which is good for us not only environmentally, but politically as well.

2017 can’t come quickly enough, when Tesla releases their smaller and cheaper car that they initially made so beautifully as a luxury car not that long ago.

Everything about this planet is shifting, and definitely shifting for the better. If there is one thing that has become present to me during my meditations it is this: no matter what we do to the earth and how long we allow it to go on for, it doesn’t matter how far down we go down that road, there is time to turn back. The earth itself is connected to us, and much, much bigger than us. Just like how our bodies have the ability to heal from the worst of medical maladies, so does this planet. We are all made of the same energy, the same elements, and composed of the same molecules.

So, no matter how well you treat your body, how well you treat the earth also plays a role in your overall health. We truly are only as healthy as the condition of our planet, and we have the opportunity now to make all the difference in the world.

It is, after all, up to us, and only us.

Unless you want to volunteer for that first mission to Mars. J

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