Mother Earth, my spirit guide, is alive. She’s been my guide since I was young, teaching me about life. When I’d feel sad, she’d release pedals from the flowers growing on the trees, and purposefully asked the wind to lay them on my nose and head. When I felt unsure about where my life was headed, she guided me through the wisdom of the ocean. Reminding me through every rough current, that even though I was being pulled away from my dreams, I had to fight harder to achieve them. The task would not be easy, the ocean would say. And with every tough wave, she trained me to get back up and try again.
For the 28 years I’ve been alive, Mother Earth has shown me her kindest side. Cool windy days, warm sunny days, clear blue waters, and trees growing taller. And just like any mother, she has always been my provider. Water, Earth, Fire, Air--the four elements that help me survive, all provided by the one and only. She has taught me how to co-exist with more than just a single race, and to cherish life of all forms and shapes.
Like all human parents, she listens. She hears my whispers on those cloudy days, “Mother, if it rains, please let it rain with thunder.” And just like that, the ground would shake at the sound of her rumble. She gets angry, and that’s her way of saying, “who hurt my baby?”
She’s always giving, but slowly, she is dying.
So today, I take the lead. This is what she’s been training me for. I am her prodigy child, just like you. And together we must save her. We must help others open their eyes, remove all filters, and see the reality of what’s happening.
Even until now, Mother Earth has been showing us her smile. But deep down, buried by the storms, hidden in the heart of the ocean, a place of mystery and darkness, lies her pain. Her children murdered, her body trashed, and most of humanity carelessly living in luxury.
I know it’s hard not to follow the crowd. And it’s ok if you do. But always remember to create your path. At times we may get sucked on the same path as the rest of humanity. But try living by the beat of our own rhythm.
I always think about what I can change in my day-to-day living to help make a difference. And after some trial and error, changing my routine a beat at a time, I finally found my own rhythm.
So now, I want to share the rhythm I live by so that you too have a chance to change your habits & routines. This will ensure that we start living a healthier and cleaner lifestyle, one step at a time.
Here are 23 simple ways I help the environment:
1. Stars in the Jars -
Pasta sauce equals awesome jars. I love glass jars. I usually clean out the pasta jars, or other plastic containers that I absolutely love, and I reuse them. I clean them by taking off the wrapper, soaking them in hot water with soap, and then washing them. At times the wrapping paper leaves this sticky glue on the jar, so for those sticky situations, I get my handy dandy Goo Gone Adhesive Remover. Once I clean the jars to my liking, I use them as drinking cups, storage containers for food, or even store them for arts and craft projects.
2. The Plastic Disappearing Act -
A way to eliminate the use of plastic is by using reusable bags whenever possible. I used to go grocery shopping and bring home about 10 - 20 plastic bags in a single trip. Sometimes more depending on whether the cashier double bags. Now, I have over 10 different reusable shopping bags. Yes, that many. It’s cheap to buy them, and most grocery stores sell them for about a dollar or two. I always think about those 10 - 20 bags for EVERY household… and well, that’s a lot of plastic. So I really make an effort to make this part of my routine. Once you get into the rhythm of using reusable shopping bags, you will feel so upset that you forgot to pack them for your next shopping trip. That’s when you really know that it’s becoming your thing. Also, if you do end up forgetting your reusable bags (and trust me it happens), ask about paper bags. Paper bags are strong and can also be reused.
3. Well Hello Porky & Beefy -
I know this may not be for everyone, but it can be. Reducing the amount of meat you eat doesn't mean you have to let go of it completely. In my household, we’ve agreed not to buy pork or beef. Period. However, just because we are not eating pork & beef at home, doesn’t mean we don’t treat ourselves to some ox-tails from the Jamaican restaurant across the street, or the carne asada from the Latin restaurant in Little Havana. And you may be wondering how reducing the amount of meat you eat can help the environment, well, let me enlighten you. Did you know that the Amazons are being destroyed by fires for the land to be used as cattle lands? The more meat is in demand, the more cows are needed. And the more cows are needed, the more lands are burned down to a crisp with no one to help the poor trees and animals… **crying face**… well you get the point. So yes, reducing the amount of meat you eat helps a lot. And right now, the Amazonians are fighting really hard to keep their home safe from being burned. So by reducing the consumption of beef, you too can help them save their homes.
4. Let’s Be Friends -
I’m on this crazy environmentally friendly shopping craze. Buy more environmentally friendly products they said, and so I did. There are more and more companies, mom & pop shops, and small businesses that are becoming more aware of the environmental crisis. And they are now finding ways to be more environmentally friendly. Woohoo! But now it’s time for you to do your part. Take some time to search up some organic products to replace some of your non-organic household items. I can assure you that you can find organic or environmentally friendly alternatives for products like shampoos, conditioners, dish washing soaps, lotions, and so much more. And just to name a few companies that are trying to make this change, they are 7th Generation, Native, Tru Earth, and Unni.
5. The Triple F’s -
I love buying Fresh Food from Farmers. Where I live (Miami, FL), we have lots of farmer’s markets. But I don’t usually go to them, instead, I drive to the source of the produce. A few miles down south, I can find many farmers that grow their own fruits and veggies. Taking mini road trips to the local farmers is always a joy ride. And the best part is, I get to enjoy a nice ride, spend time in nature, get fresh produce, and support our local farmers. When you buy from the local farmers, you also eliminate all the hormones and the crazy pesticides added by larger companies. And that alone is a big plus.
6. Plant a Tree -
Donate to plant more trees. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s really self explanatory. You can pay to plant trees in different parts of the world. My favorite company is One Tree Planted. It only costs $1 to plant a tree. Think about it like this, if you want to feel good about helping the environment, instead of buying $150 shoes, buy $75 shoes, pay $50 to plant 50 trees, and use the other $25 to invest on reusable items. Wow, that was easy! I call this making smart decisions.
7. The Plastic Basket -
I absolutely love recycling. My mother taught me about the importance of recycling. Recycle. Reuse. Reduce. It’s one of those life lessons that stuck with me and I live by. While I wish I could eliminate plastic all together, I at least try to do my part. My household recycles so much that we were given an additional recycling bin, and now we own two. Yay! Remember, recycle, reuse, and reduce.
8. The Green Thumb -
In the past, I used to be really bad with plants. But my father taught me two simple things about plants, and now I grow plants with ease. The two simple things to remember about the plant life line (water, food, and sunlight): (1) All plants require different amounts of water and sunlight. And (2) the best food for soil is compost. Planting more trees helps purify our air, so why not plant more trees at home.
9. Speaking of Compost -
You guessed it! I absolutely love throwing my compost in my garden. The worms love it! And if they love it, then so do the plants. There’s nothing better than giving nature back her fruits to make more fruits. It’s like investing and letting your money make more money without the hard work. And there’s a gaining factor from all of this, you spend absolutely no money on plant food. Just let nature take care of it. Here’s a recommendation though, if you don’t want to throw your food away openly, then you can invest in a compost bin. Or create one by following a DIY on Pinterest or YouTube.
10. The Hand-Me-Girl -
Since I was young, I received hand-me-downs from pretty much everyone. I’ve grown to love shopping in other people’s closets and through bags of unwanted clothes. No money wasted and lots of goodies to choose from. My mother also introduced the underrated thrift stores. I always found it to be interesting how people freely gave away lots of good stuff. I save a lot of money, and most importantly, I help reduce waste. One small detail to keep in mind if you are a little hesitant about shopping through hand-me-downs or thrift stores is that someone else’s unwanted goodies could be a treasure to you. So I always recommend trying it out before you completely turn it down. In fact, I was able to receive donated clothes, toys, and a crib for my daughter when she was born. I eventually want to teach her the value of using donated goodies and how it can help reduce waste.
11. The Teacher -
I love to teach people (children in particular) how to appreciate nature & how to make a difference in life. This particular part is more for mothers or individuals who love working with kids, or love being crafty. Children love being involved and crafty, so one way I like helping kids understand the significance of their footprint is by showing them what we recycle and why we recycle. By allowing them to see what is recyclable and what is not, they are able to start making a difference at a young age. I also like making crafty things like birdhouses & feeders and plant pots. I personally like getting ideas from Pinterest. They have really cool ideas for DIY using recycled items that you can do yourself or with kids.
12. The Trash Picker -
Ok, so I admit that I’m one of those people that truly dislikes seeing trash on the floor. I just don’t understand how there could be a trash can 5 meters away from a pile of trash on the street. I’ve seen people throw trash out of their cars, and even throw trash from their purse onto the street or sidewalk. So I decided to purchase a trash picker and use a bucket from the litter I buy for my kitty to pick up trash on my walks with my daughter. Not only am I getting a good walk, but I’m cleaning up my neighborhood in the process, and most importantly, I’m setting an example for my monkey chunky.
13. The Minimalist - Buy what you need, not what you want. I know it’s hard, but it’s definitely possible, and many people are starting to catch on to this. Honestly, I wish I could buy A LOT of things, but when I take a moment to really think about whether I need it or not, I realize that “a want” is creating clutter. Besides, one way to keep myself from buying things just to spend, is by thinking about all the items I can take with me when I die...and that pretty much helps me say no to a lot of overspending. And the plus side is, I save money for vacations instead.
14. The Wave Cleaner - So, remember when I mentioned that I pick up trash while I go for walks. In recent years, I’ve started to see more and more trash in the ocean as well. So, I started cleaning the ocean while I swam. In the past, I would usually take a plastic bag and put the trash I found in it, but now I prefer to take a netted bag. The plastic bag would get too full with water and it made it difficult to swim. And once the bag gets full, just dump it into a trash can. Save the Turtles! And the fish too.
15. The Cool Girl -
This little tip is not usually ideal for the summers, but during the autumn and the winter seasons, it is perfect! I save so much money and energy in the autumn and winter by simply shutting off my A/C and opening up the windows. I can see such a difference in my bill between the summer and the winter. And the best part is, I can help conserve energy. I do recommend making sure that you have a screen on your windows though, because the mosquitoes will hunt you down!
16. Old School -
Now, I don’t know if this is a Latin thing, but my mother taught me to turn an old towel into a mop. This is a lot more eco friendly than getting other mops that consist of you having to buy pads or other pieces in order to mop. I usually like cutting old towels in half (the short way), so you end up with two squares. And then I make a slit in the middle big enough to allow the broom stick to slide in. This will make it easy for you to mop without it falling off the broom. I like to do this because I can save money on not having to buy additional items, but also because I can use it over and over again. All I have to do is wash it and reuse it.
17. Scissor Hands -
Has anyone ever watched Happy Feet and realized what was killing Lovelace? I did. And so, my hands became scissors. Now, I cut the plastic holders that come with cans or bottles before throwing them away. I just want to make sure that we don’t have any more penguins trapped in plastic holders. Poor Lovelace.
18. The Waterbender -
I love water, filtered water. Have you ever truly tasted the water in plastic bottles? It tastes like….plastic. And with every plastic bottle you drink, is another plastic bottle you throw away. Therefore, I believe (and I highly recommend) that you also take the time to invest in a water filter AND a water jug. If you have a water filter, you can save money and time on not having to constantly buy water bottles. Also, if you get a water jug, you are able to measure how much water you drink a day (which motivates you to drink more), and you can always take your jug anywhere you go. It’s a win-win!
19. Suck On This -
About a decade ago, plastic straws were nothing special. But after learning more about what happens to straws after we use them, I started getting a little concerned. They practically end up everywhere, even our oceans. I wanted to buy myself some reusable straws but I couldn’t decide on whether I wanted bamboo based or another material. Funny enough, I didn’t have to spend a dime. I ended up getting reusable straws for Christmas. And they are so nice. The reusable straws are colorful and came with a brush to clean them. So, this coming Christmas, maybe we should make it a thing to gift people with eco-friend items. Together, we can start an eco-lution, get it? Evolution!
20. Getting Crafty -
The best part of DIY is that you can make something cool out of something not so cool. When I moved into my home in July of 2020, I found a toilet in the backyard. I didn’t really want it to go to waste, so I decided to repurpose it. I placed it somewhere in the yard where it will compliment its surroundings. I haven’t completed it yet, but I plan to turn it into a plant holder. I want the toilet decorated with flowers. This is just an idea, but you can do pretty much anything with any unwanted furniture by repurposing it. Again, you can find a lot of cool ideas on Pinterest.
21. The Wrapper -
This is crazy, but why do we wrap up gifts to unwrap them again? A few years ago, I wrapped up a Christmas gift for a friend and within an hour that gift was unwrapped, and all that was left was torn up paper everywhere. That’s when I realized that we use paper and waste it. Since then, instead of wrapping up gifts, I use and reuse boxes and bags instead of paper.
22. The Takeout -
We all love ordering out sometimes. There’s no shame in that. But with every takeout there’s a container or two, or three. And after some time, it all adds up. To ensure I don’t create extra waste, I make an effort to keep as many of the containers or bowls. In fact, I only own four glass bowls. All the rest are bowls kept from ordering out. I also have lots of containers that I use to store leftovers in the fridge.
23. The Tree Hugger -
There’s no better way to get closer to nature than spending time with nature. The more you soak in the precious vitamin D and wet your feet in the healing waters of the oceans or lakes, the more you start appreciating the beauty of life and all that the world has to offer. Mother Earth is such a magnificent place. Her beauty lies in all that surrounds us. From the colorful skies to the mystical creatures that walk on this beautiful world. Appreciating life starts with enjoying, loving, and taking care of the one that provides and gives us life. I love and respect Mother Nature just as much as I love and respect my own mother; because without her, I would not be here. None of us would, and so I always vow to do my best to care for her and love her until I no longer can.
Well, that’s it. I’m still adjusting my lifestyle to maximize my “environmentalist” lifestyle--adding one new eco-friendly habit into my routine at a time. I hope this really helped you think about some new habits to incorporate into your lifestyle. It’s just you, me, and Mother Earth. Let’s do this!
About the Creator
I'm a writer, a dancer, and a photographer. I love being creative because hey, why not! Creativity sells, entertains, and inspires. And I am all for it! ;)
Let's get to it!