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How We Live, Eat & Shop Impacts Our World...

Living Sustainably. We've all heard the term but what does it actually mean and how important is it to really live this way? Hasn't the earth been around for millions of years regardless of how people have lived for centuries?? How do the choices we make effect the world??

These are questions people ask when this paradigm is laid at their doors. These questions are both smart and valued inquiries that need answers. The concept of sustainability isn't new, however has become a 'trend' word. ( Isn't it annoying when important concepts become cultural playthings?! ) Remember when kale was the new spinach, and so on. Food is nourishment, food is healing and energy supplying; what it isn't is the new anything. )

[ In the beginnings God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1 ]

Anyway, back to the matter at hand :() More simply stated, we all desire a good Quality life right? We all enjoy fresh air, clean water, good whole real foods that nourish and feed our families true? Most of us use and depend on fuel, and other resources which are derived from this earth. Most people don't think about the fact that our resources are a blessing and have been taken for granted. Most do not realize that we are starting to run low on earthly resources... But we don't all have to adopt the extreme over enthusiasm of some activists! :()

[ It takes ALL of the Cogs to make the wheel work! ]

Getting to understand sustainability will allow us to live as a we instead of a me. We need to realize that we're all Cogs on this wheel of life here and even the smallest steps from each of us add up to bigger ones for the collective. This world is a gift, a creative output from our Lord to us. So remember the Turtle won the race smartly and slowly and so can we!

[ Danica never gave much thought about her 'footprints' from the choices that she makes i her life. Since moving into the LivingThruGrace house and growing closer to the Lord, she's thinking beyond herself in her lifestyle choices. ]

Everything we buy, eat and wear etc... has a traceable footprint. Now I know some of you are thinking, I don't have time or energy to trace every purchase I make! I understand, we're all busy, that's why you're here to find our how to begin introducing sustainability bit by bit into our lives. :) Remember as 'Cogs' any and each small step counts; [we don't need to adopt an All or Nothing attitude, unless you choose], so you don't have to rework your entire lives in order to live more aware! You don't have to adapt to anyone else's standards. In fact, the only requirement from you is that you Care, the rest will follow. :-)

Here, are a few tips that you can work into your lives gradually, if you choose. But it's like I said; CARING is a BIG STEP. So much can grow from the seed of awareness. :)

( No preachy Patty here! LOL : )

One simple way to begin taking better care of our planet is to start reading labels. There are also many and still growing clothing, ( and other wares) and furniture companies who produce products with thought and a smaller footprint. Get food wise! Yep, it's not just for people with Food Allergies, label reading educates us as to how and where our food is made and comes from. I know what else many of you may be thinking; What if there aren't any other choices but the 'status quo' and I just want a candy bar, or need to shop in a hurry??

[ It's no longer difficult to find safe snacks for you and your family :() ]

No probz, just do what you can do and keep it moving. :{} One purchase of a snack that has a light foot print, [ safe & clean ingredients, for example which usually come from more progressive and thoughtful companies ] or purchase of a food, cleaning, and other products, that directly support the people who produce it

[ Fair Trade ]; products that are from small companies who care about the quality of ingredients that you feed to your family.

[ Its simple to flip over your product to look for a Fair Trade label. Fair Trade means that the products have been certified to provide fair wages and Safe working conditions. ( no Forced Child Labor! ). Farmers are paid a premium that they are free to apply to other causes such as healthcare, or whatever initiatives the workers and farmers see fit. ]

[ All of the products above were found at my local HomeGoods store, but are available in many local markets, or online. ]

Buying food and other personal products made from simple ingredients free of the garbage large companies add to their food is another easy step. These beans

[ pictured above, Field Day Organic ] were purchased at a local market, not at any specialty store. They were affordable, especially because they were on sale, :() and they're free of artificial ingredients like sulfites (Asthma Kriptonite!) found in many canned beans! See, one easy step, whenever possible, smarter choices strengthens the cause, and tells these companies that you support their efforts of sustainability. These companies love to hear from you, and social media makes it possible. If you choose send a buzz on how you appreciate their products and what they're doing. (:-}

Recycle as much as possible. We don't want our world to look like this ( pic above) anymore than it already does. It's not hard, most cities have recycle bins. Start thinking before you chuck that trash away, and make it a new habit to toss and recycle!! Kids like getting involved in these types of actions and it models for them how to care for our world, it teaches them to begin caring outside of themselves, and that their positive actions matter!

[ This big guy only uses what water he needs, there's no wasting water in his family! ]

[ A simple choice is to purchase glass water bottles or other types, like stainless steel or those cool fruit infused ones; so that they don't end up in landfills. This one choice that many choose to make! :-) I know plastic is convenient but look what convenience has brought upon our living space...]

We all need water to live but the state of safe water for personal use is and had been at stake for a while now. Most of us don't sit and think about where our water comes from, what's in it or how much is still available. Combine that fact with our continual expanding population that's stretching our nations/world water supply to it's breaking point (widespread droughts); so it's not until there's a tragedy [ like in Flint MI ] where widespread water contamination happens that many of us give a thought of the water we use.

Fresh clean water is a gift, free water is our right, and privilege that many third world countries don't have. Again, simple steps on our part combined can begin to make a difference. When buying appliances look for the Energy Star label for appliances that work more efficiently. Taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing our teeth, shaving, making repairs to leaky faucets ( we're in this position now Yikes plumbing probs!! ), adhering to your communities lawn watering schedule, these are doable steps. Although not a first choice for many, choosing low flow toilets and other water appliances can also make a difference!

I used to fill up my kettle and just pour out what wasn't used until a few years ago when a family member brought to my attention how wasteful that was! When I make a cup of tea, I often think back to this (and laugh), because the message was delivered rather rudely, but truth doesn't always come wrapped in a pretty bow! Family!!! :-{} Small steps add up to workable results!

[ Adopting a minimalist mindset doesn't mean reducing our living space to this! :{} It's making smarter choices with the forethought of our entire living space, our planet!]

[ Having fewer things, make the things we choose to keep have greater meaning, add real value to our lives. ]

[ Living 'beyond' our personal living spaces connects us to our World, to it's people and their spaces and beyond... ]

Our nations homes are filled with so much stuff. Much of this 'stuff' ends up in the garbage, and into landfills. Buying smarter with a 'minimalistic 'mindset' can help to empty our homes of unused and often forgotten stuff and fill up our wallets through smart buying! How about purchasing gently used products from clothes to appliances, the choices are as endless as are the websites to shop on. Try putting your 'unwanteds' up for sale and gain income and valuable space in your home while loosing things no longer wanted! Check out resale shops, Ebay, flea markets (great finds to be found there!), or trade with friends and family. The whole point is to reduce our buying footprints because our planet is so laden down from modern consumption...

Do people still carpool? :[] Anywhoo, transportation is a modern necessity and public transportation is something many of our communities aren't afforded. Driving, pollution, gasses emitting you've heard the drill, but unfortunately it's truth. We can't all purchase hybrid vehicles, or even trade up to more fuel efficient one's!

[ Ok, might be a carpool alternative for those with smaller vehicles

LOL! :() ]

However, one way my hubby and I work to save on using so much fuel and reduce our carbon footprint is to try and group errands together whenever possible, a one stop shop! Most of the time it works, however, even that can be difficult when there are multiple people involved (kids, and other dependents) who all have different requirements in their lives! The point I'm stressing is NOT to stress but to do whatever you can, what works within your lives to create smaller footprints. :{}

You see, together we can do it!

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