Times are hard and tough times are ahead. What will you do? It is past the point when we should have considered our future, yet it is not too late. We must become a community of practice now and not wait for the times of financial or environmental disaster. The practices are environmental stewardship of our neighborhoods; support for our brother and sister merchants; and encouragement of sustainable green living with the goal of passing excellence to our predecessors. Nurturing of our people (family, friends and chosen acquaintances) and encouraging shared efforts to enhance our lives should be foremost in our thoughts.
Environmental stewardship means for us to take responsibility to ensure that we re-use, recycle and restore our communities. Swap items with others; recycle and compost everything that can be handled by standard practice; and refrain from littering and using damaging chemicals and pharmaceuticals. These practices are not difficult and they can save you time and money. Take those unwanted items to a local charity or give them away to those in need. My town set up curbside recycling and issued large cans to everyone. We recycle most items and we put out trash once every two weeks or so. We have a coffee container on the kitchen counter and I dump all raw vegetable pieces; spent ground coffee; and tea bags into the container. When full, I empty it into the large trash cans in my backyard that I reserved for composting, leaves and grass cuttings included. The cans do not stink; they just smell like dirt and leaves and this is what I spread around my yard instead of fertilizer. Start with your home and go outward. We can rebuild and enhance our communities through efforts as simple as picking up litter; planting trees and shrubs; and properly disposing electronics, hazardous chemicals, and bulk garbage. We deserve safe clean communities and we should make the effort because it is OUR community.
Support our brothers and sisters in local business and independent businesses. There is large network of folks who create and sell home- based, -grown, and –made products that may not have harmful chemicals; utilize locally purchased supplies; and are of higher quality material than the imported stuff from huge retailers. You can find these artisans at craft fairs, bazaars, festivals, work place and place of worship. Community members deserve patronage and their dollars are more likely to be spent locally and by several degrees of separation, your money will come back to provide for you.
Greener living is how we leave our children an inheritance. Commit your funds to life sustaining activities. Just because it is in the store, you do not need to buy it. Just because it is a little chilly you don’t have to raise the temperature. Just because you think washing clothes in super hot water using industrial strength detergents will get your once worn t-shirt any cleaner than cold water, baking soda and a little soap, does not mean you should continue to waste and pollute. And, do you seriously need to get your nails done… really? Saving our money now by reducing energy use and consumerism will enable us to pass down something to our heirs. We must pass wealth, not debt. As a group, we have the ability to pass land, property, education, and a worthy estate to our children. We were unable to do so just a few generations ago. Our forebears worked to the bone so that we would have a better life. We need to pay it forward. Greenbacks and a greener environment should be the fruits of our community of practice if not for us, for the children. What gift will you leave them?