1. Protest products.
The duty of deciding what goes down in the kitchen is often times held by women in our families; therefore, women have the opportunity to choose (hopefully) healthy foods and make conscious dietary decisions. Although many markets deliberately overwhelm you with tempting choices, the products you bring home to your house deserve more reflection than their convenience factor, and even what their label reads. Pay attention to where your food is coming from — the process that it took to get to your grocery store, the factory that likely produced it, the animals that may have been harmed in making it, the company’s values, the environmental footprint it leaves in its wake.
Although we have immense choice in our food products, we should focus on buying foods that are karmically clean, choosing local and organic products and produce, and steering away from meat and dairy when possible. As you educate yourself to make the best decision for the health of your family and the planet, do not be afraid to protest products and encourage your friends to do so too. Many successful boycotts and protests are driven by women; such as the original environmentalista, Rachel Carson’s call to action in Silent Spring; or, more recently, Stacy Malkan leading the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It is up to us to make the most educated decisions that feed our families and nurture our homes and our bodies.
2. Spend time communing with nature.
When we tune-in to the beauty that surrounds us — witnessing other living things breathing, awakening, growing and even singing – we are more grateful for our own existence on this shared green Earth. As we become more aware of the cycles of nature — such as yearly seasonal shifts, daily solar patterns, and monthly lunar cycles, we gain greater awareness of our own human cycles and how they relate to our natural world — especially in women.
In just a few moments outdoors we can listen to the birds singing instead of twittering away, breathe in fresh air the plants around us are recycling, watch neighborhood wildlife grow, or appreciate the playful energy of your dog in a park. Our modern routine of commuting by car, staring at a computer through the day, and coming home to switch on the TV, desensitizes us to our real home — the place where we all came from and will return to at the end of this life cycle. Commit to appreciating nature on a daily basis.
3. Support women’s education worldwide.
Population control is gaining prominence as one of the essential solutions to global challenges. Mother Jones magazine [May/June 2010] notes overpopulation combined with overconsumption is leading to a major crisis with our world’s biocapacity. Other resources have been saying this for 40 years or more, already. We are using our resources faster than we can possibly replenish them, with the world population topping 9 billion by 2050; however, we can’t break the cycle without enabling women’s education worldwide. Scientific American reports fertility rates in developing countries are stressing local resources causing communities to turn to more energy production that pollutes their environment; or alternatively, forces families into poverty, starvation and death in underdeveloped countries.
Some girls have no choice but to wed early and birth as many babies as their husbands see fit. All young women should have access to birth control, and the education necessary to understand their own fertility rights. This is often challenging in cultures of the world where religious fanaticism trumps reality. Investing in micro-lending may help indigenous women create a livelihood for themselves, moving closer to self-reliance. To act locally, end abstinence only teaching in our own schools. Do what you can to send girls to school throughout the world. Support organizations that end violence and injustice against women. We have so much in common if we open ourselves to connect. We all come from the same Mama Earth.
4. Protect our Precious Waterways.
Getting active with ocean preservation and demanding clean drinking water for our communities is instrumental for our health in our own lifetimes. We ourselves are about 70 percent water, the Earth’s surface is similarly 75 percent water, yet this dynamic correlation is lost on many, if not most, of our population. Besides the rapid pollution of our oceans, we are failing to keep our own drinking water sources clean and protected. There is enormous suffering in both highly populated and developing areas of the world when disease and disorders are spread through drinking and living near polluted waterways.
We are also threatening most of the world’s fish population and destroying creatures’ breathtaking habitats. Recent incidents such as oil spilling on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the discovery of an Atlantic Garbage Patch to complement its West coast cousin, the continental size Pacific Garbage Patch; illustrate the severity of human influence in our oceans.
Coming of age in climate change, water scarcity will be a household topic to many nations. We must respond not only with urgency, but with understanding and compassion; choosing to conserve in our everyday life and learning what we can about surrounding waterways and global water issues.
5. Teach your children well.
Human relationships are evolving as the Earth turns. While our human population explodes into sky high numbers, we are finding ways to make our world even smaller with the ability to connect across the globe through new technologies. Kids today know this better than anyone, with many US students owning/using a cell phone and interacting on Facebook, daily. We must use these technologies to engage each other and organize, rather than divide and isolate us.
Teach your children compassion for all people, (and animals!) so these privileges are used to grow our interface with the world. Imagine worldwide online communities of kids discussing issues that matter to them — such as same sex marriage, healthier school foods, religious freedom, human rights; all the while harnessing global support and commitment to action. This generation will grow up making radical global change, using these connections to effect real movement that does not see race, borders, or difference in background, but uses that diversity to progress it. It’s already happening.
As advanced as online community may be, children will find the most enrichment from experiences they can relate to in their own backyard and community. It is our shared responsibility to guide children as youth in understanding our natural world. Activities that will last a lifetime that you can start very young include biking to school, hiking through the woods, growing your own food, sprouting a seed, or planting a tree. Our family is our foundation — creating roots for the rest of our lives.