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INDIVIDUAL ACTS INFLUENCE THE COLLECTIVE

By Barbara McDowall

Changing the world does begin with me and you, and you, and you!

The more aware I become, the more willing I am to take a look at what I believe and then see how congruent my behaviour is with my beliefs and values.  Take the environment for example.  Recently, a group of us got together and this question was asked, 'What would happen if each of us was responsible for the amount of garbage we created?' What a great question!  That sparked much thought and conversation. Another great question is, 'What is the size of my carbon footprint and what actions can I take as an individual to lessen my impact.'

I have had to consciously look at the way I live my life and to let go of those behaviours that are incongruent with my love of the planet.  Here is what I found.

Here in Guelph we have a garbage program which requires us to separate our garbage into non biodegradable bags.  That doesn't seem to make sense to me.  What I now do is purchase biodegradable bags for green garbage.  I use blue boxes instead of blue bags for our recycled garbage.  I have stopped using fast food drive thru lanes and instead park my car and walk inside to place my order.  I am intentionally limiting my use of the car by grouping errands into one or two trips.  This fall, I will be purchasing a rain barrel to cut down on the amount of water I use outdoors. 

Even though I have a dishwasher, I haven't used it in months as I now wash dishes by hand.  What a great meditation that is!  I have begun to take the bus into Toronto (I live an hour and a half away) which cuts down on the amount of gas my car consumes and is much more cost-effective.  I have been hanging out my laundry either in my basement (in the winter) or on the line in warmer weather.  Recently, I began taking my own mug to my favourite coffee shop instead of taking one of the ubiquitous paper cups they offer which litter our streets and highways. 

Already I can see impact on my world of that intentional change.  It is not something I need to be telling other people to do.  It is more important for me to be doing them.  What other people do with that is up to them. 

I know the more I focus on what I want to see in the world, the more ideas will come to me that I can then incorporate into my everyday life.  The clearer I am about the values that matter most to me, the more creative I can become in allowing them to come alive through my actions.

Even though I am one person, I believe I am connected to the whole and when I make a change in how I think and behave there be will have an impact on the collective.

Authentic Living

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