"Walk lightly in Spring; Mother Earth is pregnant." ~ Native American (Kiowa) Proverb.
Treading lightly on the earth is something that we've forgotten as we, as a human race, strive to achieve more, produce more and build bigger and "better" things.
It is as though we have completely forgotten how to walk lightly and instead we mine the earth of all its natural resources, cut down forests, destroy natural habitats, pollute rivers, oceans and lakes, change the natural landscape to fit our own selfish needs, pollute the air, make the rain acid and put huge holes in the ozone layer.
And the sad thing, is that we are all completely aware of the damage and destruction we are doing and the problems it is causing, but we just won't stop.
So what is the solution?
How can you start walking more gently on the earth?
The Buddhists say that mindfulness is the answer. That you need to be aware of everything you do every day. You need to be aware of every action you take, as you perform it. To walk without mindfulness destroys the earth, but when you walk mindfully and are aware of every step you take, you massage the earth.
So just where do you begin?
- Should you buy greener products?
- Buy a greener car?
- Recycle more?
Well, any and all of these things will help but an even better and lighter way to live, is to live a life of less.
A life of less doesn't mean that you have to "do without" things, but rather that you consume less, use fewer natural resources, pollute less, own less 'stuff' and reduce your carbon footprint on the earth as much as possible.
It's not sustainable to go on consuming large amounts of products. No matter how green they are, it still pollutes the earth to produce them. And using up our finite natural resources is unacceptable too, no matter how 'organic' you believe it is.
A life of less also means living with less stress because you own less and so have less to maintain and worry about losing.
Being vegan is a good start to living with less because a plant-based vegan diet helps to feed more people with less land needed to produce the food and less pollution from animal factory farms which are the world's worst polluters. Worse than all the cars on the road combined
And below are a few other examples of how you can start living a more vegan minimalist life.
Buy less stuff. Buying lots of products ruins the planet because of the pollution caused by making them and the landfill sites that have to cope with them once you no longer have a use for them.
There is no real joy in buying lots of items that only clutter up your home. It's far better to own only what you need and have more space to live.
Rethink your necessities, get rid of what you don't need (donate it) and stop buying more.
Eat less. Many people eat far more food than they need. In America, 2 out of every 3 people is significantly overweight.
Much of our natural resources are wasted because of the production of so much food. You only have to look at the destruction of the rain forests to make room for McDonad's grazing beef cows as an example.
And junk food is a wasteful way to eat. It's food that has too many calories but not enough fibre and goodness so you always need to eat more to feel full. And in the meantime you're saturating your body with fat, salt and sugar laden food.
Even eating at home can be bad for you and the planet if you consume large amounts of processed food with wasteful packaging that will end up in landfill sites.
Adopt a plant-based vegan diet. A plant-based diet is the most healthiest and cheapest ways to eat. It also helps the planet because it's said that with one acre of land you can raise enough animals to feed 10 people for a year. But if you plant crops, you can feed 100.
Organic vegan food is cheap, filling, slimming and tastes great. And if you think being a vegan gives you little choice of what to eat, once you you start to eat vegan you'll be amazed at all the different things you can have.
And you need to remember to only buy natural, organic food, buy local produce (saves on unnecessary transportation) and always, ALWAYS eat in season.
Nature provides the foods you need at the right time of year where ever you live. So if it's snowing outside, you don't need to eat organges flown in from Florida. You can avoid getting coughs and colds in winter if you eat only what's growing locally. And you can tell what's in season by how cheap it is in the fruit & veg shop.
Use less packaging. It's insane how much packaging some products have. Unfortunately, if it's something you have to buy, then you don't have any choice. But if you can choose what to buy (or not buy) choose the one with less packaging.
And always take re-useable bags with you when you go shopping.
Drive less. Walk whenever you can. Start cycling more if you have a bike. Carpool. Use mass transport. Consolidate trips. Stay home.
Have a smaller house. If you have a small house, you won't need to accumulate a lot of 'stuff.' It will also be easier to clean and maintain, your mortgage will be cheaper and you'll save on cooling and heating bills.
Having a house that's bigger than you need is wasteful in many ways. Even if you have a large family, there's nothing wrong with kids sharing bedrooms, or converting a garage into a TV room.
And these are just a few examples of what you can start doing right now to start treading more gently on this earth
Remember; a vegan minimalist lifestyle is a mindset and not a laundry list of things to do.
Ruth Barringham is a vegan, writer and web entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. She runs several websites on the Internet and her main site for writers is Writeaholics.net. She also has a new vegan website, AustralianVegan.net.
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