The definition of a force of nature is something that occurs in nature and affects the structure of the universe. When REI announced its campaign to put women in the forefront and titled it “Force of Nature,” I thought that was the perfect name.
Women are force of nature. And what a better way to positively affect the universe, but in the outdoor industry. Our climate is changing, and human beings are causing a negative impact. But as a force of nature, we women can change that impact into a good one.
I have to shamefully admit, as a nature lover I have not always been the best steward of the environment. I didn’t start recycling until about two years ago. Well, I recycled but only if it was easy. If I drank a bottle of Diet Coke and there was a separate trash can for plastics, I would put my bottle in there.
Today, I not only recycle, but I try to avoid plastics all together. It’s harder than it sounds, but it can be done. Really the best way to combat our environmental problems is to generate as little trash as possible. Also, if you learn to live without as much plastic, the less demand for plastic there will be.
Two years ago, I wondered what impact I could make if I began sorting my trash at home. I set up a second trash can and anything that was recyclable went into that can. Where I live our trash service does not pick up recycling. The city does have large bins set up for residents to take their recycling.
When our recycling trash can gets full, I short it into bags as to how they are accepted at our recycling center. Plastics No. 1, No. 2, glass, aluminum cans, cardboard, newspaper, office paper, and magazines, all get their own bag.
I also set up a special trash can at my work for plastics. My office is not large and has a small amount of employees, but I am able to take three trash bags full of plastic bottles to the recycling center once a week. This makes me happy.
Also cutting back on plastics and other things bad for the environment, helps eliminate trash in landfills.
But I am not just satisfied with recycling. I believe to be a true force of nature and change our negative impact on the environment, we need to cut back on our dependency on oil and fossil fuels.
This one is hard for me. I love road trips. I love traveling the country and seeing all the wonderful natural places we have here. But like budgeting our money where we spend a little on some things so we have more to spend on others, my friend and I came up with a oil dependency budget.
The first thing I decided to cut, and probably the hardest, was plastic straws. I love slurping my drink down through a straw. This is also hard when you go out to eat because usually the servers bring it to you in your drink or hands it to you when they give you your drink. I did send one back last weekend at Olive Garden.
I also wrap my sandwiches for lunch in aluminum foil now instead of using plastic Ziploc baggies. This isn’t easy as it sounds for the chips. Sometime I also use reusable Rubbermaid containers.
This is also hard for me because about 3 p.m. I usually end up at the drive-through for a Diet Coke or Starbucks coffee. But not wanting to get a Styrofoam cup, plastic lid, and plastic straw, I’ve been skipping my mid-afternoon caffeine dose. I do have a wonderful Hike Like A Woman travel mug that I can use at Starbucks. I also thought about going through the drive-through at Sonic and ordering a large Diet Coke, sans the lid and straw. Then pouring it into my mug. I haven’t done this yet, but I probably will.
It seems like we have moved away from the buzz phrase “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” But applying the these three basic principles, is working as a force of nature.
Just as we take care of our children and our home, we need to take care of our home planet and its future for our children.
For more tips, check out how to give the earth a present from this Christmas blog post.