It doesn't have to be this way.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Our earth doesn’t have to suffer. Our oceans don’t need to die. School children do not need to fear being shot to death. Clean water doesn’t have to be for the privileged. Animals do not need to die for us to be nourished (FYI they do more harm than good to our bodies). People of color do not need to be treated like second class citizens. Coal doesn’t have to be our main energy source. Women do not need to be paid less than men. Preventable disease doesn’t have to run rampant in our society. Trash doesn’t need to litter our earth’s floor. We don’t need to buy coffee every morning in a single-use cup. We don’t need to spend our Friday nights drunk, escaping, and then our Saturday mornings sick and recovering. We don’t have to suffer the ways that we do.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Honestly? I feel a huge, societal shift coming on. One that needs to happen. One that is going to happen. One that will require us all to come into an awakened state where we respect the earth, ourselves, and other sentient beings (animals + humans) with the highest of regards. Where we don’t poison our bodies continuously. Where we don’t use plastic, and where we especially don’t litter the earth with it. Where we eat plants and try to buy local and fair trade as much as possible. And with doing that, we feed billions more people and save billions of animal lives. And we also save our planet and so many species from extinction.
Our planet is suffering. And our species, along with an incredibly horrendous number of animal and plant species are suffering along with it. The solutions are quite literally at our fingertips. Changing our behavior. Tweaking our mindset. Sitting with ourselves more. Getting to know ourselves and who we are again in a sober and enlightened state.
For most people reading this, you might think I’ve truly gone off my rocker. Give up substances? Give up meat? Give up plastic? Where the hell does this girl think she has any leg to stand on?
To that I say: the only legs I have to stand on our the two that have carried me through this life, through twenty four years of human connection, loss, happiness, and watching my home, our planet, change before my eyes. These two legs have carried me to live in different countries, to experience bouts of being sober that truly awakened my mind. They have carried me to awakening to the global threat of climate change that is coming. I have eyes to read the studies. I have a brain to comprehend the studies and the warnings that are continuously infiltrating our newsfeeds and our search engines. Look up how long we have to make a change until our earth goes to shit. Start there. Watch a few documentaries. And then take a walk. Go outside. Listen to the birds. Look up. Look. Up. See the trees swaying in the wind. See the animals and the plants that are trying their best to thrive in a world that is slowly but surely turning against them.
Did you know that we could feed the entire human population if we all ate more plants and less animals (and animal products)? Did you know that we murder 150 millions animals A DAY in order to eat those animal parts, which in turn make us sick? Did you know that according to Dr. Michael Greger MD, “Eating more whole grains could potentially save 1.7 million lives a year. More vegetables? 1.8 million lives. How about nuts and seeds? 2.5 million lives. […] but of the foods they considered [in this study], which does the world need most? Fruit. Worldwide, if humanity ate more fruit, we might save 4.9 million lives. That’s nearly 5 million lives hanging in the balance, and their salvation isn’t medication or a new vaccine-it may just be more fruit.” (How Not To Die, pg. 122). Did you know that alcohol related deaths are one of our top killers, and the poisonous affects of alcohol (even just one drink) contribute to pretty much every one of our top disease killers? Did you know that in 2019 alone, there have been 115 mass shootings? Senseless acts of violence are happening all around us. Preventable disease are killing us. How do we stop it? Where does it end? How do we prolong our species and all of the species here with us?
There are so many answers to this. In my opinion: love more, eat more plants, use less substances, go on more walks, dance more, and sit in silence, by yourself, for a few minutes everyday.
For so many people, many of the solutions I just listed above are not necessarily accessible. For so many, there is nowhere to walk and enjoy nature. If they go outside, violence is around them. They fear for their lives simply leaving their home. For so many, corner convenience stores are their only grocery store for miles. And they don’t have a car. And therefore, picking up whatever is in stock that day is the only way they will eat. I see you if this might describe your situation. I see you. I hear you. I will work tirelessly towards a change for you.
I fully recognize my privilege in this situation and I am working hard to use this privilege to help those who don’t have the opportunity to easily accessible self-care regimens, nature, and well-stocked grocery stores, among other things. Being born into an upper middle-class white family has given me so much privilege, and with that privilege, I hope to be a part of a movement to break down barriers for those who have not had the same privileges and opportunities as myself. I am fully aware we can’t meditate racism, sexism, speciecism, trauma, homophobia, climate change, etc. away. These things require real action that we all need to be taking daily. Here is a race educator, Rachel Cargle, that I highly suggest looking into if you’re interested in taking action there, and here is an incredible blog that goes deeper into the problems of zero waste, modern day environmentalism, and how to begin community involvement. Reach out to me if you’d like more resources on where to begin with any of the above topics.
With all of that said, I do hope that by coming together and raising our consciousness in a variety of ways, we can achieve a world that is abundant for all.
But if you have a situation where you CAN do more of the things listed above? Give them a go.
I’ve been ‘sober curious’ (shoutout to the incredible Ruby Warrington for coining this term) for the better part of 2019. Meaning that I have purposely tried to abstain from alcohol, but I’m also not sober sober, so I have had the occasional drink. This has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Want to hear something wild? I used to proclaim that I wasn’t a sweets person, that I didn’t love eating fruit, and that I would always prefer savory to sweet. But something absolutely insane happened after going long periods without alcohol - my sweet tooth arrived. And it arrived in the most healthy way, because now I devour bowls full of fresh fruit for breakfast. And truly, my body, my mind, and my spirit have never been happier.
So: it doesn’t have to be this way. Humans, animals, and our earth don’t have to suffer endlessly. We don’t have to suffer endlessly. One more time: we don’t have to suffer endlessly. There is a solution. There are a few, actually. And they all start with raising your consciousness. Find a way to do that. Abstain from drinking a few extra nights a week than normal. Form real relationships and bonds with those around you. Eat more plants. Leave the animals, gentle and kind, off of your plate. Vote for candidates and elected officials who support common sense gun laws, who believe in science, and who are willing to put money and resources into our less fortunate communities.
There doesn’t have to be so much death. Litter doesn’t have to be in the flowers. Animals don’t have to scream and cry and live life in tiny cages. Humans don’t need to go hungry. You don’t have to spend your Saturday morning hungover. You don’t have to use plastic. Sometimes I think (read: know) that we forget these things. That we think we have no choice but to pop open a beer to escape from our troubles or eat a chicken body part in order to be nourished. Sometimes I think that we have become so numb to mass shootings and a rising suicide rate that we think it’s just our new normal. It doesn’t have to be this way. Okay? It doesn’t.
Things can change. Things will change. But it starts with you. Choose one activity that will benefit yourself, the planet, and its inhabitants and give it a go. Don’t start all at once if you aren’t ready. Do what you can everyday and watch the domino effect take place.
To end this, I want to say: I’m here for you. I’m with you. I’m rooting for you. The planet is ours to take care of. Our fellow humans needs us more than ever. Animals are begging for an end to their merciless slaughter everyday. Our bodies are screaming at us to love it more. Our brains are dying for more meditation, silence, and inner peace. Our oceans are screaming at us to stop littering its waters with plastic, and yes, that means your single-use plastic water bottle that will, at some point, end up in the ocean, even if you’re miles and miles away from the coast. Our eyes are longing for more beautiful nature walks. The time to awaken is now. And it starts with you. You’re reading this for a reason.
If you have questions on any of the above - on how to get started, on why I mentioned certain points, or anything of the sort, feel free to DM me on Instagram @sustainablylivingwell or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to chat about any and all of this.