Lifestyle — March 27, 2020 at 6:58 pm

Becoming the Restoration Generation, Part 1

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By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer and Graphic Designer

Eleven years they said, eleven years before there’s no turning back; before we cross that line and push our planet to the brink of damage beyond repair. That was the message presented to the world during the United Nations General Assembly, a year ago already, where world leaders heard the message that they were the last generation capable of preventing irreparable damage to our planet. There’s no more passing the buck, change needs to happen now.

Being isolated and practicing social distancing has shown us just how much impact our daily lives have on the planet. With pollution dramatically clearing in the skies over China, and the waters of Venice returning to crystal clear canals filled with wildlife, the message is obvious.

Saving the world sounds like such a heavy thing doesn’t it? And when we’re at our worst, we begin to diminish ourselves to a single person unable to tackle such a momentous problem, when we’re actually the whole solution.

We are the many, the consumer, the demand for what was once thought to be an endless supply. As such we hold an absolute power and a great responsibility. We make a difference by making choices that will tip the scale and drive change. Together, we can hold suppliers accountable, and slow the inertia of consumerism.

There are so many small moves that, when made together, create a huge impact. Let’s start by doing away with single-use items and keeping reusable options everywhere we may need them, like washable cloth or paper shopping bags and produce bags in the car. Why not switch to washable bento boxes, snack bags, and beeswax wraps for food storage and taking leftovers to go. Choose re-fillable, stainless or glass bottles for your daily beverage intake. Go straw-less or bring your own reusable stainless or food grade bamboo alternatives for on-the-go eating and drinking.

Reach for the cloth, towel, mop, vacuum and non-toxic household cleaners instead of paper towels, single-use erasers and surface wipes or dusters. Educate yourself on the ingredients in cleaning products, and air fresheners. Everything we use ends up somewhere, in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the ground that provides our food, or a local landfill.

Let’s change our history of being the throw-away generation to be the future restoration generation. We do this by shifting our thinking and lifestyles away from convenience and toward eco-efficiency. Choose local, seasonal produce and food producers first, support independent retailers who typically rely on local supplies. Plant your own garden and native plants to best tolerate your geographics and provide important habitat for animals and insects.

Be smart about how you get around. Walk, bike or take public transit where possible, or tick a few stores off your list when you do head into town. And how many of us have closets full of clothes, footwear, bags, accessories, toys, books, and old electronics? The longer we take care of what we have the better, but when it’s time, take advantage of your regional recycling and composting programs, bring gently used items to local donation centers, join an online swap group or resale site, or when the time allows host a garage sale.

Be ever mindful of what you use and what you choose. It can be as simple as turning off unnecessary lights, adding a layer and turning down the thermostat or A/C, shortening your shower, line-drying your laundry, washing in cold water, shutting down phantom power sources, re-growing vegetables from cuttings, or participating in environmental events like Earth Hour, Earth Day, or even local tree plantings or invasive pullings when permissible.

Change lies somewhere between want and need. We all need a place to live, so I ask you, where do you want to see yourself in our world a decade from now? And if you’re already making strides to reduce your footprint on the planet, watch for my next installment in this series about next-level options you can consider.

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