January is a great time to make positive changes in your life and the lives of others. This month we will be making another effort to decrease waste and overconsumption in our studios. We will be eliminating the use of paper towels in all our bathrooms. In their place will be clean, organic hand towels and hand sanitizer (which is said to be the most effective way to “de-germ” our hands if you chose to.) Did you know that Americans send 3000 tons of paper towels to landfills everyday? (http://www.greendaily.com/2007/10/19/paper-towels-not-the-quicker-picker-uppers-we-once-believed/)
Many people ask themselves, “Why make any changes at all when the problems of the world seem so insurmountable?” The question I have is, “Why the heck not leave a little more resources for someone else? Why not be more peaceful?” I would like to challenge each and every one of you— including myself— to make a change that is easy. Change does not need to be painful and hard nor does it need to be big. But it needs to happen. And it needs to start now. We all have things in our lives we wouldn’t mind changing or giving up. Start with those!
“Don’t not do anything because you can’t do everything. Do something, anything!” Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, founder of Compassionate Cooks (www.compassionatecooks.com).
As you may remember, I started the path towards eliminating all animal products from my diet (becoming vegan). I had been thinking about it for years. For years, I knew that there was a strong connection between the dairy industry and the veal industry. Did you ever wonder where all the baby boy cows go when born on a dairy farm? (www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy_and_veal.asp.) I also knew that there was a strong connection between global warming and environmental degradation and the livestock industry. “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and, not least of all, global warming (Vegetarian is the New Prius, Kathy Freston, http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0120-20.htm). I also had the feeling that living and talking about peace (I have become more and more involved in the peace movement) had to start with my own choices. Not just how I treat people, but what I buy and what I eat. Not just about those people and that war over there, but what was happening in my own house, community, and what I was putting on my plate. This seems like very bad news indeed, but I say, no, it is empowering. It means that each and every one of us has many options for making real and lasting change.
I can’t tell you how wonderful I feel. I feel truer to my beliefs and more physically healthy to boot. I know that my choice isn’t the only or right one for you, but it sure has a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak. My point is that you can make changes that are right for you, better for every other being that lives on the planet, and do it with joy. I don’t know what flipped the switch for me, but I do know that it doesn’t feel difficult, it just feels right. I love the challenge of cooking new foods and feeling more consistent with my values. Even better, it paves the way for other new changes and challenges. Most, importantly, don’t try be perfect— I for one am not— just do the best that you can and do it with gusto!
So my question to you is: Why not be hopeful? Why not look to the future with excitement for all that is possible? And of course: Why not do more O2 yoga???
I sincerely wish you a new year full of joys and challenges.