The Ripple-Effect

What’s good for you, is also good for the environment.

When you make sustainable choices, the result is what I call the ripple-effect.

By understanding the ripple-effect, you begin to understand how simplicity, sustainability, and financial responsibility are connected.

For years we’ve heard the mantra: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. We tried to use less energy. We tried to buy products with less packaging. We recycled when we could. We also tried to eat as healthy as possible given our busy lives. But as our children grew older, we became much more conscious of what we were feeding them and ourselves. The more we questioned our food choices, the more we realized how closely our health-consciousness was linked to environmental consciousness.

When you take a hard, critical look at mass-produced food, you may not want to buy anything from the grocery store ever again. So what if you didn’t? What if you built your diet around bulk grains, rice, beans and local produce and made all your meals from scratch?

First, by doing so, you wouldn’t be supporting the mass food industry by buying their genetically modified, potentially carcinogenic, possibly toxic processed food that’s packaged in non-biodegradable containers and shipped to your town from someplace far away.

Second, per ounce, pre-packaged processed foods are much more expensive, so by not buying them, you’d save money.

And third, you’d be eating whole, natural, hopefully organic food that will inevitably produce long-term health benefits.

But, you might argue, processed foods are easy. They’re convenient. And who has time to cook every meal from scratch?

So let’s take it a step further and look at the beef industry. Under examination, you see how destructive mass-produced beef is for the environment and the health of anyone eating it. Consider the genetically modified corn specifically grown to feed to cows, the antibiotics and hormones injected into the animals, the irradiation of the meat product, the Styrofoam and plastic packaging, and the expense of transporting it all to market. The industry claims it’s providing what people want; easy, cheap food, right now. You might say what I’ve said at times in my life; “sure the industry’s harmful to the environment and the meat isn’t healthy, but I’ve l got to eat something. It’s not like I can raise my own cows.” Given the convenience factor it’s easy to overlook all the negatives.

But when you challenge yourself to find alternatives, you discover they exist. That’s where your curiosity, imagination, and creativity begin to work their magic. It’s when you begin to try new things and explore new opportunities.

When you begin to creatively think of ways to change your eating habits, or lower your utility bills, or reduce the quantity of material things in your life, you start to realize the beneficial effects, not just for you, but also for the world at large, for others and for the environment.

Here’s how our simplicity positively impacts the environment:

  • Because we buy very little processed food, we have very little trash
  • Because we buy things used, we don’t buy packaging, and don’t have trash
  • Because we drink free tap water (filtered,) we don’t have plastic bottles to recycle
  • Because we have lower utility bills, we use fewer resources
  • Because we have less stuff, we use fewer resources

Here’s how our simplicity positively impacts our daily lives:

  • Because we buy very little processed food, we eat healthier and save money
  • Because we buy things used, we save money
  • Because we drink tap water, we save money
  • Because we have lower utility bills, we save money
  • Because we have less stuff, we save money and have fewer things to repair, replace, maintain, and worry about

By incorporating simplicity into your life, even on the smallest scale, the most seemingly insignificant things, you begin to see the ripple effect.

One change, one minor adjustment in your daily routine or periodic visit to the supermarket, can have many, multi-layered consequences. You begin to see how all things work together, how we’re tied to the planet and to each other.

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