Zero waste is not a trend; it's a responsibility | ASHLEY ASTI


Today, I want to speak about our responsibility to our planet. Because it is, indeed, ours. The earth is what we all have in common. As distant or foreign as others may seem, we cannot escape this simple truth: the earth is ours to share and it, undeniably, unites us. Our oneness has never been more demonstrable.

If we doubt, even for a moment, that we are inextricably tied to the earth and that it inextricably ties us together, we are doomed.

You see, the earth is our life force. It cannot be put more simply or more accurately. We are fed by the earth. When we imbalance, genetically manipulate, and poison the earth, our food is similarly depleted of nutrients, imbalanced, and toxic—and we become the same. One in three Americans (nearing one in two) develops cancer in her lifetime. If we take me and you, reading this, that means one of us. Other chronic and degenerative disease abounds. We have become so ill that health is rare and low grade toxicity, exhaustion, mental cloudiness, indigestion, and stress is normal. Heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and ever decreasing vitality are accepted as immutable and unremitting signs of aging. 

This doesn’t have to be. When we honor the earth, our food will grow in life force, and we will become balanced, strong; well. 

Yes, the earth is our life force not only because it feeds us, but because we take every step in our lifetimes upon it. The earth holds every creation we have ever built, every skyscraper, every home, every garden, every creation of our imaginations, big and small. We bear our children upon it and feed them from it. The earth has helped create every generation in our line since the beginning. 

Given our actions, then, we can only assume we’ve fallen under the misbegotten spell that the earth is separate from us. There may be no more treacherous illusion. 

Collectively, we have poisoned our soil, our water, and our air with toxic chemicals, detergents, sewage, fumes, radioactivity, and non-biodegradable waste. Poison has spread so far, so wide, and so deep, it seems that only a miracle can revoke it.

For our convenience, we have imagined up—without thought of their consequences—a million and one uses for plastic, from grocery bags to drinking straws to our to-go coffee cups. We have forgotten to reduce and reuse, so now our oceans are littered with plastics and their toxic byproducts. Unlike glass, which is infinitely recyclable and doesn’t leach toxic BPA or polypropylene into our food or our oceans, plastic ends up in our landfills and oceans, never decomposing. When you throw away anything plastic—toys, cups, toothbrushes, and takeout containers—it remains in our earth forever; we can’t go back.

With our chemicals of industry, we have ripped a gaping hole in our ozone layer, destroying the shield that protects us from being frizzled by ultraviolet rays. 

We have logged and burned our forests, destroying the trees that detoxify our air. What we breathe out, the trees breathe in; how grateful we should be for trees. They should not be casualties of our mass destruction. 

And, finally, we have turned our rich, fertile, vital soil into depleted, toxic land with our endless barrage of artificial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genetic manipulation. We have treated the animals that live upon the earth just as carelessly and cruelly. 

And, so, in growing circles, we find a trend toward zero waste: living completely sustainably—with no trash sent to landfills or incinerators. Writers have gotten book deals for agreeing to take their whole families on year-long trash sabbaticals and Instagram pages have been devoted entirely to the concept. It has become trendy to sip organic green juice out of anachronistic-looking glass mason jars or to bring a reusable “I’m not a plastic bag” to the local market to pack your kale. But zero waste is not simply chic or à la mode, some trend that will come and go; zero waste is—and must remain—our responsibility.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. If we are to discover deeper reserves of wellness than we’ve known, we must stop poisoning the planet and stealing from our children: the future is theirs, not ours. We, in the grandest strokes and the smallest daily actions, must step into zero-waste, sustainable living. 

What’s so extraordinary about us is our potency: every thought we think, every word we speak, every food we eat, every product we buy, every action we take sends a ripple through our universe. We are powerful and powerfully interconnected; one action can move the world. Now is the time to unite your power with your responsibility.

Let’s create a movement. Together, we rise.

To take action and find easy-to-incorporate steps for zero-waste living, check out these incredibly researched, easily accessible blogs on sustainable living:

Leotie Lovely

Zero Waste Home

The Note Passer

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