by Pragya Kothari & Fernanda Rubim
We have all heard that the meaning of the word 'yoga' is union. Ancient yogic texts like the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita teach us that there is more to this practice than meets the eye. Maybe understanding this connection with the universe is a far stretch for most of us today. But, it doesn't have to be so abstract and our natural environment can be the bridge between that oneness and union.
We believe that ‘prana’, that single life force, that cosmic energy permeates the universe on all levels. Then through that philosophy of yoga, the practice on our mats where we cultivate this prana connects us with all other all living beings that share this planet with us. This realization is what causes the shift in perception of the mindful yogi that changes his/her consumption patterns to be more respectful to their surroundings. After all the energy they give out is the energy they take in.
It is well known that yoga is founded upon principles that promote awareness of one’s sense of connection, inborn unity, and interdependence with all things. Clearly these beliefs convey ecological consciousness and perhaps more importantly inspire conscious, environmental stewardship for the betterment of our society and our planet.
This write up is meant to serve as a guide for us to incorporate this innate and sometimes dormant ecological consciousness into our daily actions.
Practical ideas on how to live more sustainable
- Change your light bulbs. Switch to better sources like LED, florescent light, it has serious impacts on your energy consumption.
- Turn your computers off at night. Even on energy saving mode you are using a lot of energy
- Unplug all of your electronics when they are not being used, instead of leaving them on standby.
- Hang dry your clothes rather than use the clothes dryer.
- Switch to partial or complete green power from your utility company.
- When in office, turn off all the peripherals such as printers, speakers and scanners when not in use.
- Stop rinsing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. This will raise some eyebrows but honestly, it has to be a decision based on when you are running the dishwasher and if you simply drank tea in that cup.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce the usage of packaged food items. Reuse scrap paper. Recycle old jars.
- Wash vegetables and fruits in still standing water and reuse this to water the plants at home.
- Take your own bags with you to the grocery store. You reduce the use of plastic, especially single use. The small reusable bags which fold up into nothingness are a real life saver.
- Where avoidable, choose warm or cold water rather than hot water t wash clothes, surface, etc.
- Instead of buying bottled drinking water, install a water cleaning system on your sink or alternatively buy water purifying jugs like Brita.
- Baths are a luxury, and while sometimes unavoidable the water wastage may still not be worth it. Switch them for short showers for a quick win.
- Plant a tree, start a vegetable garden, grow your fruits or herbs and the satisfaction of watching them grow is a feeling like no other.
- Use indoor plants to accessorize your home, you can switch them between rooms ro refresh the look and feel of the place.
- Recycle everything! When not sure, enquire about it, almost all phones, laptops, tablets have producer buyback programs.
- Rainwater harvesting to water your lawns and garden.
- Use recycled products whenever you can. This includes printer ink, paper, cardboard, etc. Even a reusable mug is good to have when you want to go green.
- Receive all you bills via e-docs only and set up a direct debit or pay them online to reduce paper wastage.
- Get e-tickets for the movies and concerts, instead of buying paper tickets. Even file your taxes electronically to cut back on paper usage.
- Reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive, reconsider all your magazine and mail subscriptions and check for the possibility to have them as e-magazines instead
- Reuse scrap paper. Print on both sides of the paper to reduce paper wastage.
- Buying products in bulk reduces the amount of packaging needed, thus providing considerable benefits to the environment.
- Buy organic food, make fresh meals and try out new recipes every other day, exchange with friends and get chatty.
- Buy vegetables and fruits that are grown locally. They definitely taste better on account of being fresher but also have a better carbon footprint as they reduce the use of paper, plastics and shipping material.
- Switch to cloth diapers instead of disposables. Even if you use one cloth diaper a day that will result in 365 fewer disposables in the landfill each year.
- Use public transportation or carpool to work. Better yet, walk or cycle when the weather is permitting.
- Take your vehicle into the repair shop for regular maintenance. This will reduce emissions and more.
- If you have items around the home that you no longer need, do not throw them away. Instead give them to someone who would use them, donate to a thrift store or have a garage sale and put some cash in your pocket
- Involve yourself in making your city clean and green. Encourage everyone in your neighbourhood to join or start a recycling program and buy eco-friendly office products.
- Assess if a consumer wish is a must-have or nice-to-have. If a must-have, verify if possible to borrow, build or exchange instead of buying.
- If buying is unavoidable, prioritize local and 2nd hand.
- Choose packaging-free stores. If packing is unavoidable, prioritize paper rather than plastic.
- Eat fruits and veggies seasonably. Reduce animal products intake, especially meat.
- Move through walking, cycling, public ground transportation.
- Be conscious of the water bill when brushing teeth, taking a shower, flushing the toilet.
- Reduce waste choosing reusable cups, bottles, cutlery, bags, cloth napkins.
- Save food by freezing, dehydrating, fermenting and if it cannot be saved use it as compost.
- Separate your waste and donate, when possible, what you don’t use.
- If you have investments, make sure your money is invested in sustainable projects. Most of your banks offer sustainable investing opportunities now, ask them for more information.
- Be creative: work with what you have including ways of exploring your surroundings during holidays.
- Shop eco-friendly. Tons of environmentally friendly products are sold even in Luxembourg and you can find a link to some of these below.
Remember everything in our possession is on loan to us, it is precious and should be cared. If we cannot give something back in exchange, we should not take it. Our decisions matter.
Local initiatives in Luxembourg
- Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
- An Inconvenient Truth
- A plastic ocean