*article originally published as a guest post on the Simply Straws blog.
Their intention is in plain sight: Simply Straws. Not only is their product focus clear, but their mission is clear, too: it is time to live simply—cleaner, healthier, more sustainably.
I’ve chosen to guest-write this article for Simply Straws because simplicity—streamlined living that is efficient and in tune with our earth—is not an alternative lifestyle. No, we no longer have time for planet-centered living to be marginalized. We have used more than half of the earth’s oil supply and we will use up this supply only once; it will not regenerate. We have dwindled the earth’s biodiversity, destroying whole ecosystems as we wipe out the plant and animal species whose habitats get in the way of our gratuitous need for convenient consumption. And we have polluted our air, our oceans, and our soil to the point of our own chronic illness.
This is not ok and it cannot go on. Simplicity must be our global commandment.
What It Means to Live Simply
Living simply means sending little or no waste to our curb—and therefore our land, our oceans, and our air (plastic waste, for example, often ends up incinerated, its toxic dioxins getting released into the atmosphere. These toxins fall on our land, our food crops, our water). Living simply means instead of mindlessly throwing away trash without really accounting for where it will end up, we reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost.
Living simply means knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown. It is our responsibility to know what goes into our bodies and how its growth and disposal impact the earth and our companion creatures. We must realize that toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and unchecked genetic manipulation are not in our favor: when we poison the earth, we poison the food we eat, the water we drink, the oceans we swim in, the forests whose trees breathe in our toxins and breathe out the oxygen we need. What an extraordinary symbiosis.
Living simply also means cutting back clutter and distractions, material and nonmaterial. It means clearing our homes, our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.
Living simply means consuming less and being conscious about what we do consume. 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. We must unite our power with our responsibility and shop with the earth, the animals that live upon it, and our health in mind.
And, finally, living simply means living with more meaning, more kinship, more reverence for our sacred earth. Living simply is not a sacrifice or a burden. Staggering climate change is a sacrifice. Disappearing orangutans and tigers and rhinos and elephants in the Sumatran rainforests is a deep and tragic sacrifice. The bleaching of our coral reefs—and the loss of life it marks—is a sacrifice.
No, living simply is uplifting. Living simply is forward-thinking and intelligent and progressive.
* * *
What I know for sure is the earth’s destiny is inextricably entwined with our own. The earth is in crisis, so we are in crisis. What I also know is we are the ones we have been waiting for: our hands must be the ones to resuscitate it.
We must take responsibility for our role in the supply chain of our earth’s destruction. Every action toward change, no matter how small, counts. We must reverse our destiny.
Together, we rise. Are you ready?