Mission. Purpose. A purpose-driven life. It seems we’re hearing these phrases more frequently these days, and that’s a great thing. Having a mission helps guide our daily lives so that, ideally, we are only taking actions that align with our personal mission. I’d like to challenge us all to have the mission of taking on three new practices that enhanced the sustainability of our planet this year. What difference would that make for Mother Earth? I’d bet a pretty big one.
But first, if we are to take on new sustainability practices, we need a definition of sustainability. One definition from Merriam-Webster that resonates with me is: “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” This is one of the conundrums of living in a sustainable way: We all use the planet’s resources every day—we drink water, use power, eat, and utilize the land in some sense—but are we leaving them better than they were before?
That is the name of the sustainability game, but one that we often overlook. We all use paper at some level, but are we planting trees? We all drink water every day, but how are we ensuring that our water sources remain potable? We all use power every day, but do we know and trust the source of that power?
This is one of the conundrums of living in a sustainable way: We all use the planet’s resources every day—we drink water, use power, eat, and utilize the land in some sense—but are we leaving them better than they were before?
None of us is perfect. I don’t own a car, and I do drive a car when I am on vacation and when I need to travel for work to clients who are far away. I use paper every day and I cannot say that I have planted enough trees to replace the paper that I have used in my lifetime. Being perfect is not the aim; the goal is to start becoming aware of the ways we are using our planet’s resources and to be aware of how we can restore those resources.
There are many ways to contribute resources back to the planet. A few examples are buying our power from companies that use wind and solar power, or donating to organization like Million Trees, who are committed to planting one million trees in NYC. We can give our time to Farm Animal Sanctuaries, an organization that provides a safe place for animals who have been abused or were set to be slaughtered. There are many additional ways that we can take actions to build a more sustainable planet.
Which three actions will you take on to preserve and enhance our natural resources for the next 365 days?
Photo by Flickr user Intel Free Press
Michael Forman is a native of Bronx, New York, and has lived in New York City for almost his entire life. He is the executive farm director of Pure Love Organic Farms, an organic, urban farm that he and three other friends created in 2012 from a former garbage dump site. Michael also works as the North American account manager for Totally Green in the sustainable technologies field.