A throw away society

Have you ever left  a closed water bottle in your car during summer and the heat caused it to expand, distorting the original form? You can open the bottle a bit to release the warm air and it will regain some of it’s original shape, usually. If there was more than water inside the bottle, the contents may have begun to spoil and stink. 

My instinct is to close it off and throw it away. Look, I am not a domestic person. I have been known to throw away perfectly good Tupperware because I don’t want to clean out the moldy food that I left in there. Yes, I know I am responsible for having left the food in there. I should clean it up. It’s just so much easier to throw it away!

Just the sheer environmental consequences are worth the effort to clean it. If all of us just threw away the moldy containers, we’d have an even larger environmental issue than currently exists. Collectively we make a very negative impact with such behavior, but together we become a part of the solution.

This isn’t just about throwing away containers, it is about being a throw away society. This is about not taking accountability for our actions, for avoiding the unpleasantness in life, and discarding what we don’t care about including ourselves and others.

Think of all the things you’ve thought you’d deal with later, but didn’t until you were forced to deal with them. If you’re like me, probably too many to even remember. Sometimes, there is a good reason for this avoidance; the pain is too great or addressing the issue is too difficult. In those cases, sometimes some time and space is needed for better perspective and emotional strength. Most things we avoid only seem difficult because of our distorted perspective, though.

We avoid what we think we cannot control or change. We look the other way when we don’t want to deal with it. And if it requires too much effort, we’re more likely to toss it. This is even true about people. We write people off without even knowing them or their reasons for their actions (and lack of action). We give up friendships over a grudge. We let little things annoy us until we explode. 

A throw away society isn’t a healthy society. When we take care of our planet, we  ultimately take care of ourselves. When we care for others, we become more caring for ourselves. When we care for ourselves, everyone wins because we are healthier and often happier.

Try a progressive challenge for one month to shift your own throw away habits.

Week 1: 

  • Smile at people you see.
  • Offer a helping hand even if it’s as simple as holding open a door for someone whose hands are full.
  • Do something nice for someone who could use a smile.

Week 2: 

  • Go out of your way to help someone in need.
  • Start being more conscious about your waste- use reusable bottles and sacks. Reduce your waste by 10%.

Week 3: 

  • Surrender a grudge. If it is someone you once cared for, reach out and tell them you are thinking of them and wondered how they are doing.
  • Do something “good” that is more challenging: hand out bags with food, socks, essentials to the homeless or go visit a nursing home or offer “free hugs” to random strangers.
  • Reduce your waste another 10%.

Week 4: 

  • Start saying no to anything that your heart is not aligned with- from social media to invitations.
  • Do something good for you.
  • See if you can reduce your waste an additional 10%

By the end of the month if you’re successful, you’ll have reduced waste by 30%, let go of a grudge, helped a lot of people, and done something nice for yourself.  After a month, you may find you have a habit that becomes contagious. Imagine if each of us could turn this type of challenge into a way of living. The world would be an even better place to live!