Here’s how we can make 2017 the year that…

 Here’s how we can make 2017 the year that changes it all…

Blog post by Roopa Suppiah, Co-founder of Water Well-ness Project – Get free updates of new blog posts here.

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It’s a new year and with that comes an opportunity for a fresh start. The new year doesn’t have to be about making resolutions, a word which I’m finding is causing a lot of people to roll their eyes at nowadays. If you really think about it, the new year is an artificially constructed moment in time that has been created by humans and our society, and in fact we could choose to have a fresh start at any given moment – we don’t need to wait for the new year. However, given that at the end of the day we do follow the Gregorian calendar that starts in January and ends in December, I ask you why not take January to be a time when we go out with the “it didn’t work so well” and in with the “let’s try to make things better”.

Many of you reading this article might have done some reflection about how the past year went for you and for the world. Unfortunately, intolerance and inequity were some of the major themes we take away from 2016 (and, in fact, increasingly over the past many years). With this in mind, many of you might be feeling similar to how I’m feeling right now; I look at my year ahead in this world and all I really want to do is make it a better place in any and every way I can. I don’t believe that in 2017, after all that society has learned from the 1000s of years of civilization, we need to live in the type of world we’ve been creating. We can do better, much better. Humanity deserves better.

Making positive impact on society and our world can be done through so many different angles. You probably already are making great impact, both through your conscious and unconscious actions. Instead of trying to come up with one giant leap and bound to save the world, I turn to my present life and think about what within my day-to-day can I do to make the world better. I don’t want it to be too hard. But I want to do some good. Sometimes, okay maybe all the time, it’s helpful if we create an organized approach. So, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of how we can take the key domains of our life and through each of them, create amazingness for the world. This amazingness comes in the form of thriving neighborhoods and cities, protection of our precious natural resources, a healthier planet, and individuals who feel proud of the way they treat each other and the world. Now, who doesn’t want to strive for that, am I right?!

Check out the four domains below and see how you can use each to create amazingness:

  1. Day-to-day activities and chores: Most activities you do around your house can be easily spun so they are way more respectful. Respectful? What am I talkin’ bout, you ask? I’m talking about respectful to the earth, yo! Each of these activities helps reduce water waste, energy and carbon dioxide emissions, which translates into tangible benefits to our world!

    • Keep lights off in rooms not being used.

    • Keep the taps turned off when brushing your teeth and when soaping your hands during hand washing.

    • Cut your shower time down by just a couple minutes.

    • Make sure no taps around your house are leaking.

    • Use the dishwasher (running loads only when it’s full), rather than hand-washing dishes as dishwashers have been shown to be more water efficient.

    • Hang your laundry to dry whenever possible.

    • Fix any leaky faucets in your house.

    • When running errands or going to work, choose carpooling, walking, biking, or public transit whenever possible.

    • Bring and use re-useable grocery bags to not only the grocery store but to other stores where they offer plastic bags.

  1. Purchasing: Buy local products and support local businesses. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it actually does translate into awesomeness for the world for many reasons. Buying local and supporting independent (rather than big-box) businesses means that the people in your local community that are growing food on their farm, crafting and selling jewelry, or running their own dance studio are being shown that their products and services are valued and they should keep doing what they are doing. I’m much more enthusiastic handing over my money to these types of businesses than to the big-box ones. “We speak with our money” isn’t my favourite saying for no reason, now. Buying and supporting local keeps our economy running and ensures our friends and neighbors keep their livelihoods, which tends to be their life passions too! Local is better for our world also because “local” products are more likely to be sourced from local raw materials rather than from all over the world. The footprint of those materials is much less on our environment, for example because less transportation (and hence fossil fuel energy) is required.

  2. Eat consciously. The simplest way to move us straight towards a sustainable earth is to choose vegetarian options more often and eat non-vegetarian options less often. Raising animals takes an enormous toll on the environment, from the methane that cows pass in their gas, to the water animals require for drinking, to the huge manufacturing plants that process meat for consumption. Veggies are the way to go, it’s that simple.

  3. Reduce your waste. I’m not talking about pooping and peeing less here. No, instead I’m talking about reducing the garbage you produce (do you really need that extra napkin?), diverting garbage to compost and recycling when appropriate, recycling as much as possible, and responsibly disposing items like medications (return them to the pharmacy rather than throwing them in the waste bin or flushing them down the toilet) and e-waste (bring your old electronics, batteries, cartridges, etc. to stores like Staples Business Depot which recycle them). I don’t know about you, but all it takes is an image of a landfill in my mind to make my heart weep with sadness for the devastating impact of garbage on our world. Toilet roll, you permanently have a place in the recycling bin in my life.

So there it is. You are just moments away from making planet earth in 2017 a much better place to be. Each of these actions pushes us closer to creating a more sustainable, healthy, and harmonious world.  Cheers to an amazing 2017!


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