Eco Stress. What Can We Do?


'Eco stress' is fast becoming a phrase commonly used.  People and especially parents are becoming more and more concerned with the state of our planet.  The biggest question is what kind of a planet are we leaving for our children?  With the ice caps rapidly melting and many species heading toward extinction due to climate change, will our children be safe in this future world?  How can we ensure that they will live a long comfortable and healthy life?  And then, what about their children (our grandchildren)?  The thought of all this can be very overwhelming and depressing. 

I have been overwhelmed about these issues in the past, and it seemed that once a month or so, I would have a day that I felt overwhelmed and incapacitated about it.  I thought about this a lot, and of course, that is why I started the green moms support group in 2005 and why this GreenMoms website has come to be. 

When it comes down to it, I realized for myself there are only a few things we can do:

(1) We could kill ourselves to be as green as possible and put us out of our misery, right?  But then where does that leave our children?  Still not a great future for them without their parents, and that does not really change anything.

(2) Next, we could stick our heads in the sand, and just decide not to worry about it or do nothing.  But then, the stress would still be in the background nagging at us, and eventually, at least for me, it would come back even worse because I would feel horrible about not doing anything to help make the world a better place for my daughter and her future family.  Some people might say, "Well, my kids will be fine because they will have lots of material things and money to keep them happy.  Sure, if you think 'stuff' and money are the only things that make people happy, healthy, and safe.  But, they will still have to worry about increased natural disasters, food shortages, food contamination, water contamination, worse air pollution, increased diseases.....and the list goes on.  Yuck!  If we can all work together to stop this now, then why not try?  

(3) The final decision for me:  Do something about it.  Don't stick your head in the sand and pretend there is nothing to worry about. Don't let climate change concern be the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.  So, I decided to change my life style and my behaviors dramatically.

BUT, here is the problem as many of you know, when you decide with full intentions and a well meaning heart that you are going to change everything in your power to live green:  It means MORE eco stress!  It is so overwhelming to know where to start, that you can be paralyzed just thinking about what to do.  So, here is what I find helpful to reduce the stress:

-Make a list of things you are willing to change.

-Then, circle the things you are most likely to change.

-Then, put those circled items in priority from what you can easily do, to most the difficult.

-Make one change at a time.

-Do it gradually to keep your sanity. 

-Then....feel good about what you have accomplished because any little thing does make a difference.

Keep in mind when you do this, it does not matter if they are big or small changes, because ANY change makes a difference. This is especially true if lots of people are making the same little changes.  I started by changing my household cleaning supplies to non-toxic.  That was easy for me.  I just boxed up the bad stuff and stuck it in the garage to worry about later.  Then, I switched to vinegar, baking soda, Bon Ami, and later added hydrogen peroxide.  Next, I figured out which body care products were the safest and most biodegradable.  I then purged the junk I had been using into my trash can and bought the more eco-friendly products.   I thought it was better to send the chemical ridden products to the landfill than to send it down the drain where it would eventually get back into our water supply. The list of changes I made goes on, but I have been working at it for five years.  I did things gradually, and I took on only one change at a time to keep myself sane. 

I truly believe in the philosophy of the 'ripple effect'.  Everything we do positive or negative sends out a little ripple through the world which affects everything else......even though we can't see it happen.   I have seen how the power of knowledge and even small solutions just within our own green moms support group get passed along and spread like wildfire to many people.  It is so rewarding to see this happen, and you can see it in our world today with the big changes corporations and governments are making to go green.  That was all fueled by people and moms like us who are acting to change the world!  We are doing it little by little, but it IS coming along.  It took a long time to pollute the planet, and it will take a long time to restore it, but we can do it!  So, Green On!  Your children will thank you for it!

Melinda

www.GreenMomsCoastside.com

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