Every human will need to find motivation to take action. There are those of us who are a little bit further along on our personal journeys toward zero-waste who can encourage others to join us. What we need are simple enough switches to help others feel that joining in is possible. These are just a few of the bare minimum actions we all need to be taking right now. It is my hope that they will act as gateway habits that open doors to so many more thoughts + hopefully spur further action.
--When we start bringing our own bags to the grocery store, we realize that we can remember them (keep them in the car or 1-3 in the daily carry bag). We just might start to notice that we can skip the produce bags or choose the toilet paper that doesn't come wrapped in plastic. (Most of us will not need to purchase new reusable bags, because we have a few laying around the house.)
--When we start carrying our own water bottle around, we won't get desperate for a bottled drink. We might decide to skip the straw next time we have a drink at a restaurant. (Most of us have a reusable water bottle laying around or could ask a friend for one of their excess ones...but if not...a spaghetti sauce jar works too.) :)
--When we choose to buy something in bulk rather than in a plastic bag, we might see all the good stuff offered in bulk + start to eat more whole foods. We might skip the middle aisles altogether. (Bring empty spaghetti sauce or pickle or peanut butter or salsa jars from home ...or use a muslin bag that's laying around the house.)
--When we skip the straw at a restaurant, we might start to choose restaurants offering reusable plates, cups + utensils. (Drinking straight out of a cup works great.) :)
--When we start to compost, we will begin to educate ourselves about what things are compostable + keep them out of the landfill. We'll gain a whole new connection to farmers + the weather + the food we eat. We might even have a desire to grow some of our own food (herbs, peppers, tomatoes, or strawberries for example). (Save compost in a reusable container in the freezer + bring it to a store or farmer's market or compost site.)
--When we rethink fast food as food that we can hold in our hands rather than highly packaged food we get from a drive-through, we just might make some healthier choices or start preparing food at home that was purchased in bulk. (Hold a bagel or apple or cookie in your hand, pay + eat...or keep a scarf or bandana in a pocket or purse to wrap it in.)
--When we go to the farmer's market, we meet the people who planted + tended + watered + harvested + transported our food. We might start to realize the true cost of food...and where it's grown...and the energy it takes to transport it...and we might focus more on local, in-season, whole foods with which to nourish our bodies + the bodies of those we love. We might also see the vital connection between the weather + our food supply + the livelihoods of those who grow it. (Grab the reusable bags, because there is a lot of plastic at the farmer's market that can be avoided.)
--When we get out in nature for a walk or hike or swim or to go camping, we drink in the magnificence of our planet. We might start to value the oceans + mountains + prairies. We might see the detriment of microplastics + fracking + mountaintop removal coal mining + carbon emissions. We might start to drive less + to hang dry our clothes + to choose natural fibers rather than polyester + to lobby for mass transit, solar + wind power. We might start to vote for candidates who protect our wild lands + promote carbon taxes.
Our planet sustains life! In order to sustain our planet, every human must create less waste. When we just begin...with one small step, it creates ripples of awareness + understanding that lead to more + more action. Take the first step + encourage it in those around you. It's necessary + urgent. Every action counts.