We all have choices; we can stay or go, engage or retreat. We can chose to join the growing number of individuals, companies, municipalities, state and federal government in the move to sustainability.
Choosing to “go green” is a life-long commitment. It is not easy as some try to make it. It is not for those who ask the question, “How much is it going to cost me.” Or, “How soon will I receive my return investment (ROI)?”
I compare it to the person who starts saving for his or her retirement or 401k at age 21, a forward thinker. What you do today, the rewards are not available immediately tomorrow. It is a step to secure a world of clean air, clean water supply and alternative energy for our children and our grandchildren.
The world has recognized the need to look for alternative energy. Our need to implement proper water usage, to reuse, recycle and divert materials from our land fills. We are in the process of retro-fitting existing buildings to be high performing. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has spearheaded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. All of these efforts are focused on helping the public realize that our natural resources do not have an endless supply.
We talk about “going green” and “sustainability” as if it were a new concept. It is not new, in the eyes of Native Americans; it is the true act of respect for Mother Earth. I was taught many values, by my Navajo grandmother, a very wise woman who was loved and respected by many.
One of the many lessons I was taught was focused on trust, respect and harmony. “Everything in moderation … you need to have balance in your life … Respect yourself, your family, your neighbors but most of all have respect for Mother Earth.” These words and sayings were very simple and full of common sense. They came at a very young and formative stage in my life.
My grandmother would say, “Fight for what you believe in.” That is what motivates me, to strive for a sustainable world.
Today’s move to sustainability brings back memories as a child when we discuss caring for Mother Earth through recycling, alternative energy, and reducing our carbon footprint. It is not quite like the lessons of my grandmother, a little more high tech.
As a child I returned an empty eight-ounce glass bottle of Coca Cola to our local corner market more than once. I was given three cents in return for the deposit. We were recycling then and did not think twice about it. The bottling companies would reuse that same bottle over and over.
Here is a small idea to consider next time you are out to lunch or at your favorite eatery. Pay close attention if you are brought a glass of water. A simple glass of water served without requesting it in a restaurant makes a huge impact. Did you know it takes three glasses of water for that one on your table? One to fill it, one to wash it and one to rinse. Imagine how much water we could save, divert or properly use, if this simple act was removed from our daily routine.
We are on the right track as far as recognizing the value of water here in the desert. The price of water currently is inexpensive. Large box stores, grocery stores and convenience stores sell water by the bottle and by the case. We purchase it as individuals and at work. But what were the plastic empties doing for Mother Earth?
Did we really recycle every plastic bottle? That is the life-long commitment to “Going Green.” We changed, we took a stand, we now use filtered water from the tap. We recycle every plastic bottle and aluminum can. Sometimes you have to make a choice, take a stand, fight for what you believe in.
What motivates you? Do you recycle, do you car pool or take mass transit, do you turn off lights when you leave a room? Be aware of your surroundings. Simple acts of kindness go a long way when Mother Earth is involved.