Welcome to our weekly explainer series inspired by the Dagara Medicine Wheel. Each week we show you how one of its five distinct energies called Elements can transform, clear, amp up, or balance the energies in your own life. This week #Water Medicine, which works in the realm of feelings and emotions, brings in balance, the ability to go with the flow, peace, and the removing of obstacles.
If you’re not familiar with our Explainers, they’re designed to elevate one everyday action, in order to break out of your routine and into your awareness where you are operating on a conscious level.
Water itself, in our everyday lives, represents this practical and pervasive power.
For example, right now you're sipping from your to-go cup of coffee, or hydrating from a plastic bottle after yoga class. You’re on the go, it's practical for sure, and of course you're not thinking how water touches nearly everything in your life on a daily basis. Really like nothing else.
Water reminds us that we are all connected. That flow is effected by small actions in both positive and negative ways.
When you don’t realize how much your actions SUC...Yes SUC.
Take that paper cup from your morning coffee. That seemingly insignificant action in the scope of your entire day. Later, when you’re cleaning out your car, you’re not near the recycle bin. ‘ Just this once into the trash,’ you think, as you’re rushing to your meeting.
Each year, Americans toss away more than 80 billion single-use cups (SUCs). And in the U.S. we use 500 million single use plastic (SUP) straws a day...enough to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year.
And what about that plastic water bottle from yoga?
We know that plastic pollution affects every waterway, sea and ocean in the world.
80-90% of the marine debris is made from plastic.
There’s even another cause and effect to consider here: this pollution also has huge costs for taxpayers and local governments that must clean trash off of beaches and streets to protect public health, and prevent flooding due to trash-blocked storm drains. The NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) analyzed a survey of 95 California communities and found their total reported annual costs for preventing litter from becoming pollution is $428 million per year. What if that money could go to conservation?
It Takes A Lot Of Water To Make The Things we Use Daily
And what about how much water it takes to make that plastic bottle, and many of the other common items we use on a daily basis?
- It takes at least twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water in the water bottle.
- It takes 75,000 gallons of water to produce one ton of steel. Since the average car contains about 2,150 pounds of steel, that means over 80,000 gallons of water is needed to produce the finished steel for one car.
- It takes about 700 gallons of water to grow and maintain one cotton T-shirt over its lifespan..
What You Don't Know About The Blue Bin
Say you did make it to the blue bin on your way to your meeting. Unfortunately, even may of the SUC’s we think we are recycling are lined with plastic and are difficult and expensive to recycle. Starbucks has actually fallen short of its stated recycling goals because of this. And they sell 4 billion SUCS a year.
What doesn’t SUC? Reduce and Reuse.
Make this one choice instead. Try choosing drinkable glass containers. Glass can end up in a landfill it's true, but you are putting the power of reusing to work in your community.
Two other concepts, “Reduce” and “Reuse” actually provide a much higher return for the environment for the effort expended.
Reduce is the concept of not creating waste in the first place. Waste prevention, also referred to as “source reduction,” means changing habits to reduce the amount of trash created every day. Putting this into practice is one of the best ways to help your community decrease the amount of material that goes to the landfill.
- Try buying in bulk to reduce packaging.
- Or opt out of receiving junk mail.
Reuse is a mind shift from 'just toss it.' Save that pickle jar for your yoga class. Don't be subconscious...use it to start a conversation about what's SUP with plastic waste!
Or check out this great product: Reusable Glass Mason Drinking Jar.
Google it. There are tons of options out there. You can even just get the tops and glass straws to use with mason jars you may already own. It’s a metaphor for how small actions have big consequences in negative and positive ways.
Deepak Chopra says, "It's not THE environment, it's OUR environment. Another reminder of how it's all connected. Make a choice today to show you care what's 'SUP with our world!